The Guardian: Politicians could ease refugee suffering, but instead they stoke fear – 01 January

  • The Guardian publishes an opinion piece by Diane Taylor, a British freelance journalist, commenting on Europe’s refugee crisis.
  • Echoing an article published earlier this year by Eritrea Hub, Diane Taylor says: “To address the exodus from countries such as Eritrea and Sudan, the Khartoum Process was established – political cooperation among countries along the migration route between the Horn of Africa and Europe.”
  • Diane Taylor condemns Europe for abandoning people from Eritrea and other similarly repressive states in “horrendous detention centres in Libya, to which the UK contributes funds.”
  • She says: “our governments could… alleviate the mass of human suffering by opening up legal routes to sanctuary, shared fairly across every EU country.”

Eritrea Hub: Tigray protest halts army’s attempt to move heavy weapons to Oromia – 01 January

  • Eritrea Hub reports on a Tigray protest to prevent the military in the region from transferring its artillery away from Gulo Mekeda, on the border with Eritrea.
  • The army was attempting to move its armaments to counter a potential conflict in Oromia after the return of the Oromo Liberation Front in Eritrea triggered clashes with government soldiers.
  • The military had to concede to the worried residents that they would remain until replacements arrived.
  • The people of Tigray reportedly distrust Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s policies for fear his work with President Isaias has rendered Tigray vulnerable to Eritrean attacks. The sudden closure of the Zalambessa border has heightened these concerns.
  • Borkena, an Ethiopian news website, also reported the story.

CNN: Abiy Ahmed: The Ethiopian Prime Minister who captured Africa’s imagination – 31 December

  • CNN publishes an analysis by Farai Sevenzo of Ethiopia’s young leader Abiy Ahmed.
  • Since he came to power, the Ethiopian Prime Minister has launched democratic reforms in the country and sought to resolve Ethiopia’s deepest conflicts. Signing a peace deal with Eritrea is seen as one of his greatest achievements.
  • Farai Sevenzo says: “Under Abiy, Ethiopia has gone from being one of the world’s worst jailers of journalists to, for the first time in more than a decade, having no journalists in prison.”
  • Sevenzo also says that “Eritrea and now Djibouti and Somalia are all feeling the Abiy effect. Ethiopian airlines landed in Mogadishu, Somalia, for the first time in 41 years. Djibouti is in talks to share access to its port to service Ethiopian needs. The idea of peace coming to this region at last is an exciting prospect.”

Prensa Latina: Ethiopian Medical Team Arrives in Eritrea – 31 December

  • Prensa Latina, Cuba’s official state news agency, reports on the arrival of an Ethiopian medical team in Asmara, where they will operate voluntarily for a couple of months.
  • Redwan Hussein, the Ethiopian ambassador to Eritrea, welcomed the 39 doctors, graduates of the Bahir Dar University, on Monday. They will teach and train with their Eritrean peers.
  • Such deployment of health professionals in the region is seen as a result of the strengthened relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea and a step towards further socio-economic integration.

Radio Dalsan: Eritrea Dismisses Report Alleging Plans To Send Troops To Somalia To Replace AMISOM – 29 December

  • Radio Dalsan, a Somali broadcasting outlet, reports that the Eritrean government denied having reached an agreement to send troops to Somalia to take over after the AMISOM troops depart.
  • On 21 December, The Indian Ocean Newsletter reported that the Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders would start dispatching soldiers to Somalia after the Amison troops have left.
  • The Eritrean Information Ministry denied the allegations and attacked the ION for repeatedly “disseminating false information” on the developments in the Horn of Africa region.

Eritrea Hub: Canadian mining company has tangled relationship with one of world’s most repressive regimes – 29 December

  • Eritrea Hub publishes a report initially published by Geoffrey York at the Globe and Mail, on the case made against Nevsun, majority-owner of Eritrea’s Bisha mine, with the Eritrean government, for using slave labour overseas.
  • Three Eritrean refugees accuse the Canadian company of violating international law relating to forced labour, slavery and torture. This comes after inadequate vehicles such as trucks have been used to carry tonnes of zinc and copper on hazardous and narrow mountain roads, endangering the drivers, shepherds and children of the region.
  • The story notes that Eritrea Focus reported this year on the mine’s activities, and said conscripts were often forced to work as many as 12 hours a day at Bisha, 6½ days a week, in hazardous conditions that often caused illness.
  • On 23 January, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear arguments from lawyers for Eritrean refugees and from Nevsun to determine whether a Canadian company can be sued in Canada over the alleged use of slave labour and other human-rights abuses at an overseas operation. Joe Fiorante, a lawyer for the Eritrean refugees based in Vancouver, confirmed it is the first time such a case was taken this far in court.

Reuters: Eritrea closes border crossing to Ethiopians, official and residents say – 28 December

  • Reuters reports that Ethiopians crossing border to enter Eritrea were denied entry on Friday.
  • The borders between the neighbouring countries have been open since September, and no indication was given regarding the closure of the Zalambessa crossing. Ethiopian citizens and Ethiopia-licensed vehicles on that road were asked for “permits”.
  • Liya Kassa, spokeswoman for the regional administration in the Tigray region which borders Eritrea, said that “the restrictions have only been imposed on the Eritrean side”.
  • No information regarding the border restrictions has been given by Eritrean officials.

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