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Rights groups fear EU policy shift on Eritrea

Academics and rights activists fear a rapprochement between the European Union and Eritrea, warning that EU policy-makers are making light of the Horn of Africa country’s dismal rights record in their bid to reduce the number of Eritreans who are ready to risk their lives at sea on their way to Europe.Europe is changing its tune on Eritrea because it wants to roll back the numbers of Eritrean migrants who board unseaworthy vessels to cross the Mediterranean Sea, scholars and activists fear.The European Union is considering boosting its aid to Eritrea to fund infrastructure projects and help job creation with the hope that employed youths will cease to embark on the treacherous trek across the Sahara Desert - typically via Sudan, Egypt and Libya - before embarking on Italian-bound boats.

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Israel to deport Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to third countries

Israel will begin deporting asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan to unnamed third countries in Africa even if against their will, the immigration authority announced on Tuesday. The assumption is that the third countries are Rwanda and Uganda, although Israel has not revealed details.According to the interior minister, Gilad Erdan, the move will “encourage infiltrators to leave the borders of the state of Israel in an honourable and safe way, and serve as an effective tool for fulfilling our obligations towards Israeli citizens and restoring the fabric of life to the residents of south Tel Aviv”.

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Ethiopia to evacuate citizens from Yemen

World Bulletin / News Desk Ethiopia is making preparations to evacuate its nationals from Yemen, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday."Since Tuesday, a total of 1,042 Ethiopians residing in Sanaa and its environs have registered to return to Ethiopia via telephone hotlines established for the purpose," ministry spokesman Tewolde Mulugeta told.

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EU should ‘open the gates’ to Eritrean refugees

The human rights situation in Eritrea is dire. The participants of a recent meeting of parliament's subcommittee on human rights stressed that there are basically no opposition political parties, independent media or civil society organisations permitted to operate. Sheila Keetharuth, the UN special rapporteur on Eritrea, spoke of a wide range of human rights violations, such as "indefinite national service, arbitrary arrests and detention, extrajudicial killings, torture, inhumane prison conditions, restricted freedom of movement and expression, assembly, and religious belief; sexual and gender-based violence, and violations of children's rights." What does this mean for EU relations with Eritrea? This country, which some politicians refer to as 'Africa's North Korea' is a one party state run by the dictator Isaias Afwerki. There have been no national elections since independence in 1993 and regional elections scheduled to take place in 2009 have not yet been held. Nevertheless the EU maintains intensive development programs in Eritrea, in the areas of agriculture, construction of solar pumps and measures to enable conservation of ground and water. We are talking about initiatives totalling €60m, executed together with the Eritrean government.

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Tribunal upholds $1300 fine imposed at Ottawa airport for importing Eritrean stools into Canada

When Samuel Gebreyesus arrived at Ottawa Airport last July, he had four traditional Eritrean wooden stools covered with cow skins in his luggage. They were a gift from family members in Eritrea, where Gebreyesus had gone for his brother’s funeral. The Winnipeg taxi driver declared the stools at customs, assigning them a value of $150. He also marked “no” on his declaration card where it asked if he was importing any animal products or byproducts.That turns out to have been a costly mistake. In a March 18 decision, the Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal upheld a $1,300 fine imposed by the Canada Border Services Agency for failing to declare he was importing animal byproducts. The CBSA also confiscated the stools and has not returned them.

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Egypt carries out first execution of Mursi supporter

Egypt executed an Islamist on Saturday for a murder committed during riots in mid-2013, the first death sentence carried out against a supporter of the banned Muslim Brotherhood under President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. The interior ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page that Mahmoud Hassan Ramadan had been hanged for an incident where children were thrown from a building during protests in 2013 against the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

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