Ezega news: Djibouti Vows to be Part of Regional Integration – 18 November

  • Ethiopian news website Ezega reports on Djibouti’s ambition to play a greater role in regional development, and the unresolved issues between the country and Eritrea.
  • Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti, met with Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at the occasion of the 11th African Union Extraordinary Summit in Addis Ababa. He vowed to take a more significant part in the dynamic developments of the region.
  • Djibouti Foreign Minister Mahamoud thanked Prime Minister Abiy for “all he has done” to smooth relations with Eritrea, and that “all other pending issues with Eritrea will be resolved” with the help of Ethiopia.
  • Prime Minister Abiy assured President Guelleh that he would continue to act as a mediator and aim to improve the relationships between Djibouti and Eritrea.

Africanews.com: Eritrea president says Kenya key to regional dynamics, plans visit – 17 November

  • Africanews reports on a recent statement from President Isaias Afwerki on Kenya’s importance to the Horn of Africa region.
  • On Saturday 17 November President Isaias received a Kenyan delegation led by the country’s Director General of National Intelligence. The President responded to a message from his counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, saying that “Kenya, given its importance, is expected to play an important role in shaping the region”.
  • President Afwerki has accepted an invitation and will be visiting Kenya on a date yet to be confirmed. His last three regional visits have been to Ethiopia.

Africa Monitors: Sudan: the Impact of the Suspension of the UNHCR Resettlement Programme on Refugees – 17 November

  • Africa Monitors reports on the indefinite suspension of a resettlement programme in Sudan, leaving applicants in limbo following a fraud investigation launched earlier this year.
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) resettlement programme was initially closed in May due to allegations of fraudulent practices. Refugees claimed that UNHCR staff have tried to reverse decisions made based on standard eligibility in exchange for bribes.
  • The suspension has resulted in delays to the resettlement process, and some refugees have been left in limbo because the suspension came days before their scheduled flights.
  • The number of Eritreans now seeking refuge in Sudan via Ethiopia has increased since free movement has been restored between Eritrea and Ethiopia in July.

BBC World Service: Singing for freedom in Eritrea – 16 November

  • The BBC World Service programme ‘Heart and Soul’ interviewed Helen Berhane, an Eritrean Christian gospel singer who was arrested in Asmara and imprisoned and tortured for thirty-two months after releasing an album of gospel music.
  • Christian persecution in Eritrea is recognised as one of the most repressive in world. Only some Christian traditions are officially recognised and believers who openly proclaim their faith risk punishment by the authorities.
  • Helen Berhane was on the brink of death when Eritrean authorities sent her to hospital, and she was eventually reunited with her family. She fled the country and was granted asylum in Denmark, where she has been living for almost 10 years and now works in childcare.
  • Adamant that she will continue to sing, Helen Berhane says: “the situation can’t stop me believing.”

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