FRW news in brief

    | June 30, 2014

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    1-Eritrea: Fleeing forced labour

    The UN Human Rights Council is calling on the Eritrean government to stop a program which is causing an exodus of refugees and spawning human rights violations.

    Sheila Keetharuth is leading a UN investigation into human rights in Eritrea. She wrote that torture, sexualized violence and extra-judicial killings are continuing unabated under the regime of President Isaias Afwerki.

    The report states that the government’s national service program is an indefinite conscription that amounts to forced labour. Many people are put to work in reforestation, soil and water conservation, and reconstruction efforts. An estimated 2,000 people flee Eritrea each month, according to UNHCR.

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    2-Somalia: Refugees return from Kenya

    Amnesty International has criticized the Kenyan government for the “illegal deportation” of Somalis to Mogadishu during its counter-terrorism operation.

    The Somali government has protested the treatment of its nationals, many of whom are refugees in Kenya. Over the last two months, many Somalis have been arrested and deported by Kenyan authorities.

    The governments of Somalia and Kenya, along with the UNHCR, signed an agreement last year concerning the voluntary repatriation of Somali nationals. Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Minister has now refused to meet with Kenyan officials to discuss implementing the agreement.

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    3-South Sudan: Pastoralists homeless after fleeing conflict

    Sudanese pastoralists and farmers affected by the fighting in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state have returned to their original homelands in Sennar state, Sudan.

    The state’s governor has marked two villages as resettlement sites for the nomads and farmers. But the displaced people face challenges in accessing water, education and other basic services. Some complain that plots are not being properly distributed by state authorities.

    Pastoralists and farmers are calling on the Sudanese government to help them rebuild their livelihoods, which were lost during the conflict across the border in South Sudan.

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