Worldcrunch:  For African Asylum Seekers, No Way Out Of Israel – 12 February

  • Worldcrunch republishes an article by Steven Davidson, originally from News Deeply, about the effects of an Israeli law that amounts to a salary cut for African asylum seekers, and particularly Eritreans within Israel.
  • The ‘Deposit Law’, enacted mid-2017, “forces those who employ migrants to deposit 20% of their salaries into an escrow account that can only be accessed at a bank in Ben Gurion Airport as they depart Israel”.
  • “Israel hosts roughly 34,000 asylum seekers, many of whom entered through the Sinai land border beginning in 2005, after escaping military conscription amounting to slave labour in Eritrea and genocide and war in Sudan. Though Israel is a signatory of the 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention, it grants almost no asylum requests; as of June 2018, it had granted refugee status to only 10 Eritreans and one Sudanese.”
  • Evictions have skyrocketed, as well. “To be a vulnerable Eritrean single mother, your living standards are probably you living in the corner of someone’s living room with your children,” said Adi Drori-Avraham, ASSAF’s public awareness and advocacy coordinator. Mothers report that hosts sometimes demand housekeeping services or even sex, she said.”

Face2Face: How Ethiopia won a battle that quashed a Dutch patent on its native grain – 12 February

  • Face2Face Africa carries an article on the recent decision at The Hague to void a patent held by a Dutchman on a grain indigenous to Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • Teff is an ancient grain which is processed into flour and found in many traditional foods,  including injera flatbread. The growing population of Ethiopians and Eritreans in Europe has increased global demand for the grain and its flour.
  • A patent on the processing of teff secured in 2003 by Jans Roosjen meant that Ethiopia could not export the flour to the Netherlands, and other companies could not process the grain.
  • In November 2018, a court ruled that “the claim to processing teff by patent holder is null and void in the Netherlands”. The ruling was welcomed by the Ethiopian Embassy in the Netherlands, and the current Ethiopian Ambassador to the US.
  • “Ethiopia is one of many other countries that are losing rights to their indigenous products and artefacts. The Maasai tribe of East Africa won rights to its Shuka cloth which has been exploited for years by luxury fashion brands globally.”

Eritrea Hub: Why ending Ethiopian repression caused such conflict – 12 February

  • Eritrea Hub republishes an analysis from Leake Tewele, originally posted at Ethiopia Insight, on how the “unravelling of authoritarian control combined with political, economic, and environmental challenges are [sic] producing violent ruptures across a diverse, impoverished and growing nation”.
  • Leake writes that the kinds of upheaval and displacement experienced by certain communities “runs counter to the dominant Ethiopia narrative, which is one of momentous progress.”
  • David Shinn, former US Ambassador to Ethiopia, is quoted as saying: “Most of what Abiy is doing is what the international community, including the United States, has been urging for several decades. Success is dependent, however, on the willingness of most Ethiopians to accept change and compromise and put national interests ahead of regional and ethnic interests. In view of Ethiopia’s history, this is a tall order.”

Africa News: UN rights chief meets Ethiopia president, pledges help on reforms – 13 February

  • United Nations Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet has concluded a visit to Ethiopia, where Africa News reports that she “underscored her office’s preparedness to help the country to surmount its rights challenges.”
  • Since coming to power in April 2018, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has released thousands of political prisoners, reworked laws that trampled on human rights, and embarked on rapprochement efforts with Eritrea and other regional neighbours.

All Africa: Eritrea speaks out against inhumane practices – 13 February

  • All Africa publishes a press release from the Eritrean Ministry of Information on a recent seminar in the Gash Barka region, at which the Ministry of Health called on the public to “enhance contribution in fighting against harmful practices such as underage marriages, FGM, and others.”
  • The seminar was held in the Kerkebet sub-zone, where calls were made for “integrated effort[s]” to combat such practices on the part of the National Union of Eritrean Women and the Ministries of Health and of Labour and Human Welfare.
  • Leul Gebreab, Minister of Labour and Human Welfare, spoke at the event, alongside Dr Berhana Haile, head of Family and Community Health at the Ministry of Health, and Efrem Gebrekrstos, Governor of the Southern Region.

Transport and Logistics: Post-Conflict Trade Opportunities: A DP World Study – 13 February

  • Transport & Logistics reports on the publication of a study commissioned by Emirati port operator DP World on “how post-conflict trade opportunities can be developed” by Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • The report, titled “Post-Conflict Trade: Case studies and lessons for Ethiopia and Eritrea”, was launched by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
  • Transport & Logistics writes: “Case studies on Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Columbia with insights into how each has tackled their development during times of peace form the backbone of the study with lessons for other nations such as Ethiopia and Eritrea following recent peace accords also underlined.”
  • In 2018, Djibouti terminated its contract with DP World to run the Doraleh Container Terminal in the country. DP World contests Djibouti’s claims that it had was under-using the facilities in favour of other terminals.

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