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Tag Archives: human right

The brutal dictatorship the world keeps ignoring

WOn Monday, the United Nations released the results of a year-long investigation into human rights in Eritrea. What it found was horrific. Detailing "systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations," the U.N. commission of inquiry argued that Eritrea was operating a totalitarian government with no accountability and no rule of law.

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Eritrea at the Center of Europe’s ‘Clandestine’ Migration Crisis

How do you solve a problem like Eritrea? The European debate on migration in the Mediterranean has taken precedence because of the increasing number of deaths of those attempting to cross. Many more will attempt to reach Sicily from Libya as the weather improves over the spring and summer, the busiest seasons of the year because of the calmer and presumably safer waters. As the debate about how to manage the inevitable surge of boatloads of refugees has focused on renewing the so-called ‘Mare Nostrum’ policy of sending European patrols closer to the Libyan coast, there is an element of analysis that continues to be missing. It concerns the causes of such risky migration in the first place. Why do so many men and women risk their lives and those of their families in making a trip with effectively limited chances of success? There is an apparent determination to shun an analysis of what is happening and what can be done in the country from where the overwhelming majority of these refugees originate: Eritrea. Indeed, all the corpses found during the night after the shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa last week were Eritrean. A whole generation of youth have been forced to leave their country, oppressed by the dictatorship.According to United Nations estimates, about 4,000 people escape from this small country in the Horn of Africa every month. Last year alone, nearly 10,000 arrived in Italy. Many are lost during the trip; about a hundred people a day flee from Eritrea through the Sudan. Those who are caught early get arrested because they lack papers; others die in the Sahara desert as they make their way toward the Libyan coast from the south, some may even fall prey to organ traffickers. Eritrea has earned the reputation of a country with a poor human rights record. The grave violations of human rights include arbitrary detention of those perceived to be political enemies, including opposition members (who have to operate in secret), journalists, and even former allies of president – or rather dictator – Isaias Afewerki.

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Eritrea: Africa’s land of exodus

Eritrea is the world's most censored country according to a new list released by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Thousands of Eritreans flee to Europe to escape torture and arbitrary arrests.Mohammed Idris speaks softly as he vividly recalls his journey a year ago. It took him from Eritrea to Europe. "In Libya, it was very hard. I even had to spend a month in prison," says the Eritrean. Then he ventured the crossing to Europe. "We boarded a boat and went across the Mediterranean to Italy." Unlike many others, Mohammed Idris made it to Germany. Each year, thousands of Eritreans flee the Horn of Africa nation. According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, over 300,000 Eritreans fled the nation of 6.5 million inhabitants last year. It's not just the men, but also many women and their children who risk everything to take the perilous journey across the desert and into the Mediterranean. "The majority of them are very young," Mussie Zerai, a Catholic priest who fled to Italy from Eritrea more than 20 years ago, told DW in an interview.

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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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