• How Far Will the EU Go to Seal Its Borders? | Dissent Magazine

    Khartoum used to be a city where you could disappear. Located on one of the key migration trails to Europe via the Horn of Africa, thousands of Eritreans, Ethiopians, and Somalis would enter the sprawling city to hire smugglers to take them north into Libya and then Europe. African refugees and migrants used to be able to travel out from the country relatively easily. But Sudan is now home to one of the European Union’s (EU) aggressive attempts to contain Africans before they can make it off the continent and onto Italian shores.

    A central pillar of the EU’s current migration policy is to pressure governments in Africa and the Middle East to stem onward migration in exchange for aid. With the continued electoral gains of far-right parties across Europe on anti-immigration platforms, these efforts are rapidly accelerating. Now as billions of euros flow from Europe into the Horn of Africa and other regions to stem migration and previously permeable border zones become impassable or more dangerous, the human cost plays out far from the remit of European citizens. How far is Europe willing to go to seal its borders?

    The question can best be answered not from the EU’s headquarters in Brussels, but in countries like Sudan. In November 2017, I spent a month reporting in Khartoum and Kassala, a town in eastern Sudan near the Eritrean border.