In this week’s news highlights: UNHCR confirms destruction of refugee camps in Ethiopia; Reports of forced displacement of Tigrayans in western Tigray region by Amhara troops; Report of meeting between Eritrean and Ethiopian senior officials and foreign experts in Tigray; Kenya aims to close two refugee camps housing Somali refugees; Joint EU-IOM plan for returning migrants from Libya to Horn of Africa and other countries; IOM appeals for $99 million for migrants stranded in Yemen; Around 1000 migrants intercepted and forced to return to Libya; Spanish NGO rescues more than 200 migrants and refugees at sea; IOM report on high number of deaths at sea; EU to consider visa restrictions for 13 African and Middle East countries; EU Commissioner calls on Greece to investigate allegations of illegal pushbacks; Drones used for surveillance on migrants and refugees at EU external borders; Angela Merkel approves the EU-Turkey deal on migration; and IOM analysis on benefits of migration on communities.
Intergroup discussion on Eritrea in the Bundestag: On 25 June 2020, a public intergroup zoom discussion was held at the invitation of Rudi Friedrich (Connection e.V.) and Kathrin Vogler (MdB, Die Linke). Several experts as well as members of the German parliament parties SPD, FDP and the parliamentary group Bündnis 90/Die Grünen took part in the discussion. More than 60 persons from about 10 countries were following the discussion.
As many European countries continue to struggle with the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, the Council of Europe and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) encourage member states to benefit from the support refugee and migrant health professionals can provide to national health systems at this critical juncture. In addition, the lack of agricultural workforce due to the closure of borders to seasonal workers remains a potential threat to the entire European food supply chain, according to the European Commission. As a solution, countries like Germany, Italy, UK, Belgium and Ireland are exploring the opportunities for granted working permits. This article gives a brief look into the different solutions and remaining challenges.