- The Daily Mail reports on the findings of the Global Slavery Index, which estimates that more than 40 million people are currently enslaved around the world.
- Recent analysis of the data by HowMuch.net ranked Eritrea as having the second highest rate of slavery, at 93 per 1,000 people. It is surpassed only by North Korea, at 105 per 1,000.
- The Global Slavery Index identified Eritrea as one of 10 countries taking the “least action” to respond to modern slavery.
- The data collected by the Global Slavery Index also found that “[w]hen viewed through the lens of per-capita enslavement, Central Africa and the Middle East come into focus as the regions with significantly more slavery than surrounding regions.”
UNHCR: Ethiopia Country Refugee Response Plan – 01 February
- The UNHCR publishes its Ethiopia Country Refugee Response Plan for 2019-2020, which aims at “preserving and enhancing the protection of environment and living conditions of refugees”.
- Ethiopia continues to receive new arrivals from Eritrea, with women and children constituting 86.1% of those seeking asylum. Those who have entered the country since the reopening of official border crossing points in September 2018 came predominantly for the purposes of family reunification.
- An increasing number of new arrivals are being granted Out-of-Camp Policy (OCP) status, a scheme that will be expanded to benefit all population groups and aligned to the expansion of livelihood opportunities together with off-camp skills and vocational training opportunities.
- Across the two years, the total budgetary requirements of the Plan are estimated at USD $1,288,604,352.
Voice of America: Sudan’s Bashir Says Border With Eritrea Reopens After Being Shut For a Year – 31 January
- Voice of America reports that Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir is re-opening its border with Eritrea.
- Sudan closed the border in early January 2018 after Bashir announced a six-month state of emergency in the regions of Kassala and North Kurdufan to help combat trafficking.
- While visiting Kassala, the provincial capital near the border with Eritrea, Bashir announced to a crowd of supporters that was reaching out to Eritreans. He said: “I announce here, from Kassala, that we are opening the border with Eritrea because they are our brothers and our people. Politics will not divide us.”
- Sudan has been rocked by near-daily anti-government protests since 19 December, in which rights groups say at least 45 people have been killed. The government puts the death toll at 30. On Thursday afternoon, the Sudanese Professionals’ Association called for fresh protests across several Sudanese cities.
- The reopening of the Sudan-Eritrean border was also reported by Middle East Eye, The East African, and Thomson Reuters.
Eritrea Hub: Farce: 80% of UNHRC delegations praise Eritrean regime on human rights – 31 January
- Eritrea Hub publishes a UN Watch report that criticises UN member states for lining up to “shower praise” on Eritrea at the human rights council on 28 January.
- The mandatory review that all UN member states undergo every five years “is meant to scrutinize governments and thereby strengthen the basic rights and freedoms of their citizens.”
- “Only a small minority of countries challenged Eritrea with the criticism and questioning it deserved based on its well-documented record of human rights abuses.”
- UN Watch counted “71 out of 89 countries who abused the opportunity by instead showering the regime with praise”.
- In 2016, a UN investigation suggested that many of the government’s human rights violations amount to crimes against humanity. Abuses identified included arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, arbitrary killings, and torture “on a wide scale”.
- The Libyan representative was one of several to “commend the [Eritrean] government’s efforts to implement recommendations from previous [Universal Periodic Review] cycles”, saying: “The fruits of these efforts are amply clear.”
Ethiopia Insight: Politicizing Eritrea peace perpetuates conflict cycle – 31 January
- Ethiopia Insight publishes an opinion piece by columnist Mehari Taddele Maru on what he calls the “fragility of the rapprochement” between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the steps that remain in order to “tackle the root causes of the conflict”, with a particular focus on the border.
- Referring to the recent reopening of the Humera-Oumhajer border and the protests that followed, Mehari writes that “officials, activists, and border communities” in Ethiopia suspect that rapprochement is a ploy to “undermine” the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front and “encircle” the region “as Abiy and Isaias line up with Amhara leaders who have ramped-up claims on territory that is part of Tigray”.
- Mehari writes: “Developments in the Middle East and Yemen, the EU migration crisis, the region, and a new U.S. Africa policy—primarily a shift of priority from the War on Terror to containment of China and Russia—have brought new alignments that disadvantage TPLF and open new window for the Eritrean government.”
- He concludes: “The Ethiopia-Eritrea border war claimed lives, hampered social and economic development, obstructed trade, and prevented peace and security in the region. To avoid a repeat of history of conflict, and to transform border areas to integrative bridges, Ethiopia and Eritrea need to adopt a roadmap that identifies all issues and the principles.”