In this week’s news highlights: Hitsats refugee camp closure in the Tigray region of Ethiopia; UN cancels meeting on Eritrea due to Coronavirus; EU-funded road project in Eritrea allegedly uses slave labour; Natasja Bijl’s novel tells the story of an Eritrean refugee; Eritrean persecution of Catholics reinvigorated; the collective trauma of Eritrea’s youth; Somali and Kenyan officials meet to discuss border dispute; EU leaders and Erdogan meet to salvage EU-Turkey deal; UNHCR strengthens COVID-19 measures; Concerns about EU’s new Africa strategy highlighted by aid groups; Greece’s decision to hold migrants on war vessel criticized by HRW; Several EU member states offer to take children in from Greece; Call for better living conditions for asylum seekers in the Netherlands; Suspicions that arms keep pouring into Libya despite embargo; Ramtane Lamamra as possible next UN envoy for Libya; And Sudanese refugees in Niger sentenced for fire in camp.
Anonymous sources confirmed that the federal government of Ethiopia ordered the closure of Hitsats refugee camp in Tigray province of Ethiopia. All camp refugees have been asked to relocate to another camp which is already overpopulated and does not have a functioning infrastructure. The government justifies the closure as a ‘budget constraint’, however UNHCR argues that the budget for 2020 was already approved and allocated to the Administration for Refugee & Returnee Affairs (ARRA), a governmental agency which has the mandate over refugees in Ethiopia. Hitsats, as the youngest camp in Tigray region, is currently home to more than 10,000 Eritrean refugees.