News highlights: UNHCR closes transit centre in Libya, EU development aid tied to returns, Foreign aircraft carried out 2019 bombing of Tajoura Center, says UN

In this week’s news highlights: UNHCR closes GDF facility in Libya, citing safety concerns; Foreign country involved in the attack on Tajoura detention center in Libya; And refugee and migrant women more likely to experience sexual abuse than men; EU and China projects in Eritrea criticized; Ethiopian government allegedly violates human rights over protest arrests and kidnapping inaction; New Ethiopian navy in Djibouti; Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia strenghten ties; East African countries harmonize labour migration policy; Lack of basic support for refugees in Ethiopia; Illustrated story of an Eritrean refugee; Stories of refugee children from Eritrea; EU allegedly uses development aid to secure returns; Sick children suffer in refugee camp Greece; Naval operation ‘Sophia’ might not change focus as member states disagree; And Open arms saves 237 people in the Mediterranean Sea.

The year of 2019: border control, evacuations from Libya and the search for solidarity

In this last article of the year, it is time to look back at some of the events of the past year in the context of forced movement along the Central Mediterranean Route. In 2019, approximately 1,246 people died in the Mediterranean Sea, and even more on land, during their journey to safety. It was a year in which the European Union secured and externalised its borders, making it harder for asylum seekers to enter Europe. It was also another year in which migrants and refugees in Libya were facing inhumane conditions that continue to be unaddressed. Responsibility sharing was a main topic of discussion among EU member states. In addition, a new relocation system was put in place, Salvini made his exit as Italian deputy Prime Minister, and the criminalization of rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea did not stop NGOs from saving lives.