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Eritrean translators ‘intimidating refugees’ in Germany

Eritrean translators 'intimidating refugees'

Eritrean translators are deliberately mistranslating the testimonies of refugees during their hearings, according to dissidents' groups in Germany. Some are even intimidating them into hiding human rights abuses. "He asked us, 'Wait, where's the part where I was tortured in prison?' And we said, 'that's not in here.' He was completely horrified," Rut Bahta, co-founder of the Frankfurt-based Eritrean dissident network United4Eritrea, said she has a few stories along these lines. Her group, which provides support for new arrivals from Eritrea, often has to retranslate into Tigrinya the transcripts of their asylum hearings, which the authorities only provide in German. It's at this point, Bahta said, many find out that the state-assigned translators had mistranslated or omitted major details. "He couldn't believe it at first - we had to get a third person to translate," Bahta told DW. "He'd been through countries like Sudan and Libya, where no one ever asked him what happened to him. This was his first time in Europe, and he thought everything would be done properly now. He was utterly shocked - disappointed in the institution."

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Sea of migrants

Sea of migrants

During this year, the UN says more than 150,000 migrants have reached Europe by crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa and Turkey. At least 2,000 have died while trying to make the journey on unseaworthy boats and inflatable rafts, double the number of last year’s fatalities. Greece and Italy have received about 75,000 each. Turkey, which hosts nearly two million Syrians, is the launch pad for Syrians and Iraqis going to Greece while Libya, a country which has no effective government, is the main transit area for Sub-Saharan Africans sailing to southern Europe. Sixty per cent of the migrants arriving in Greece at the rate of 1,000 a day are Syrians, the rest are from war-torn Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia and from Eritrea where men are fleeing forced conscription in the military. The migrants are greatly straining the slender resources of Greece at a time of severe economic hardship, forcing most to cross the northern border and transit the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary with the aim of reaching the more affluent countries of the north. Ten per cent of migrants setting sail from Libya to Italy are Syrians, the rest come from war ravaged Somalia and Sudan, repressive Eritrea, and poverty ridden Nigeria and Gambia. All face dangerous, arduous and deadly journeys across land before setting sail for Europe. While migrants are more welcome in better organised Italy than in Greece, the majority also seek to continue their journey to France, Britain, Germany and the Nordic nations. However, the countries where the migrants want to settle are reluctant to accept large numbers of them.

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Eritrean man shot while trying to cross the border from Eritrea to Ethiopia

eritrean man shot by eritrean soldiers

A 20-year-old man from Eritrea is nursing serious leg wounds after being shot twice by people he says were Eritrean soldiers stationed near the border with Ethiopia. "Even after I fell down, I could hear the bullets whizzing past me," Weldab tells me from a clinic bed in Mai-Aini refugee camp in Ethiopia. "I was lucky that I escaped. There were 10 of us in total; I don't know what happened to the rest of my friends."

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Africa in Transition » Eritrea’s Humanitarian Crisis and Mediterranean Migration

Eritrean migrant sits up at the Saint Ludovic border

This is a guest post by Amanda Roth, a former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a recent graduate from the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, where she studied international security policy. According to the International Organization for Migration, 23 percent of the 170,100 refugees that arrived in Italy by sea last year were from Eritrea. In a country of only 6.3 million, the United Nations estimates that approximately five thousand people flee every month. Eritrea has been largely ignored internationally, but increasing numbers of refugees, a growing diaspora community, and the regime’s involvement in instability in the Horn of Africa may mean that it is time to take a closer look at the police state that has been called the “North Korea of Africa.”Earlier this month, the UN released a report illuminating the country’s horrific conditions and accusing the Eritrean government of “systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations.” The report is only the latest to condemn the government of President Isaias Afwerki, who has ruled the country without elections for more than twenty years and exerts control over nearly every aspect of daily life.

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AN ERITREAN Migrant ‘dies in Channel Tunnel train incident’

AN ERITREAN migrant has reportedly died on the French side of the Channel Tunnel after trying to board a moving freight train. The man died after attempting to get on a train at Coquelles, according to firefighters quoted by the daily Le Parisien newspaper. A spokesman for Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel said a suspected migrant was apparently found unconscious at the terminal at around 5am local time. “I understand that the person was pronounced deceased but we haven’t had any official confirmation of that,” he added.“We don’t know what the circumstances are just yet, but obviously this is a very regrettable incident.”

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South Sudan government declares cholera outbreak

Juba, South Sudan - South Sudan's government has declared cholera outbreak in the capital city, where at least 18 people died and 171 cases were confirmed. "After subjecting those [suspected] cases to analysis … we confirm beyond doubt that there is an outbreak of cholera in Juba," Health Minister Dr Riek Gai Kok told journalists in Juba on Tuesday.

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