Haaretz: Answer Always No, Only Reasons Vary // The Israel Immigration Authority’s Explanations for Denying Africans’ Asylum Requests – 27 October

  • Israeli newspaper Haaretz publishes a feature on the treatment of African asylum seekers by Israeli immigration authorities.
  • The author speaks to D., an asylum seeker from Eritrea who had been tortured in Egypt and whose request was refused because he committed a “disciplinary offense” in his home country by refusing an order to kill civilians fleeing into Ethiopia. While the Israeli immigration authority found that while there was a risk of D. being imprisoned upon his return to Eritrea, it did not deem that he had been persecuted politically.
  • Blutus Iyasu, leader of the Eritreans United for Justice group in Israel, who was tortured in Eritrea for his political activity, had his request rejected on the grounds that desertion from the Eritrean army and his political activity were not grounds for asylum.
  • A special report by the UN found that since 2009, Israel has recognised only 52 refugees, equivalent to 0.48 per cent of asylum requests. Twelve of these 52 were Eritreans.
    Eritrea Hub: Germany infuriates Eritrean regime by accusing it of “major human rights violations” – 28 October
  • German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has been accused of “meddling” in regional affairs after criticising Eritrea for “major human rights violations” and having “no strategy” to implement reforms like those seen in Ethiopia.
  • Maas’s remarks, also reported by Deutsche Welle and Africa News, followed a visit to Eritrea by German Development Minister Gerd Muller, who held talks with President Isaias Afwerki.
  • Muller had questioned how to stop the “exodus” of young Eritreans, 75,000 of whom had arrived in Germany seeking asylum.
  • Maas told the Bundestag that Germany and its European partners were considering incentives “to help encourage Eritrea to finally break this logic” of human rights violations. A full transcript of his speech is available on Eritrea Hub.

Sudan Tribune: Eritrea, Sudan to normalize relations soon: report – 29 October

  • The Sudan Tribune reports that Sudan and Eritrea are set to normalise bilateral relations as part of regional reconciliation efforts following the July Ethiopia-Eritrea peace initiative.
  • In January 2018, Sudan accused Eritrea of backing rebel groups and unidentified opposition groups and closed the border, deploying thousands of troops. In return, Asmara accused Sudan of supporting armed opposition groups in an effort to overthrow the Government.
  • Sudanese newspaper Al Meghar reported that President Omer al-Bashir would meet with Isaias Afwerki following a visit by his assistant to Asmara in the coming days.

The Economist: The week ahead [Podcast] – 29 October

  • The Economist’s weekly podcast includes a feature on regional developments following the Ethiopia-Eritrea peace initiative, focusing on Eritreans who have crossed the newly opened borders to Ethiopia to flee indefinite conscription.
  • Previewed on Twitter, the podcast includes an interview with an Eritrean who says that they thought the peace initiative would spell the end of national service, and that when these hopes did not materialise, many fled to Ethiopia.


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