Thursday, November 27, 2014

Denmark tightens restrictions on Eritreans - The Local

Denmark tightens restrictions on Eritreans

The Danish Immigration Service spent over two weeks in Eritrea on a fact finding mission. Photo:David Stanley/Flickr

A massive increase in refugees from Eritrea earlier this year led Denmark to put a halt to asylum for Eritreans until the Danish Immigration Service (Udlændingestyrelsen) could evaluate the reason for the sharp uptick. 
The results of the Immigration Service’s investigation have now been delivered to the Justice Ministry and Eritreans will once again be eligible for asylum in Denmark – but under much tougher criteria than before. 
The Justice Ministry said in a press release on Tuesday that Eritreans will no longer be automatically granted asylum if they came to Denmark to flee their home country’s authoritarian rule and compulsory military service. 
Instead, Eritreans will need to show that they face a personal threat in order to be granted asylum in Denmark. 
The UN reported in 2013 that Eritreans subject to conscription into national service risked retribution and even possible death if they fled the country. But the Immigration Service’s three-week fact finding mission concluded that an alleged shoot-to-kill policy targeting Eritreans who illegally leave the country “might have been party true previously but … people are no longer being shot at just because they try to cross the border into Ethiopia”. 
Immigration Service also said that international reports of up to 10,000 political prisoners in Eritrea “is difficult to harmonize with the reality on the ground”. 
The extensive fact finding report indicates that the human rights situation in Eritrea may not be as bad as rumoured, thus Denmark will no longer give blanket asylum to Eritreans. 
“The report gives new and relevant information on the asylum situation in relation to Eritrea. The report shows that there was a need for updated information and that it was necessary for Immigration Service to carry out a fact finding mission,” Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen said. 
Frederiksen wouldn’t comment directly on what would happen to the some 1,400 Eritreans who have been waiting in Danish asylum centres for their cases to be processed. 
“As justice minister, I don’t have the competence to rule on concrete asylum cases. At the end of the day it will be Flygtningenævnet [the Danish Refugee Appeals Board, ed.] that will apply the meaning of this new information on Eritrea to the actual asylum cases,” Frederiksen said. 
Throughout the first quarter of 2014, roughly ten Eritrean asylum seekers arrived in Denmark each month. In July, that number jumped to 510, leading the then justice minister, Karen Hækkerup, to put asylum for Eritreans on hold pending the Immigration Service’s findings. 
According to Politiken, Eritreans make up the second-largest group of refugees in Denmark this year behind Syrians. 
The Danish Immigration Service's fact finding report on Eritrea is available here (in English)
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Eritreans 'fleeing conscription drive' for Ethiopia in 37 days 6000 fleed- UNHCR

Eritrean Army parades during the country's independence anniversary celebrations attended by a 13,000-strong crowd 24 May 2003, at Asmara main squareEritrea's army fought a border with Ethiopia more than a decade ago

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A renewed conscription drive in Eritrea has led to a sharp increase in the number of youths fleeing to neighbouring Ethiopia, a UN refugee agency spokeswoman has told the BBC.
More than 6,000 Eritreans had claimed asylum in Ethiopia in the past 37 days, double the rate seen in previous months, Karin de Gruijl said.
There has also been a rise in the number of Eritreans reaching Italy.
Eritrea says conscription is needed because of tension with Ethiopia.
About 100,000 people died in the 1998-2000 border war between the two countries.
Eritrea became independent after breaking away from Ethiopia.
The refugees, most of whom were between 18 and 24 years old, reported an "intensification" of efforts to conscript them into the army, Ms De Gruijl told the BBC's Newsday programme.
"We know that officially national services are for about four and a half years but quite often they're open-ended," she said.
"This intensification of recruitment has sparked fear among young people in this age group who don't want to have this perspective of not knowing how long they will have to serve."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

6,200 Eritreans cross into Ethiopia in 37 days: UNHCR

6,200 Eritreans cross into Ethiopia in 37 days: UNHCR

According to a UNHCR report last July, there are a total of 629,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Ethiopia.

Over 6,200 Eritreans have crossed into Ethiopia over the past 37 days, an official with the UN refugee agency said Monday.
"More than 5,000 Eritrean asylum seekers crossed into the Ethiopian territory in October alone," spokesperson for the UNHCR office in Ethiopia Kisut Gebregziabher told Anadolu Agency.
"In the first week of November, more than 1,200 Eritreans have arrived in Ethiopia," he added.
Among those who managed to cross into Ethiopia, he said, were some 78 children.
According to a UNHCR report last July, there are a total of 629,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Ethiopia.
Some 99,000 of them are Eritreans. Most of them fled their country due to oppression and forced military service, Gebregziabher told AA earlier. 
Eritrea and Ethiopia used to be a single country, but a 1993 referendum saw Eritreans vote for independence.
Tension between Addis Ababa and Asmara and has persisted since a bloody two-year border war, in which tens of thousands were killed, ended in 2000.
There are four refugee camps in northern Ethiopia's Tigray Regional State that cater to Eritrean refugees: Shimelba (set up in 2004), May Ayni (2008), Adiharush (2010) and Hitsats (2013).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

UN Security Council Monitoring Group Report on Eritrea


Pete Souza/White House

Pete Souza/White House
The UN Security Council has released its 116 page Monitoring Group report on Eritrea dated 13 October 2014.
The Monitoring Group found no evidence of Eritrean support to al-Shabaab during the reporting period. It did not, however, rule out the possibility that Eritrea may have provided some asistance to elements within al-Shabaab without detection. In any event, Eritrea is a marginal actor in Somalia.
Eritrea continued to violate a UN resolution by importing weapons and ammunition from eastern Sudan on a regular basis and with the knowledge and direction of Eritrean officials affiliated with the President’s Office.
The Monitoring Group could not substantiate or confirm allegations made by the government of South Sudan that Eritrea had violated a UN resolution by providing military and logistical support to armed rebel groups in South Sudan.
Eritrean support for regional armed groups continued to be linked primarily to the larger context of Ethiopian-Eritrean rivalry in the Horn of Africa, the unsettled border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the way in which that rivalry shapes Eritrean foreign policy. There is evidence that Eritrea supports the Ogaden National Liberation Front, the Tigray People’s Democratic Movement, and Ginbot Seven.
It is the assessment of the Monitoring Group that senior Eritrean officials continue to collect millions of dollars per year through unofficial revenues by means of private business arrangements involving PFDJ-run companies domestically and abroad.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Eritrean mother lives on €300 a month - 'I can't afford to send my children to school' - The Malta Independent

26-year-old Semihar and her three children live in a room the size of an average living room, equipped with the bare minimum necessities. The room is in a deteriorating state- there's peeling paint on the ceiling, broken tiles and doorways. The stench is almost unbearable. The sink in the toilet is hardly large enough to wash your hands, let alone a baby. Bugs walk leisurely on the plates of food, placed on the small fridge, near the sofa.  The building in Msida is a property belonging to the church, which had been left abandoned for several years.
Semihar, from Eritrea, arrived in Malta from Sudan in 2012. The journey was rough. First she crossed the desert and then she crossed the Mediterranean Sea by boat.  "The storm during the trip was terrifying, but Sudan was no place to live, there's no peace," she says, in an interview with The Malta Independent.
Semihar was only eight when her mother passed away. Her father remarried, but his new wife did not get along with her step children. So Semihar decided to leave with her two children, one aged four, and the other eight. Upon her arrival in Malta, she was placed at the detention centre for twelve days, and then moved to the tent village in Hal Far. It was there she became pregnant with her third child. "Bringing up the children at Hal Far was very challenging - the weather, the facilities, it's no home."  While at the tent village, children played on the dirty floors, water gathered in the gutters. Hundreds of individuals shared a bathroom and a kitchen, with sinks often clogged or overflowing.
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When she moved into the room in Msida, the room had no stove fridge or washing machine but volunteers at Help the Children at Hal Far helped her out. Maltese people donate clothes for Semihar's children. The Eritrean woman gets €300 allowance a month for herself and her children. But to be eligible for the allowance, she needs to travel to Floriana three times a week to sign papers, proving she's unemployed. The bus ride for herself and her children already takes up a sixth of her monthly allowance.

Semihar has no family in Malta; both her siblings are now living in Sweden, after fleeing Sudan. "I have no husband, no family, but I am grateful for the Maltese volunteers at Hal Far, who truly help us out. I would work if I could, but I need to look after the children. I wanted them to go to school, but I have no money to buy their uniforms or other materials they require."
"I am being forced to move out from Msida in January, and start looking for my own place. But the €300 allowance would barely cover the rent. I would need to leave this country, and try to start a life for my family. My sister is in Sweden, she can help out. I miss my family every day, and to make things worse, I have no friends here," she says.
Semihar and her family are under subsidiary protection, which means she is granted a residence permit, free state education until the age of 16, access to health care and a work permit. Residency and work permits need to be renewed each year.
Those interested in helping Semihar can contact the organisation Help the Children at Hal Far.
Video and photo Paul Jones

Sunridge Gold reports fieldwork proceeding apace in Eritrea

TORONTO ( – Canadian projectdeveloper Sunridge Gold, which is developing the Asmaracopper/zinc/gold/silver project, in Eritrea, in the Horn ofAfrica, says fieldwork is proceeding apace on several fronts.
The Asmara project consists of six defined deposits, four of which are the subject of a feasibility study, completed in May 2013, and are in the permitting process.
Sunridge reported on Wednesday that work was currently focused on the two ‘pipeline’ deposits on the Asmara project – the Kodadu volcanogenic-massive-sulphide (VMS) deposit and the Adi Rassi copper/gold deposit – to define new areas of mineralisation and direct additional expansion drilling planned for next year.
Both deposits had inferred mineral resources and were open for expansion.
At Kodadu, Sunridge was busy with channel and trench sampling of the VMSgold oxide and gold shear zones at surface. It was also undertaking detailed geological and structural mapping over the current VMS resource and the goldshear zone that was recently identified to the west.
The team was also conducting geophysical work consisting of an audi-magneto-telluric (AMT) survey to define the massive sulphide at depth below the known VMS gossans exposed at surface, as well as other identified VMS-style targets to the north-east, which both showed high gravity anomalies and strong electromagnetic conductors.
At Adi Rassi, Sunridge was progressing with detailed geological and structural mapping at 1:500 scale and trenching and channel sampling of outcropping mineralisation to the south of the existing resource.
The geological team was also undertaking AMT survey lines to define the VMS-style mineralisation to the west of Adi Rassi.
Meanwhile, Sunridge reported that early development work to build an abstraction weir on the nearby Mai Bela river, which would provide water to the centralised processing facility near the large Emba Derho deposit, was currently proceeding with geotechnical fieldwork involving geotechnical and geological mapping, geotechnical sample collection for laboratory testing and surveying of an access road and staging area.
The Asmara Mining Share Corporation (AMSC) holds the Asmara project, a joint venture (JV) company in which Sunridge has a 60% stake and the Eritrean National Mining Company owns 40%.
The JV was last month formalised and was focused on rapidly pushing theproject toward the first phase of production next year.
The Asmara project has demonstrated that mining the four advanced deposits – Emba Derho, Adi Nefas, Gupo Gold and Debarwa –  and processing the ore near the large Emba Derho deposit, was economically robust, with a net present value of $692-million.
Average yearly metal output in the first eight years is estimated at 65-million pounds (29 000 t) of copper, 184-million pounds (83 000 t) of zinc, 42 000 oz ofgold and one-million ounces of silver.
Total metal production is estimated at 841-million pounds (381 000 t) of copper, 1.874-billion pounds (850 000 t) of zinc, 436 000 oz of gold and 11-million ounces of silver.
The project has a life-of-mine of 15.3 years. The feasibility study had indicated that full production at Asmara could be achieved by 2018. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

19 Ethiopian Aliens Arrested In Kenya - Citizen News

19 Ethiopian Aliens Arrested In Kenya
Police in Kirinyaga have today arrested 19 aliens of Ethiopian origin at the Mwea Makutano junction.

According to sources,the aliens who are being held at Sagana Police Station cannot speak English or Swahili.
While addressing the press, Mwea West Sub County Police Boss Paul Odede said that the driver was a Kenyan .
Odede added that stern action will be taken against Kenyan drivers who are caught transporting aliens along the road.
This comes just a few days after twelve other Ethiopians were arrested hiding in a house at Kahawa area.
It is reported that some unscrupulous Kenyans are now doing lucrative business of helping aliens especially from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia to enter the country illegally.
There has been an influx of Ethiopian aliens into the country who later head to South Africa in search of employment.
The Kenyan authorities are however blaming the vastness of the region for the influx of foreigners into Kenya through Moyale on Kenya-Ethiopia borders.
They added that the huge supply of labour both skilled and unskilled makes them vulnerable to criminal syndicates.
By Rehema Juma.