Monthly Press Review January 2024
February 7th, 2024 - written by: migration-control.info
OUT NOW: Our Monthly Press Review January 2024 covers topics such as Eurafrican migration control, migration, and displacement in African countries, and news on the European border regime.
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HoA Media Office
In this section we publish relevant articles, and links, and also make available translations to Arabic in the form of PDFs. The media office cooperates with Arkamani for the Sudan anthropological and archaeological translation series.
في هذا القسم سنقوم في المستقبل بنشر مقاالت وروابط
صلة بالقرن األفريقي كما ستكون بعض الترجمات ذات
.PDFs على صيغة إلى العربية متاحة
أيضا يسر القسم أن يعلن عن تعاونه مع دراسات أركماني
االنثربولوجيا واالركيولوجيا السودانية.
Chad / Sudan
23.01.24: African Arguments: A Crisis Undeclared: 21 Years of Refuge in the Chad-Sudan Borderlands: The book by Andrea Behrends “covers the time before, during and after this crisis. It analyses forms of cooperation and mutual knowledge production that emerge on the ground in response to the crisis through the lens of human categorising; that is, the ways in which people constantly define and re-define their belonging. Such belonging can follow categories along lines of kinship, age, gender, definitions of ethnicity, nationality, trade or occupation, among many others. The introduction of internationally recognised categories in the aid world adds an additional complication to the existing ones: refugee, internally displaced person, vulnerable person etc. But to the borderland’s population, the new categories are not exclusive. Instead, people know how to operate with them and integrate them into their knowledge about surviving times of highest uncertainty.”
Chad / UAE
26.01.24: Military Africa: UAE deploys troops to train Chadian soldiers amid Sudan crisis: According to sources, the UAE has deployed troops to train the Chadian soldiers in warfare and to operate the equipment supplied to them. The UAE has also been providing medical assistance and arms to fighters on one side of the Sudanese civil war, in a covert operation based in a remote town in Chad.
18.01.24: taz: Einer von 206.000 (One out of 206 000): According to UN figures, 206,000 people attempted to reach Saudi Arabia via the Berbera desert, the Gulf of Aden and Yemen in 2022. The route from the Horn of Africa to Yemen is now one of the busiest and most dangerous migration corridors in the world.
25.01.24: London Review of Books: On Understanding Ethiopia’s Tigray War: “Sarah Vaughan and Martin Plaut’s book represents the first serious attempt at an account of the conflict. They show that the war, which is mostly described in the later chapters written by Plaut, can’t be explained without an account of Ethiopia’s recent political history, which is principally provided by Vaughan. Together they make an overwhelming case that the Ethiopian government’s description of the war as a ‘law and order’ operation against a disobedient and jilted political party is simply false. In fact, it represented something much more significant: a power struggle over the nature of the Ethiopian state, driven to near genocidal heights by ‘calls to erase even the memory of the TPLF and “those who resemble them”’.”
Ethiopia / Somaliland
04.01.24: AJE: Ambiguous Ethiopia port deal fuels uncertainty over Somaliland statehood: “On Monday, an agreement signed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Muse Bihi Abdi of the breakaway republic of Somaliland preceded a shocking announcement that has already set the tone for interstate relations in the Horn of Africa this year.
The memorandum of understanding was for the leasing of 20km (12 miles) of Somaliland’s sea coast to landlocked Ethiopia. In exchange, Somaliland will receive shares in its neighbour’s flagship carrier, Ethiopian Airlines – and receive formal recognition as a sovereign state.”
02.02.24: Guardian: Somalia vows to defend sovereignty after Ethiopia-Somaliland deal;
21.01.24: Guardian: Egypt backs Somalia in dispute over Ethiopia-Somaliland deal.
Egypt / EU
15.01.24: Euractiv: EU grants €87m to Egypt for migration management in 2024: “Over 2024, the EU will provide €87 million and new equipment to Egypt for a migration management project started in 2022, implemented by the UN migration agency and the French Interior Ministry operator Civipol, three sources close to the matter confirmed to Euractiv. The €87 million may increase up to €110 million after the next EU-Egypt Association Council meeting on 23 January, two sources confirmed to Euractiv. The €87 million will be dedicated to increasing the operation capacity of the Egyptian navy and border guards for border surveillance and search and rescue operations at sea.”
01.02.24: Mediendienst: EU-Egypt Deal: "These agreements push people onto more dangerous routes": The Egyptian government has recently signed a migration-control deal with the European Union. The Cairo-based researcher Parastou Hassouri explains in an interview why Egypt is becoming a key-partner for the EU – and how this will affect the lives of refugees and migrants in the region.
04.01.24: AJE: Egypt’s economy will be its biggest challenge during el-Sisi’s third term: After re-election of Sisi: “Egypt is currently enduring its most severe economic crisis since the 2011 revolution, characterised by a weak currency, soaring inflation and capital flight, all signs of a deepening debt crisis. These macroeconomic challenges have considerable repercussions for ordinary Egyptians, including increased poverty and unemployment. These socio-economic challenges will likely exacerbate in the coming year, especially in light of the anticipated further devaluation of the Egyptian pound.”
02.02.24: AJE: People ‘dying of starvation’ in Sudan, UN food agency says: “Millions of people are impacted by the conflict. WFP has food in Sudan, but lack of humanitarian access and other unnecessary hurdles are slowing operations. Life-saving assistance is not reaching those who need it the most, and we are already receiving reports of people dying of starvation.”
01.02.24: Sudan War Monitor: Map of the Areas of Control in Sudan. Zones of military control as of February 1, 2024.
29.01.24: AJE: Dozens killed as violence flares in region disputed by Sudan, South Sudan: Overall, 52 people, including women and children, died in the Abyei region during the weekend, local officials said on Monday. Both Sudan and South Sudan claim the oil-rich region along their shared border.
Dinka youth from Warrap and the forces of a rebel leader from the Nuer ethnic group carried out the attacks against Dinkas and Nuers in Abyei. Hundreds of civilians are now sheltering at a UNISFA base.
Sudan / Iran
30.01.24: Sudan War Monitor: Iranian cargo flights arrive in Sudan: A cargo plane controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has landed in Sudan repeatedly in recent weeks, bringing weapons to the Sudan Armed Forces, following a deal to restore diplomatic ties.
20.01.24: Sudantribune: Sudan, Iran to reopen embassies following diplomatic rapprochement;
29.01.24: Sudan War Monitor (SWM): SAF attempt to regain the initiative in the capital's northern suburbs;
26.01.24: SWM: 4th Infantry to move north toward Wad Madani;
22.01.24: Taz: Vermittlung für Sudan geplatzt (Mediation for Sudan cancelled): Summit meeting of states in the Horn of Africa in Uganda ends with Sudan's withdrawal from the regional organisation. Efforts at peace talks have thus failed for the time being;
12.01.24: SWP: Kordofan conflict spirals in dangerous direction;
10.01.24: SWP: Fighting rages in Dilling after RSF attack;
24.01.24: AJE: Sudan’s Hemedti embraced abroad as he terrorises civilians at home: “Hemedti’s visit to Rwanda was part of a tour to meet African heads of state from late December to early January. South Africa, Uganda, Djibouti, Rwanda and Ethiopia all greeted Hemedti warmly, and Kenya rolled out a red carpet for him.
His tour dispelled rumours that he might be seriously wounded or killed in a conflict in which his fighters have killed thousands of civilians across Sudan, seized homes, looted cars, plundered aid, robbed banks and raped indiscriminately as a weapon of war.”
Sudan / Germany
26.01.24: Zeit: Baerbock: Fünf-Punkte-Initiative zur Vermittlung im Sudan (Baerbock: Five-point initiative for mediation in Sudan): After the meeting with the Kenyan president, Baerbock said that several points were now of central importance to her. International mediation must be coordinated more closely than before. In addition, civilian Sudanese actors in exile and at home must be supported. In order to prevent Sudan's disintegration from plunging the entire region into chaos, external military support for the conflict parties must be stopped.
23.01.24: AJE: EU sanctions six companies accused of ‘undermining stability’ in Sudan: Among the companies sanctioned were three controlled by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), including the Defense Industries System conglomerate, which Brussels said had estimated revenues of $2bn in 2020.
The other three companies sanctioned were involved in procuring military equipment for the RSF.
23.01.24: SWM: Full Text: UN Panel of Experts Report on Sudan: A report by a five-member panel of researchers appointed by the UN Security Council details conflict dynamics in Darfur and violations of a long-standing UN arms embargo, including by the United Arab Emirates. The report estimates the death toll of the ethnic cleansing in El Geneina last year at 10,000 to 15,000—substantially higher than previous estimates.
16.01.24: AJE: ‘They’re going to kill us’: Sudan’s army targets civilians on ethnic basis: Sudanese military personnel have been arresting large numbers of people from regions where the rival Rapid Support Forces paramilitary has backing.
09.01.24: AJE: ‘They’re targeting us’: Sudan’s army cracks down on democracy activists: “In the midst of war, Sudan’s army is retaliating against activists for their role in bringing down the former regime. Dozens of Sudanese activists have been arrested and tortured in ghost houses by military intelligence in recent weeks, even as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) threatens to defeat the army and capture all of Sudan. Many of those being detained are members of the resistance committees, which played an instrumental role in organising mass protests to bring down Sudan’s autocratic former President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.”
15.01.24: SWM: Scenes of Sudan's gutted capital Khartoum: (Fotos and Footages) Khartoum was once one of the largest cities in Africa, a jewel upon the Nile—capital of a troubled yet beautiful country. Today large parts of the city are abandoned, its prominent landmarks are looted or gutted by fire, and its once bustling streets are littered with trash, bullet casings, and fresh graves.
09.01.24: The Africa Report: Famine threatens Sudan after war claims harvest: “Since Sudan’s war spread to Al-Jazira state south of Khartoum, farmers have watched their livelihoods wither away after fighting between paramilitary forces battling the army wreaked havoc on once-bountiful lands.”
04.01.24: taz: Roter Teppich für den Warlord (Red Carpet for the Warlord): General Hametti, leader of Sudan's insurgent RSF militia, visits Uganda and Kenya. The presidents court him like a state guest.
Follow Up: Gaza
02.02.24: AJE: Israel plans ground attack on Rafah, ‘last refuge’ for Gaza’s displaced: Israel’s defence minister says army will next target Rafah, the southern area it designated as a ‘safe zone’ for Palestinian civilians.
31.01.24: TNH: Ground fighting reaches one of Gaza’s last supposed ‘safe zones’; 02.02.24:NYT: Israel Signals Its Military Will Move Into a Gazan City Turned Refuge: “Rafah, which has also been a gateway for humanitarian aid, is a sprawl of tents and makeshift shelters crammed against the border with Egypt. About half of Gaza’s 2.2 million residents have piled into and around the city, where about 200,000 people lived before the war, the United Nations said on Friday. The city is one of the last in southern Gaza that Israeli ground forces, which have been fighting house-to-house battles in nearby Khan Younis, have not yet reached.”
01.02.24: AJE: Palestinians demand international inquiry after mass grave found in Gaza: Bodies of Palestinian detainees who were handcuffed, blindfolded discovered in plastic bags near northern Gaza school.
01.02.24: NYT: Israel’s Controlled Demolitions Are Razing Neighborhoods in Gaza: “The damage caused by Israel’s aerial offensive in Gaza has been well documented. But Israeli ground forces have also carried out a wave of controlled explosions that has drastically changed the landscape in recent months. At least 33 controlled demolitions have destroyed hundreds of buildings — including mosques, schools and entire sections of residential neighborhoods — since November, a New York Times analysis of Israeli military footage, social media videos and satellite imagery shows.”
30.01.24: Guardian: Hamas regroups in northern Gaza to prepare new offensive: “Hamas militants have returned to northern Gaza, where they are mobilising against Israeli forces and rebuilding a system of governance, aid officials, Gaza residents, analysts and Israeli officials say. Elsewhere in Gaza, Hamas administrators and police maintain firm control of the south, where much of the population is concentrated, though civil order is breaking down in central regions.”
29.01.24: NYT: U.N. Agency for Palestinians Imperiled by Terrorism Charges: Donors have pulled funds for the main aid agency in Gaza after allegations that some employees took part in the Oct. 7 attack, but it is not clear who would fill the vacuum if it ran out of money.
02.02.24: NYT: What Withholding Funds to UNRWA Means for Gaza; 30.01.24: TNH: What UNRWA funding suspensions mean for Gaza aid; 28.01.24: AJE: Which countries have cut funding to UNRWA, and why?; 27.01.24: AJE: Palestinians condemn suspension of UNRWA funding by Western nations.
29.01.24: AJE: Israeli ministers join gathering calling for resettlement of Gaza: Several members of the Israeli government joined a far-right conference calling for the resettlement of the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank. The conference, organised by the right-wing Nahala organisation on Sunday night and dubbed “Settlement Brings Security and Victory”, called for new Jewish settlements to be built in the Palestinian territories.
27.01.24: AJE: ‘Like a mafia’: Israeli settlers, forces squeeze Palestinian shepherds out: Palestinian farmers face heightened campaign of intimidation by illegal settlers, confiscations and detentions.
26.02.24: AJE: World reacts to ICJ interim ruling in Gaza genocide case against Israel: Ruling on South Africa’s requests, top UN court orders Israel to take all measures to prevent acts of genocide but does not call for ceasefire.
24.01.24: UN: Displacement misery continues for Gazans, UN humanitarians warn: The UN Security Council will hold a second day of debate on Wednesday in search of an end to the devastating conflict in Gaza amid growing tensions in the Middle East, as UN humanitarians reiterated grave concerns for extremely vulnerable Palestinians forced once again to flee the war and evacuation orders.
24.01.24: Taz: Korruption an der Grenze zu Gaza (Corruption at the border to Gaza): The Rafah crossing is the only way out of the war in the Gaza Strip. But Egypt barely lets people through. Reports of high bribe payments are piling up.
24.01.24: AJE: Undeterred by Gaza war, thousands of Indians turn up for jobs in Israel: “In October, Israeli construction companies reportedly requested their government in Tel Aviv to allow them to hire up to 100,000 Indian workers to replace Palestinians whose work licenses were suspended after the Gaza offensive began. The Haryana government in December advertised 10,000 positions for construction workers in Israel. The same month, Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, also released a similar advertisement for another 10,000 workers. Reports said the recruitment drive began in state capital, Lucknow, on Tuesday, drawing hundreds of applicants.”
21.01.24: Guardian: The west’s complete contempt for the lives of Palestinians will not be forgotten: Our political and media elites are complicit in Gaza’s nightmare. Any vestige of moral authority has been lost for ever.
20.01.24: Taz: „Deutschland sollte die Dinge so sehen, wie sie sind“ ("Germany should see things as they are"): Historian Omer Bartov on the accusation that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, Nazi comparisons and Germany's role in the conflict: It is embarrassing that the West is doing nothing about the humanitarian catastrophe that is unfolding before our eyes. Over 24,000 people have already been killed there, at least two thirds of them civilians, half of them children. The killing rate is unprecedented and there is little pressure on Israel to end the conflict.
19.01.24: Taz: Zehn Mal mehr Waffen für Israel als vor einem Jahr (Ten times more weapons for Israel than a year ago): Die Bundesregierung plant, jetzt auch Panzermunition an Israel zu liefern, wie der Spiegel berichtet. Die beteiligten Ressorts hätten sich bereits „grundsätzlich geeinigt“, eine entsprechende Bitte der israelischen Regierung zu erfüllen. Das Kabinett von Benjamin Netanjahu hätte bereits im November konkret rund 10.000 Schuss 120-Millimeter-Präzisionsmunition für die israelische Armee angefragt. Da die Industrie die Munition nicht sofort liefern könne, könnte die Bundeswehr zunächst Munition aus ihren Beständen abgeben.
19.01.24: AJE: UN says Palestinians detained by Israeli forces humiliated, beaten: “‘There are reports of men who are subsequently released, but only in diapers without any adequate clothing in this cold weather,’ he said, adding that it was not clear why they were made to wear diapers but that ‘they were clearly visibly shocked and even shaken when I met them’. Several videos shared by the Israeli army since the war began show hundreds of Palestinian men stripped to their underwear, sitting outdoors in the cold, sometimes blindfolded. In a few videos, women and children were also seen.”
18.01.24: TNH: Famine expert Alex de Waal on Israel’s starvation of Gaza: ‘The responsibility for that lies overwhelmingly with Israel. It will have to pay not only financially but morally and legally as well.’
17.01.24: AJE: Gaza will be the grave of the Western-led world order: Opinion article by Saul J Takahashi (Osaka): “By supporting Israel’s atrocities in Gaza, the West has shredded what remains of its credibility and brought the ‘rules-based’ world order it purports to lead to the point of no return.”
13.01.24: AJE: Hundreds of thousands rally globally for Gaza on eve of 100 days of war: People gathered at rallies in Malaysia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Indonesia on Saturday, as well as at other protests in Thailand, Japan, Italy, Greece and Pakistan.
11.01.24: AJE: How can so many in the West so easily ignore genocide?: Responses to genocide are often determined by where the crime is committed, and what the victims look like.
11.01.24: LMD: Die inneren Widersprüche der Hamas (The internal contradictions of Hamas): Who commands the Hamas leadership? It used to be assumed that the organization was largely run from outside, i.e. by its leaders based in Amman, Damascus and Doha. But this assessment is long outdated. Since February 2017 at the latest, the balance of power within Hamas has shifted.
07.01.24: Taz: „Militärischer Sieg über die Hamas ist unmöglich“ (“Military victotry over Hamas is impossible”): Political scientist Alijla believes it is unrealistic for Israel to destroy the terrorist group. He advocates focussing on the socio-cultural reasons for their support in Gaza.
06.01.24: AJE: Safe zones: Israel’s technologies of genocide: The designation of safe areas in Gaza allows the Israeli army to carry out war crimes more efficiently and then to deny them.
03.01.24: Times of Israel: Israel in talks with Congo and other countries on Gaza ‘voluntary migration’ plan: Zman Israel, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew sister site, has learned that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition is conducting secret contacts for accepting thousands of immigrants from Gaza with Congo, in addition to other nations. “Congo will be willing to take in migrants, and we’re in talks with others,” a senior source in the security cabinet said.
06.01.24: The New Arab: Chad, DRC, Rwanda deny reports of talks with Israel on taking in forcibly displaced Palestinians from Gaza: “Chad's government ‘categorically denies the recent allegations broadcasted by the Israeli channel i24, which claim that talks between Israel and Chad are taking place with the aim of receiving thousands of Palestinians from Gaza,’ an official spokesperson was reported as saying on Saturday. Rwanda's foreign ministry on Friday issued a ‘disinformation alert’ over the reports, and said it is ‘not in discussion with Israel on transfer of Palestinians from Gaza’. DRC government spokesman Patrick Muyaya was also quoted as saying that the Israeli media claims were false.”
01.01.24: NYT: Israeli Supreme Court Decision Prompts Polarized Response in a Nation at War: The court rejected a law that was designed to limit its authority. Monday’s ruling, criticized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and praised by his opponents, raised the prospect of renewed discord as Israel wages war in Gaza.
01.01.24: NYT: The U.S. and Israel: An Embrace Shows Signs of Strain After Oct. 7: No other episode in the past half-century has tested the relationship between the United States and Israel in such an intense and consequential way as the Israel-Hamas war of 2023.
22.01.24: AJE: IOM makes ‘global appeal’ for $7.9bn to help 140 million people: The appeal comes at a time when top donor governments face tight budgets. The IOM says it hopes funding will come from individual and private-sector donors in addition to governments. The agency’s new director-general, Amy Pope, said the funding will benefit 140 million people – both migrants and the communities that house them.
17.01.24: Taz: „Schockwellen in Afrika“ (Shock Waves in Africa): In the budget consultations of the FRG government, almost 1 billion euros are to be cut from the budget of the Ministry of Development according to the proposal for the adjustment session. This would correspond to almost a tenth of the previous total budget of 12.1 billion euros. In addition, 800 million euros are to be cut from the Federal Foreign Office and a further 200 million euros from the Federal Ministry of Economics, which were earmarked for combating hunger, climate change and for education and economic cooperation.
24.01.24: Care: Breaking the Silence: The eighth edition of "Breaking the Silence" highlights those humanitarian crises that receive the least coverage worldwide. The report is a call to the global community to help people who receive little attention, to stand up for them and to make their voices heard.
01/24: IOM Libya: Libya — Migrant Report 49 (July - September 2023): IOM Libya’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) programme identified a total of 697,532 migrants from 45 nationalities in the 100 Libyan municipalities during round 49 of data collection (July - September 2023).
Consistent with previous reports, the majority of migrants (58%) were located in the coastal regions of Tripoli (16%), Benghazi (11%), Misrata (11%), Ejdabia (7%), Azzawya (7%) and Almargeb (6%).
27.01.24: taz: Ein bisschen Willkommenskultur (A bit of Welcome Culture): The German government is looking for skilled labour worldwide. In Morocco, Development Minister Svenja Schulze is endeavouring to present Germany as cosmopolitan - despite stricter deportation rules and the AfD's high profile.
25.01.24: taz: Ministerin reist nach Marokko: Ihr Fachkräfte, kommet (Minister travelling to Morocco: Skilled workers, come).
20.01.24: DTNext: Morocco: Gatekeeper of EU-migration: According to a recent statement by the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces, around 87,000 migrants were stopped in 2023, a steep increase compared to around 56,000 between January and August 2022. The majority were arrested near Morocco’s western coastline, the army stated.
03.01.24: Taz: 1.100 Migranten festgenommen (1.100 Migrants Arrested).
Morocco / Sahel
27.12.24: DW: Le Maroc propose une alliance à trois pays de la Cédéao (Morocco is proposing an alliance with three ECOWAS countries): Does Rabat want to take advantage of the situation in the Sahel to gain influence? At any rate, this is what the Moroccan approach to these three Sahelian countries, which have broken with the ECOWAS and at a time when Algeria is in trouble with Mali, suggests.
16.01.24: Yabiladi: Morocco and Mali mend ties as Bamako joins royal Sahel initiative: Following Mali's recent accession to King Mohammed VI's Atlantic access initiative for Sahel countries, the two nations continue to strengthen their relationship;
03.01.24: Altalayar: Mali could recognise Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Morocco / Israel
12.01.24: AJE: Will Morocco stay the course on Israel normalisation?: ”Since early October, Morocco’s streets have seen regular protests, with thousands turning out to protest against Israel’s continuing actions in Gaza. Among them are protesters who are unhappy with their government’s dealings with Israel.”
09.01.24: InfoMigrants: Tunisia: Mass expulsions and abuse of migrants continue: “In a statement issued on Monday (January 8), the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) warned of ongoing abuses against migrants in the north African country. The group said [...] the situation is especially serious around Tunisia’s borders with Libya and Algeria where migrants are driven and are left to fend for themselves in the desert or end up in detention centers run by armed groups.”
10.01.24: Matthias Monroy: Questionable narrative on coast guard in Tunisia: Theft of engines allegedly served for sea rescue;
ECRW Working Paper 20: Le Mémorandum entre la Tunesie et l’Union Européenne.
17.01.24: AlJazeera: Protests erupt in Tunisian town as search continues for 37 missing migrants: “Other than three or four people from elsewhere in Tunisia, all of the boat’s passengers are reported to be from the small village of El Hancha in the Sfax Governorate. [...] Frustrated by the lack of news since the boat’s disappearance, the families of the missing [...] erected roadblocks and burned tyres around the village yesterday, only withdrawing when the government authorities assured the public that search efforts would continue.”
20.01.24: Arab News: Nearly 400 migrants repatriated from Tunisia, IOM says: The IOM has facilitated the repatriation of 392 people, largely from Burkina Faso, Gambia, Mali, and Senegal, according to a statement from the UN agency.
Central and Sub Saharan Africa
24.01.24: Reuters: Putin meets Chad junta leader as Russia competes with France in Africa: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday met Chadian leader Mahamat Idriss Deby in the Kremlin, courting a country that had previously maintained a pro-Western policy
02.01.24: Taz: Wahlen in der DR Kongo: Tshisekedis unfeine Wiederwahl (Elections in the DR Congo: Tshisekedi's inept re-election): Without having finished counting, the electoral commission declares Congo's President Tshisekedi the winner with 73 per cent. Opposition speaks of a "coup d'état".
27.01.24: AJE: ‘Stop killing us!’: Thousands march to protest against femicide in Kenya: Thousands of people have gathered to protest in cities and towns in Kenya against the recent slayings of more than a dozen women.
The anti-femicide demonstration on Saturday was the largest event ever held in the country against sexual and gender-based violence.
27.01.24: Guardian: Well-camouflaged dictatorship’: Rwandans fear for safety while dirty tricks campaign undermines critics: Kagame’s government targeted journalists who uncovered killings, disappearances and torture linked to the regime
26.01.24: taz: Tausende in Angst versetzt (Thousands in fear): Around 250,000 refugees live in Tanzania. Now the president is hinting that she wants to get rid of them
12.01.24: md: Transitstadt Lusaka (Tranit City Lusaka): “After North Africa, the bottleneck to Europe, South Africa is the second major centre of attraction for continental internal migration. Zambia, the fourth largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa (with a GDP of 22 billion dollars in 2021), is affected by migration movements in three ways: as a country of emigration, as a country of transit and as a country of immigration. On 30 November 2023, 94,326 refugees, asylum seekers and other displaced persons were registered here.”
See HoA Media Office
08.01.24: Military Africa: US Plans Drone Bases in West Africa to Counter China and Islamist Militants: The U.S. is in talks with Ghana, Ivory Coast and Benin to allow American unarmed surveillance drones to use their airfields, The Wall Street Journal reported on Jan. 3. These countries, along with Togo, are relatively stable and prosperous, but face the risk of spillover from the Islamist insurgency that has plagued Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger in the Sahel region.
08.01.24: The Conversation: Scramble for the Sahel – why France, Russia, China and the United States are interested in the region.
25.01.24: Afrimag: Une avant-garde de l’ex-Wagner déjà à Ouagadougou (A vanguard of ex-Wagner already in Ouagadougou): Around a hundred soldiers from the former Wagner, renamed Africa Corps after the death of its founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, arrived in the capital of Burkina Faso at the beginning of the week, reveals Force Paramilitaire on its Telegram channel. The mission of this first contingent is to provide security for the transitional authorities, patrol a number of regions infected by jihadist terrorism and train Burkina Faso's soldiers.
25.01.24: HRW: Burkina Faso: Drone Strikes on Civilians Apparent War Crimes: Three Burkina Faso military drone strikes that the government claimed targeted Islamist fighters killed at least 60 civilians and injured scores more at two crowded markets and a packed funeral in Burkina Faso and Mali between August and November 2023, Human Rights Watch said today.
25.01.24: RFI: Mali: la junte au pouvoir annonce la «fin avec effet immédiat» de l'accord d'Alger (Mali: the ruling junta announces the "immediate end" of the Algiers agreement): “The peace agreement signed in 2015 between the Malian state and the rebel groups is ‘null and void’, says the communiqué that officially marks its end. To justify this stance, the junta invokes ‘the change in position of certain signatory groups’. It denounces in no particular order ‘the instrumentalisation of the agreement by the Algerian authorities’.”
26.01.24: AJE Mali’s military rulers scrap peace deal with separatist rebels; 12.01.24: LMD: Endloser Krieg in Mali (Endless War in Mali);
05.01.24: Janes: Mali inaugurates more Bayraktar TB2 UAVs: The FAMa previously displayed TB2s with serials running from TZ-01D to TZ-06D, so the latest reception ceremony appears to have brought the number delivered to Mali up to at least 17. The TB2s have become famous in Mali as the ORTM television channel frequently broadcasts footage that the FAMa has released showing the UAVs carrying out airstrikes, purportedly against terrorists, although there have been accusations that civilians have been killed.
Niger / Mali / Burkina Faso
28.01.24: AJE: Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso announce withdrawal from ECOWAS: Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso “decide in complete sovereignty on the immediate withdrawal” from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), read a joint statement published on Sunday.
Sahel / Iran
25.01.24: Jungle World: Mullah-Offensive in der Sahelzone (Mullah offensive in the Sahel region): The Islamic Republic of Iran is trying to strengthen its influence in the states of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, which are ruled by military juntas.
23.01.24: NYT: Remote African Hub Reopens for Migrants Headed Toward Europe: “For years, this portal was closed, at least officially. The country’s government, friendly to Europe, outlawed migration out of Agadez, and in exchange the European Union poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Niger’s coffers and the local economy.
But last summer, after generals in Niger seized power in a military coup, the European Union suspended financial support to the government — and in response, the generals severed the migration arrangement with the European Union in November. The gate is once again open, and a fresh flock of hopeful migrants is once again passing through, to the relief of many locals.”
31.12.23: BBC: Sahara migrant smuggling: Double-edged sword of overturning Niger's ban: "The law was repealed on a Friday, by Sunday, I saw 4x4 cars in Agadez getting ready to resume their trips," Chehou Azizou told the BBC. He is the founder of Alarme Phone Sahara, an organisation that helps bring migrants stranded in the desert back to safety.
18.01.24: Telepolis: Continuous Military Engagement in Niger: “Germany has a strong vested interest in controlling migration in the region. With the end of the "civilian" EU training mission ‘Eucap Sahel’, these programmes have been put on hold for the time being. However, cooperation in the training and equipping of border guards could be discussed further at a bilateral level. In addition to migration defence, Germany's motivation remains ‘not to leave the field to Russia’. This is all the more true as Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso have decided to intensify their military cooperation with Russia, which also includes cooperation with offensive mercenaries from the Wagner Group and more Russian armaments.”
23.01.24: taz: Wahlen ohne Oppositionsführer (Elections Without Opposition Leaders): Two well-known opposition politicians have been excluded as candidates in the presidential elections in Senegal. NGOs warn that the country is increasingly restricting political freedoms
By now see 03.02.24: NYT: Senegal’s President Calls Off a National Election. His Critics Call It a Coup.
27.12.23: HRANA: Annual Analytical and Statistical Report on Human Rights in Iran for the year 2023: In a comprehensive report spanning from January 1, 2023, to December 20, 2023, HRA has meticulously gathered, examined, and compiled 9,656 reports on the human rights situation. Set to be released in both summary and detailed formats, complete with charts and graphs, the report will provide in-depth analysis of the human rights landscape, including the imposing of over 33,335 months of imprisonment sentences for critics, the sentencing of citizens to 6,551 lashes despite international condemnation, and the execution of at least 746 individuals.
18.01.24: TNH: In Lebanon, young Syrians sleep out in the open to avoid night-time deportation raids: For some young men among the more than 300,000 registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s eastern Beqaa Valley, sleeping outside feels like the safest option amid an ongoing wave of deportations to Syria.
31.01.24: taz: „Das Drogenproblem breitet sich sehr stark aus“ ("The drug problem is spreading rapidly"): Drugs such as meth and Captagon offer many people in Syria an escape from their depressing everyday lives. The consequences are serious.
02.01.24: Taz: Hilfe für Menschen in Syrien: Geld wird knapp, Hunger größer (Help for people in Syria: Money is running out, hunger is growing): People in Syria are receiving less and less support. The UN World Food Programme is drastically reducing its aid for the new year.
23.01.24: InfoMigrants: Turkey: Bodies believed to be migrants washed ashore: “On Sunday, (January 21), the Turkish regional governor for the resort of Antalya expressed concerns about eight bodies washed ashore on local beaches over the past six days, suggesting they could be migrants [from Syria].”
Turkey / Syria
29.01.24: taz: „Türkische Verwicklung in Syrien thematisieren“ ("Address Turkey's involvement in Syria"): German human rights activists have filed criminal charges in Karlsruhe against pro-Turkish militia leaders in Syria.
18.01.24: taz: Erdoğan droht, Truppen nach Nord-Syrien zu schicken (Erdogan threatens to send troops to Syria).
15.01.24: taz: Report on Refugees in Cyprus: Report about persons stuck in Cyprus.
25.01.24: SZ: Das Verfassungsgericht demontiert das harte Immigrationsgesetz (The Constitutional Court dismantles the tough immigration law): The French Constitutional Council rejects 37 of 86 articles of the controversial immigration law. The right now demands a revision of the constitution.
19.01.24: Tagesschau: Rückführungsgesetz: Wie Abschiebungen erleichtert werden sollen (Repatriation Act: How deportations are to be made easier): In view of "overburdened" local authorities, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz called in the autumn for rejected asylum seekers to be deported "on a grand scale". In response, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser presented a draft bill "to improve repatriation".
12.01.24: Mediendienst: Vier Lehren aus dem "Flüchtlingsjahr" 2023 (Figures 2023): Rund 352.000 Personen haben 2023 einen Asylantrag in Deutschland gestellt – von ihnen etwa 329.000 Personen zum ersten Mal. Das sind etwa 50 Prozent mehr Erstanträge als im Vorjahr. Was sind die wichtigsten Lehren aus dem vergangenen Jahr?
03.01.24: Taz: Rückführungen in den Iran: Abschiebestopp aufgehoben (Returns to Iran: deportation ban lifted): A ban on deportations to Iran that applied in all 16 federal states was not extended at the Conference of Interior Ministers (IMK) in December and expired on 31 December 2023. Only in Berlin is a general ban on deportations still in place until the end of February, meaning that from now on, only a special regulation relating to the destination country will apply to deportations to Iran: asylum applications from people who are particularly politically at risk will be subject to an accelerated procedure. However, the group of people is very limited: The regulation only applies to those who can prove, among other things, that they have been "active in human rights or opposition work in a particularly outstanding and long-standing manner", writes the press office of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) in response to a query from taz.
18.01.24: taz: EGMR verurteilt Griechenland (ECtHR condemns Greece): The European Court of Human Rights has awarded three Syrian refugees 80,000 euros in compensation for a fatal incident in the East Aegean in 2014. The Greek coastguard had fired thirteen times at a boat full of migrants. One of the boat's occupants died as a result of his injuries.
29.01.24: Guardian: Meloni to unveil plan to expand Italian influence in Africa: “The Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, is poised to announce her grand plan for Italy in Africa as she strives to position her country at the forefront of European cooperation on the African continent in return for curbing illegal migration.”
30.01.24: Il Post: Ambizioni e limiti del piano del governo italiano per l’Africa (Ambitions and limitations of the Italian government's plan for Africa).
Italy / Albania
29.01.24: NYT: Court Clears Way for Italy to Send Some Asylum Seekers to Albania: An Albanian court on Monday gave the green light to an agreement allowing Italy to send migrants who are rescued in the Mediterranean by Italian ships to detention centers in Albania while their asylum claims are considered.
12.01.24: ECRE: Atlantic Route and Spain: 2023 Marked as the Deadliest Year, Fatal Crossing Attempts, Rescue Efforts and Interceptions by Spain’s African Partners Continue: A new report by the NGO Walking Borders marked 2023 as the “deadliest year” since it began keeping records. According to the organisation, 18 people died every day on the different migratory routes leading to Spain. Up to 6618 people lost their lives on the Western Euro-African border, including 363 women and 384 girls and boys. This high number of recorded deaths confirms once again that the Canary Islands route is the “deadliest migratory region in the world”.
08.01.24: DW: Serbien: Das Geschäft an Europas Grenzen (Serbia: Migration Business): Video: In winter, more migrants are coming to Europe via the Balkan route. This is because the crossing across the icy Mediterranean is too risky. Smugglers who bring people from Serbia across the Hungarian border into the EU make money from this.
23.01.24: AJE: UK’s upper house votes to delay plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda: The upper house voted 214 to 171 to delay the ratification of a related treaty London signed with Kigali until the government can demonstrate that Rwanda is a safe country for asylum seekers to be sent to.
17.01.24: Guardian: Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda deportation bill passes third reading in Commons;
19.01.24: Guardian: Home Office hires hangar for staff to practise Rwanda deportations;
11.01.24: Refugee Council: Safe Routes for Refugees Missing: In the year to September 2023, only 766 refugees were resettled under the Government’s global resettlement scheme, the lowest number in over a decade;
02.01.24: Calais.Bordermonitoring: Das Jahr mit den zweitmeisten Passagen (The Year with the second most Passages).
21.01.23: Guardian: Modern slavery in social care surging since visa rules eased: “Unpublished figures show at least 800 people working in care homes or people’s residences were charted as potential victims last year, more than 10 times the number recorded before the government’s visa scheme.
Some workers have reported sleeping in cold, cramped rooms or only receiving a fraction of their pay. Others have said they paid exorbitant fees to agents for visa costs worth only a fraction of the price.”
06.01.24: NZZ: Migrationsabkommen mit Ägypten: Jetzt soll Präsident Sisi die Flüchtlinge aufhalten (Migration agreement with Egypt: President Sisi should now stop the refugees): "The EU Commission hopes to conclude a new migration agreement with Egypt this month. [...] There is talk of a "strategic and comprehensive partnership" that Brussels wants to finalise. This is not only about curbing irregular migration across the Mediterranean, but also about cooperation at a military level with the authoritarian regime of Abdelfatah al-Sisi."
03.01.24: AJE: In 2024, Europe to hunt for new partners to offload asylum seekers: “What is new is the popularity of the idea that you can externalise asylum processing,” said Camille Le Coz, associate director for Europe at the Migration Policy Institute. “That’s something we’re likely going to see more of moving forward despite shaky legal grounds.” Le Coz told Al Jazeera that other European Union members states were considering signing deals to externalise asylum. Georgia, Ghana and Moldova are among the potential candidates.
“Deals that externalise asylum processing raise questions in terms of human rights standards but also on political and financial costs,” Le Coz said. “In the end, none of these deals are moving forward because their legal grounds are pretty shaky, and so far, they have provided no solutions while incurring many costs.”
26.01.24: Frontex: Significant rise in irregular border crossings in 2023, highest since 2016: The number of irregular border crossings at the EU’s external border in 2023 reached a total of approximately 380 000, driven by a rise in arrivals via the Mediterranean region, according to preliminary calculations by Frontex. This marks the highest level since 2016 and constitutes a 17% increase from the figures in 2022, indicating a consistent upward trend over the past three years.
The Central Mediterranean was the most active migratory route into the EU, accounting for two out of every five irregular crossings (41%) in 2023, followed by the Western Balkans (26%) and Eastern Mediterranean (16%).
Syrians accounted for over 100 000 irregular crossings last year, the highest number among all nationalities. They were followed by Guineans and Afghans. These three top nationalities accounted for over a third of all detections.
31.01.24: InfoMigrants: Spain resumes joint operations with Frontex: “The 2024 agreement between the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders (Frontex) and Spain was renewed at the last moment on Monday (January 29).”
19.01.24: ECRE: External Partners: European Policies and Funds Blamed for Ongoing Violence Inflicted on Migrants by Tunisian Authorities, So-Called Libyan Coast Guard Continues Interception of Migrants.
Reports and Long Reads
01/24: CMRCC: Borders in Motion. Echoes Issue 10: “2023, a year marked by a large increase in sea arrivals in comparison to the year before, and not only on the Central Mediterranean route. 2023, a year of intensified attempts by the EU to expand border control in collaboration with its autocratic partners in North Africa. 2023, another year of even tougher racist agitation and deprivation of rights all throughout Europe and beyond. Borders have been challenged and have shifted on various levels and directions this past year. It is not difficult to predict that this conflict will continue and possibly escalate in 2024. As Civil MRCC, we promise to stay at the side of refugees and migrants and in solidarity with their daily struggles to practice freedom of movement and find a safer and better life.”
Newsletter by the CMRCC: Published every two months to coincide with the release of Echoes, the newsletter presents the various "articles" of the issue, highlighting the latest political developments and ongoing mobilization in the context of the Central Mediterranean. To subscribe to the Civil MRCC newsletter, go to: https://civilmrcc.eu/newsletter/
01/2024: Caminandofronteras: Monitoring the Right to Life 2023: “In 2023, 18 people died every day on the different migratory routes to Spain. The Monitoring theRight to Life report, which collects data on the victims of a necropolitics that is increasingly cruel and aggressive towards human rights, has found that 2023 was the deadliest year on record. As many as 6,618 people lost their lives on the Euro-African Western Border, including 363 women and 384 children.”
01/2024: HRW World Report: Greece. Events of 2023: “During 2023, abuses against asylum seekers and migrants continued, including violent pushbacks, abuses in detention, and vigilante violence. The government also smeared and judicially harassed civil society groups working with asylum seekers and migrants. Media freedom curbs continued.”
28.01.24: AJE: 'Tell them what happened': Rescue on the high seas: 24 hours on the Humanity 1.
02.01.24: Calais.Bordermonitoring: Das Jahr mit den zweitmeisten Passagen (The Year with the second most Passages): “In 2023, the number of boat crossings fell significantly for the first time. While around 46,000 people crossed the English Channel in this way in 2022, the figure was just under 30,000 in 2023, only slightly more than in 2021. However, if we analyse the situation in more detail, it becomes clear that 2023 was probably not a turning point towards a gradual closure of the Channel route. Nor can the decline be explained solely as a success of the British government's stop-the-baots policy. Here is a look back at the past year and some theses on the year that has begun.”
30.01.24: Statewatch: Frontex and deportations, 2006-22: “Data covering 17 years of Frontex’s deportation operations shows the expanding role of the agency. We have produced a series of visualisations to show the number of people deported in Frontex-coordinated operations, the member states involved, the destination states, and the costs.”
11.01.24: MMC: The Mixed Migration Centre in 2023: Annual catalogue of research & publications: This annual catalogue offers a compilation of all publications and contributions to media articles by the Mixed Migration Centre network in 2023, provides a brief overview of the key developments within the MMC organisation, and an outlook of what’s to come in 2024.
12/23: Transnational Institute: Repackaging Imperialism The EU – IOM border regime in the Balkans: “The International Organization for Migration (IOM) claims to respect the rights of migrants. But our research shows links between the IOM and serious human rights violations perpetrated against migrants in the Balkans, where its presence is overwhelmingly funded by the EU. Through its partnership with the IOM, the EU has used the region to test and perfect its migration policies, particularly with regard to restricting and containing migration. This has involved funding the IOM to develop a transnational security apparatus, which includes the remilitarisation of borders in a region still recovering from war, setting up sophisticated surveillance structures and technologies, migrant detention centres, and bolstering local police forces, some of which engage in illegal and violent deportations.”
12/23: ECRE Working Paper 20: Le Mémorandum entre la Tunesie et l’Union Européenne: This article attempts to propose an explanatory reading of the memorandum, by examining the following problem: What would be the economic, political, environmental, societal and migratory effects on Tunisia and on Tunisian migrants in the Schengen area and in Tunisia if the EU countries were to adopt this document?
31.12.2023: Guardian: ‘They attacked us. They displaced us’: grieving South Sudanese confront Swedish oil giant over their days of slaughter: A historic trial, which will call on 61 witnesses worldwide, is expected to set a precedent for global corporations in foreign jurisdictions.
06.02.24: Global CommemorAction: CommemorAction, a blended word encompassing both commemoration and action, are actions that commemorate people who died or have gone missing at sea during their journey to Europe, emphasizing both the commitment to remembering those who died or disappeared in their pursuit of freedom of movement and our demands for justice. Find out here whether a CommemorAction takes also place in your city.