73% drop in migration from Horn of Africa to Gulf countries due to pandemic

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – New data published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week confirms a nearly three-fourths decline in migration from the East and Horn of Africa regions toward Gulf countries through Yemen during 2020.

These findings are especially significant because African migration through Yemen to the Gulf of Arabia has been high for the past four years. Despite reduced arrivals in 2020 — due in part to Coronavirus-related restrictions — risks for migrants increased, with more detentions, exploitation and forced transfers.

Data released by IOM show that the number of migrants crossing via Yemen from the Horn dropped from a high of 138k in 2019 to 37k in 2020. Forced returns from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were also significantly reduced, passing from nearly 121k Ethiopian migrants in 2019 to 37k in 2020.

Border closures, which have left thousands of workers stranded, resulted in many workers from the East African countries facing exploitation from people smugglers when trying to get home. As of September 2020, some 3,000 migrants were stranded within the East and Horn of Africa, in addition to tens of thousands of other migrants from the region stranded in Yemen.

By Henok Alemayehu

ICC rules past trauma not a defense against the war crime of forced pregnancy

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The international court concluded a case against a former child soldier whose defense included that he had been a victim himself when he was abducted and conscripted into Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army at the age of 10. The acts for which he was tried took place later on, when he was a high ranking commander of that force.

The ruling establishes for the ICC that “suffered victimization in the past is not a justification, nor an excuse to victimize others,” as was argued by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in her opening statements of the trial in 2016.

The ruling is considered to be somewhat of a landmark because it expands the ICC’s definition of war crimes and crimes against humanity to include forced pregnancy and forced marriage.

By Milan Sime Martinić

Nigeria remains Africa’s top economy as Egypt and South Africa shuffle places again

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In the 3-way see-saw to be at the top African economy, Egypt beat out South Africa again taking its place as the continent’s second-biggest economy, leaving Nigeria at the top, a position it has held since 2020 when it overtook South Africa.

The International Monetary Fund records show that for years the three counties have been in constant competition for the #1, #2 and #3 spots.

By Milan Sime Martinić

Angola has decriminalized homosexuality

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The Southern African country also passed a law criminalizing discrimination based on sexual orientation, which will come into play when a person tries to get a job or receive services.

Only a handful of African nations have laws to protect homosexuals, and many criminalize the lifestyle with potentially heavy punishments — sometimes even a death sentence.

Angola has been revising its 1975 penal code which was interpreted to ban homosexuality through its “vices against nature” provision.

By Milan Sime Martinić