World Health Organization: Eritrea Observed World AIDS Day 2018 – 06 December

  • The 30th annual World Aids Day was marked in Keren, Eritrea, on 1 December.
  • In attendance at the event were senior figures of the Eritrean health sector, including Eritrean representatives from the National Union of Eritrean Women, WHO and the UNFPA.
  • Dr Araya Berhane, Head of the communicable diseases control division, laid emphasis on the importance of knowing your status.
  • Dr Andebrhan Tesfatsion, Director General of Public Health, said that Eritrea has made “considerable progress towards reducing the number of people living with HIV/AIDS”, but that a number of people are still living with HIV in the country.

Australia Investing News: Danakali Executes Mandate for Colluli Debt Financing – 06 December

  • Australia Investing News reports that Danakali has executed a US$200-million debt financing mandate to fund construction and development of its Colluli potash project in Eritrea.
  • The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Africa Finance Cooperation (AFC) will act as the mandated debt arrangers. The execution of the mandate is considered a “critical” milestone for the financing and execution of the project, which follows the lifting of a UN arms embargo and targeted sanctions on Eritrea in November, in place since 2009.
  • Danakali Executive Chairman Seamus Cornelius said that the company was “delighted with the UN’s decision to lift the arms embargo and associated sanctions on Eritrea”, which he hoped would have a “positive impact on foreign investment and enhance international trade opportunities, leading to improved economic outcomes for the people of Eritrea.”

Eritrea Hub: Tragic: MSF forced to end refugee rescues in Mediterranean – 06 December

  • Eritrea Hub reports that Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and its partner SOS Méditerranée, have been forced to terminate their live-saving rescue operations in the Mediterranean, under sustained pressure from the Italian government and others to restrict their activities.
  • The Aquarius, the vessel from which they assisted nearly 30,000 people in international waters between Libya, Italy and Malta since February 2016, has been beset by administrative difficulties and a smear campaign, spearheaded by the Italian government and backed by other European countries, “to delegitimise, slander and obstruct aid organisations trying to save the lives of vulnerable people in the Mediterranean.”
  • Vickie Hawkins, MSF UK’s Executive Director, said that “Europe failed to provide dedicated search and rescue capacity”, and “also actively sabotaged others’ attempts to save lives.” In 2018 alone, UK and European governments violated international law by allowing the Libyan coastguard to intercept more than 14,000 people at sea and forcibly return them to Libya.
  • An estimated 2,133 people have died in the Mediterranean in 2018, with departures from Libya accounting for the overwhelming majority of lives lost.
  • Many Eritrean asylum seekers have been rescued by the Aquarius in their attempts to cross the Mediterranean.

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