Mail & Guardian: With border open, Ethiopia and Eritrea are back in business – 15 October

  • South African newspaper Mail & Guardian reports on the increase in cross-border trade resulting from Eritrea and Ethiopia’s peace agreement.
  • Twice a week, organised groups of Ethiopian merchants cross the border into Eritrea, while thousands of Eritrean refugees flee in the opposite direction. The UN reported that the number of Eritreans crossing the border has increased eight-fold since 11 September.
  • There appears to be little in the way of customs or immigration control at the border, and trade is not regulated. As Getachew Teklemariam, former adviser for the Ethiopian government, said, these conditions risk opening a “shadow monetary front” on the border. Why Eritrean president is back in Ethiopia on two-day visit – 15 October

  • Africanews reports on President Isaias Afwerki’s most recent visit to Ethiopia.
  • The Eritrean President accompanied Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to the inauguration of the Omo Kuraz III Sugar Factory in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR).
  • The two leaders’ last meeting was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where they signed a further peace deal in the presence of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres
  • Variations of this story are reported by media outlets such as Borkena and Nazret.

Olympic News: Eritreans celebrate their passion for two wheels in Buenos Aires – 13 October

  • Olympic News reports on Eritrea’s passion for cycling, after Eritreans adopted the sport following an influx of bicycles during the period of Italian colonisation.
  • Desiet Kidane, an Eritrean cyclist competing at a Youth Olympics event in Argentina, completed the time trial element of the women’s team event with Danait Tsegay (ERI). She explains that cycling is Eritrea’s main sport, but regrets the prohibitive costs.
  • Kidane explains that unlike in many African countries where football dominates, Eritrea’s citizens aspire to be cyclists and look up to international figures including Daniel Teklehaimanot and Merhawi Kudus. Ethiopia’s Tigray region frees 43 Eritreans – 13 October

  • Africanews reports on the release of 43 Eritreans by Ethiopian authorities.
  • The prisoners were detained for 20 years and their release was prompted by the signature of the peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia in July.
  • BBC Africa and BBC Tigrinya also report on the story.

BBC World News: UN criticised over new human rights council members – 12 October

  • BBC World News reports on the wave of criticism in the wake of elections to the UN Human Rights Council, in which Eritrea and a number of other countries with poor human rights records were elected. The story is widely reported, including by, HRW, and The Washington Post.
  • For the first time in the Council’s history, the five voting regions only put forward as many candidates as there were seats available, guaranteeing seats for all candidates. Eritrea was elected as part of the African slate, alongside Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Somalia and Togo.
  • Eritrea will sit on the Council from 1 January 2019. Countries can serve for two consecutive three-year terms on the council, which is based in Geneva.
  • Human Rights Watch was one of many groups to criticise the election of Eritrea as a new member of the UNHRC and voiced serious concerns that such decisions undermine the Council’s credibility.
  • Chair of Eritrea Focus, Habte Hagos, voiced concerns about Eritrea’s election to the HRC on BBC World Service Newsday – the channels flagship international news programme.

Voice of America: Human Rights Concerns Persist in Eritrea, Months After Peace Deals – 12 October

  • Voice of America reports on the climate of anxiety surrounding Eritrea’s political prisoners in spite of the peace agreement.
  • VOA reports that President Donald Trump’s administration has prioritised the release of Americans imprisoned overseas, but that it remains unclear whether it has taken steps to push for the liberation of Ciham Ali Abdu, an Eritrean American imprisoned when she was 15.
  • A spokesperson for the State Department told VOA that the government was aware of reports of Ciham’s detention but did not confirm whether the US had determined that Ciham is imprisoned, or if specific efforts had been made to secure her release.


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