Saturday, February 4, 2017

Switzerland toughens up rules for Eritrean asylum seekers - The Local

Switzerland toughens up rules for Eritrean asylum seekersSwitzerland toughens up rules for Eritrean asylum seekers - The Local: "Switzerland toughens up rules for Eritrean asylum seekers AFP/The Local news@thelocal.ch 3 February 2017 08:34 CET+01:00 eritrearefugeesasylum Share this article Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP Switzerland has slammed shut its open-door policy toward Eritreans which had automatically granted them refugee status. In announcing its decision on Thursday, the Swiss federal administrative court in St Gallen said the lax policy was unjustified. It had also been criticized by several Swiss politicians who claimed it was being abused.   To qualify as a refugee upon arrival in Switzerland, Eritreans simply needed to say that they had left their country "illegally".   That description could feasibly apply to anyone who flees the Horn of Africa nation, where an autocratic government enforces universal military conscription and requires citizens to secure exit visas before travel, which are rarely given out.   After a review of the policy, the court ruled that "the illegal exit from (Eritrea) cannot in itself justify recognition as a refugee".   The court cited several cases where Eritreans had been granted asylum in Switzerland but later returned to Eritrea for short visits.   According to the court, those cases proved that Eritreans who left their country illegally were not necessarily subject to mistreatment upon their return, undermining their claim to asylum.   In June, a UN-backed investigation said the Asmara regime led by president Isaias Afwerki's had "enslaved" 400,000 people.   The United Nations had also previously reported that 5,000 Eritreans risk their lives each month to flee the nation where army conscription can last decades.   Eritreans topped the list of asylum seekers in Switzerland last year, with 5,178 requests lodged, according to the Swiss migration office. More than 42 percent of them were granted asylum.    Eritreans are the largest diaspora of refugees in Switzerland, at around 34,500.   The federal court ruling, which was made on Monday but publicly released on Thursday, cannot be appealed."



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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ethiopian regime "Averting the attention of the Eritrean people" Walta Information Center

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Sun, Jan 22, 2017Gemech Tussa




Many scholars argue that “one can choose a friend but can’t choose a neighbor.” Ethiopia though it managed to establish a good rapport with all of its neighboring countries and other countries in the world, its relationship with Eritrea remained hostile.  This is because the state in Asmara has been exerting unreserved efforts not only to destabilize Ethiopia but also the entire Horn Region.
According to available documents the  Eritrean government has either direct or indirect engagement in any of the terrorist activities and havocs in the Horn of Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular.
Besides, its aggression against Yemen, Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti as well as its participation in the terrorist activities in Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia alienated it not only from most countries in the continent but also from the international community.
In its efforts to conquer parts of these countries, it faced a huge lose of life and destruction of property.   However, the officials of the Eritrean government couldn’t learn from their mistakes. Rather, they persisted in destabilizing countries in the region.
Available documents indicated the battle between Eritrea and Ethiopia, happened as the Eritrean Government broke international law and triggered the conflict by invading Ethiopia’s territory, which was held from June 1998 to May 2000 in which the Eritrean army was hit catastrophically.
A number of political analysts argued that Eritrea wouldn’t step for another similar action on other neighboring countries following the catastrophic war with Ethiopia.  Even the international community believed that the State in Asmara could take lessons and would restrain from its aggressive and provocative actions.  
Despite such Eritrean provocative actions, Ethiopia preferred to be patient and solve issues peacefully. This is because the country had identified poverty as its arch foe it didn’t want to engage in conflicts.
Neither does it need to have any dispute with neighboring countries so that it could achieve its major agenda; alleviating  poverty and ensuring sustainable economic development.
But one can’t choose a neighbor. There is no end to the aggressive actions of the state in Asmara.  It seemed hard for Issayas and his advocates to learn from past experiences and mistakes.
In the contrary, it strengthened its destabilizing activities in the Horn Region through terrorist activities. Its ill actions continued in South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.
It has never ceased its proxy war and terrorist actions.  The state in Eritrea  either directly participates in any chaos in African countries or indirectly contributes for such destructions.
It supports some opposition political parties in other countries, plot terrorist activities, train terrorist groups and supply all the necessary logistics to destabilizing the peace and jeopardize the development  of countries like Ethiopia.
The United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea previously reported that Al-Shabab and ONLF and Ginbot 7 formed a logistical cooperation as Eritrean supports them.  It revealed that Eritrea has continued providing logistical and financial support to these terrorist groups. 
The United Nations report also claims that Eritrea has sent 80,000 USD per month to al Shabaab through the Eritrean Embassy in Nairobi for the past two decades.
Eritrea’s terrorist action never ceased. Some of the failed terrorist actions previously exerted on Ethiopia includes the plan to destroy the Tekeze Hydro-Power Dam, the attempt to burn Addis Ababa while all African Head of States were in Ethiopia for African Union Summit and its persistent support of the terrorist groups including al-Shabab, ONLF, OLF and Ginbot 7. Issayas has also been participating in destabilizing Somalia. It has allotted a lot of money to al-shabab.  
Al-Shabab is still fully supported by the state in Asmara. Every terrorist activity in the Horn Region has either direct or indirect engagement of the Eritrean State. It is festering why the Eritrean State focuses on such terrorist activities than working towards poverty alleviation so us to help its suffering people win their daily bread.
The Eritrean state has also strong connections with other terrorist groups like Boko Haram and the IS. As it is a terrorist state, all of the Eritrean wealth is allotted to terrorist activities. There is only a little money that goes to public benefits.
While the Eritrean people were suffering of winning their daily bread, the government allocated a large amount of money to attack other countries.  
The government allotted a huge budget to terrorist groups to poison peace in the Horn Region but the people of Eritrea have been suffering of hunger and poverty; lack of health care and educations as well as shortage of potable water.
The United Nations Security Council imposed an arms embargo, severe travel restrictions and an asset freezing on the Eritrean military leaders, politicians because it ascertained that the Eritrean Government has been supporting the terrorist group in Somalia. Besides, the Eritrean government has infested its diplomatic relations with Ugamda and Kenya as they were participating in fighting al-Shabab under the auspice of the African Union.
Due to all the aforementioned reasons Issayas and his advocates never think of peace. They usually think of destabilizing the region in order to elongate their stay in power. This is to avert the attention of the Eritrean people and the international community away from the worst thing happening in Eritrea.  All these are emanated from the need to cover the ill internal situations and the deteriorating socio economic condition.
The country is now in a critical situation. Its citizens have been immigrating to western countries and to the neighboring countries: Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen and Kenya. But the governments interest is on terrorist actions ignoring the very need of the Eritrean people.
For instance, there are more than 170 thousand Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia. This is the result of the aggressive and provocative nature of Issayas and his advocates.  The people of Eritrea have been crying for help throughout the past two decades requesting the international community to lend them a hand. However, the state in Asmara has been working against the need of the Eritrean people, neighboring people and the international community.  In a need to avert the deteriorating socio-economi and political situations in his country, Issayas and his advocates have been attempting to strengthen terrorism in the Horn Region.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Eritrean Journalists Who Have Been Languishing in an Unknown Ethiopian Prison

January 6.2017. Open letter to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Eritrean journalists who have been languishing in an unknown Ethiopian prison
Your Excellency,
I am writing to you on behalf of Tesfaledet Kidane Tesfazghi and his colleague, Saleh Idris Gama, Eritrean nationals who have been languishing in an unknown Ethiopian prison since the beginning of 2007.
Eritrean journalists Tesfalidet Kidane Tesfazghi and Saleh Idris Gama have been held in custody without charge since they were captured in Kenya in December 2006, and transferred to Ethiopia from Somalia at the beginning of 2007. These men are professional journalists sent to Somalia for routine TV reporting by Eritrean Television (Eri-TV). They were not combatants or involved in any espionage or illegal activities.
I am aware that your country is proud of its concern for human rights and its record in such matters, which it confirmed by signing and ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1993. As you are aware, Article 9 of this Covenant guarantees that no one should be arrested or deprived of their liberty except in accordance with legally established procedures; and that those arrested must be brought before a judge and are “entitled to a legal trial within a reasonable time, or otherwise to be released”.
In September 2011, the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi promised that the journalists would be freed if the investigation determined they had not been involved in any acts of espionage. Five years have elapsed since this announcement. I am sure you will agree that more than “a reasonable time” has passed without such a trial. But the two Eritrean detainees have neither had their cases heard in court, nor have they been released or repatriated.
The only occasions on which we have heard any news about these individuals were in April 2007 from the Ethiopian mass media and in September 2011, from the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, in a press conference with exiled Eritrean journalists in Addis Ababa (interview video timeline 40:26 – 43:37). The present conditions, location and legal status of these journalists are not known to their immediate families and relatives, who are exceptionally concerned about their wellbeing. In addition to this very real concern, may I mention that the families of the two detainees have had no contact with them for a decade.
Tesfalidet’s family miss him very much, but they have recently sustained the shock of several deaths within their close family circle: both his parents and his sister have died whilst he has been in detention. Saleh has 3 sons and a daughter who have not seen their father for 10 years. It would be particularly welcome for them to receive the good news of the release of Tesfaledet and Saleh at this time. Is it possible that you personally could take the initiative to make this good news happen?
In view of your country’s concern for justice, as witnessed by the ratification of the ICCPR, may I request most fervently that you undertake an urgent review of the cases of the two detainees mentioned above and make every possible effort to secure their immediate release?
Yours respectfully,
Elizabeth Chyurm
Director
Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE)
hrc.eritrea2001@gmail.com
www.hrc-eritrea.org

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Can France hold corrupt African leaders to account? Inside Story -

Seeking Tranquility Around the Red Sea by boosting Eritrean port

The rationale behind the GCC's interest in northeast Africa is fairly straightforward: Gulf states are compelled to improve their relationships with northeastern African countries for security purposes. Installing bases in and enhancing military ties with African countries gives Gulf states an added layer of protection against conventional military attacks. (In fact, the United Arab Emirates has already begun to develop military installations in Eritrea.) The conflict in Yemen also gives Gulf states a reason to more closely monitor Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia, which have little control over the arms and people that pass through them destined for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, among other countries. Another concern is that if Gulf States — which are, of course, Sunni — do not reach out to these African countries, then Iran, their Shiite rival, will.
The GCC is also interested in northeastern Africa for its agriculture. From across the Red Sea, Arab states see stretches of arable land that could feed their people as well as the large workforce needed to farm that land. To that end, Saudi Arabia has prioritized agricultural investment in the region. The Saudi government has funded Sudanese agriculture projects for some time, particularly ones focused on fruits, vegetables and livestock. Saudi officials also recently visited Ethiopia specifically to discuss livestock investment. And at a May 2015 forum in Abu Dhabi, Sudanese and Emirati officials discussed nearly tripling existing Emirati investment into Sudanese projects, many of them agricultural. (Qatar, too, has recently invested heavily in Sudan's agricultural and tourism sectors.)
So far, the GCC's strategy has been relatively successful. While Sudan and Saudi Arabia have long had a healthy economic relationship, Sudan tended to patronize Iran for its security needs. But that is no longer the case. After the conflict in Yemen started, Saudi Arabia was able to convince Sudan to join its coalition. In doing so, Saudi Arabia received additional troops and, more important, disrupted Iran's smuggling operations along the Sudanese coast. Similarly, the United Arab Emirates has plucked Eritrea out of Iran's sphere of influence and has placed it firmly in its own.
Gulf states have thus created a loose alliance structure in northeastern Africa, strengthening themselves and weakening their opponents. And though there is a chance of conflict in any alliance, especially in one constituted by countries with such divergent interests, there is also the possibility, however remote, of tranquility. After all, if the GCC can convince Egypt and Ethiopia that the economic benefits of peace outweigh the causes of conflict, the alliance could create a semblance of stability. Either way, the GCC is unlikely to stray from its strategy in the region.