Monday, March 30, 2015
Sunday, March 29, 2015
The new Yemeni Shia known"Houthis" sent a senior Yemeni delegation to Eritrea. Yemen's Houthis Seek strategic and political allies with Djibouti, Somaliland (Somalia), Sudan and Eritrea. Houthis are minority Shia from the north.
In Search Of A Role
Since it became headline news, President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea has been trying to find a way to entangle himself in the Yemeni crisis, which basically has two dimensions: Internal Yemeni issue and Sunni-Shi’a rivalry. None of that concerns Eritrea, but the security of the Red Sea does.
On November 2014, Isaias Afwerki floated an initiative to discuss the security of the Red Sea with the countries of the region.
Though the Arab countries gave Isaias’ initiative a cold shoulder and politely hushed it, Fasil Gebreselasse, the Eritrean ambassador to Cairo explained that the failure of the initiative was due to the Arab concern about involving Israel in the security of the Red Sea.
In the same month, the Eritrean ambassador told youm7.com that, “the Arab countries rejected Israel’s presence [in the meeting] but it is possible for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Yemen, Djibouti , and Sudan to meet and agree on a mechanism to protect peace and security in the Red Sea, without inviting foreign forces.”
Isaias has primarily invited Egypt and Saudi Arabia but he also sent feelers to several other countries along the Red Sea–none of them was interested.
A diplomat from the region informed Gedab News that the Eritrean president, “either thinks highly of himself or underestimates the Arab leaders to consider brokering any deal between the Arab countries and Israel, a feat countries with leverage failed to achieve.”
Djibouti has an unresolved border issue with Eritrea, and in December 1995, Eritrea and Yemen fought for three days over the Hanish Archipelago which three years later, the International Permanent Court of Arbitration awarded to Yemen. (http://awate.com/)
Eritrea’s Ministry of Information blamed intelligence agencies disguised as independent think tanks and elements of Ethiopia’s Government for running a disinformation campaign against Eritrea.
Monday, March 23, 2015
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Eritrean rebels attack government facility in Asmara - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan
An Eritrean opposition group has reportedly raided a government owned garage facility in the capital Asmara.
Eritrean National Salvation Front (ENSF) in a statement said its armed wing has carried out the attack on Wednesday at the garage located in Qohawta neighbourhood in retaliation to the regime’s oppression against citizens including deny economic rights of the people.
The statement alleged leaders of the country are looting national resources and the regime has intensified repression against civilians living in Asmara particularly at Arbaate Asmera and Tselot neighbourhoods and recently to the people of Adi Keih town.
The statement didn’t disclose if there were causalities from government side following the attack but it admitted one of its fighters have sustained light wounds.
It said its fighters have retreated to their positions safely after destroying a number trucks and other government owned machineries.
The group said necessary preparations were made “to shift its activities and place of operation to confront the regime inside Eritrea.”
The statement said the attacks never intended to target the “helpless” Eritrean army but the regime and anyone who supports it.
Sudan Tribune couldn’t independently verify the group’s attack claims.
In the past, Asmara has repeatedly dismissed such attack claims by rebels operating in neighbouring Ethiopia.
The Eritrean opposition further said the attack was also in response to Eritrean leaders’ arranged deals with foreign companies aimed to exploit the county’s natural resources.
The attacked garage, had been serving to store, service and repair heavy trucks owned by the government’s land transport companies.
The trucks, according to the statement, mainly work at Bisha Gold-copper mine project which is owned by the Eritrean government and the Canadian Nevsun Resources.
The $350 million mine project is the largest foreign investment in Eritrea since the east African nation gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993.
ENSF called on the Eritrean Army to defend the people and protect the rich national resources of the country by standing up against President Issaias Afeworki led regime in Asmara.
The group had in the past carried out cross-border attacks against Asmara regime jointly with other Eritrean rebel groups based in Ethiopia.
The secretive red sea nation is one of the world’s politically repressive countries.
International human right organizations particularly the Human Rights watch has dubbed the country as the North Korea of Africa.
Ethiopian fighter planes bombed the site of Eritrea's Bisha goldmine, reported Al-Sahafa, a leading Sudanese Arab daily in its March 21 edition.
According to the newspaper, heavy plumes of smoke and fire bellowed from the mine located 150 kilometers from the capital city, Asmara.
At $300-$400 in annual earnings, the goldmine is Eritrea's only source of revenue, the newspaper added.
The paper speculated that the raid might have been intended to distract public attention from the upcoming Ethiopian elections.
In related developments, www.sallina.com has reported that Bisha goldmine sustained damages. It did not provide information on the nature or cause.
Reached at its headquarters in Canada, Nevsun Mining Company asked Asmarino.com to contact its local offices in Eritrea directly. They were not available for comment.
Reliable sources from inside Eritrea indicate that the Bisha Gold Mining in Gash Barka and the May‐Edaga Depot are destroyed. The sources further claim that the attack which started at 4:30 am on Friday March 2o,2015 and the huge fire caused thereof lasted well into the middle of the day. The attack is believed to have been carried out either by missile or sabotage by opponents of the regime. President Esayas travelled to the two sites to assess the extent of the damage caused by the attack. Opponents to the regime often accuse the regime to have utilized the huge revenue from the Bisha Gold Mining to bolster its ruthless rule against the people of Eritrea.
Friday, March 20, 2015
he Eritrean government has been linked with “ruthless repression” and systemic human rights violations, including carrying out widespread detention and forcing citizens into indefinite military service, according to the UN’s first inquiry into human rights in the secretive country.
Rights abuses perpetuated by Eritrea’s government, coupled with dismal economic prospects, are driving hundreds of Eritreans out of the country every day, according to an interim report by the UN’s commission of inquiry on human rights in Eritrea.
“Most Eritreans have no hope for their future,” said Mike Smith, chairman of the commission, which was formed in June last year. “National service, whether in a military unit or in a civil assignment, is the only thing that from the age of 17 they can expect to spend their life doing – paid between less than $1 and a maximum of $2 a day.”
Describing Eritrea’s culture of “pervasive state control”, Smith said a network of spies had been created that permeated the basic fabric of everyday life. “A man employed by national security might not know that his daughter is similarly employed,” he said, noting that extra-judicial executions, enforced disappearances and incommunicado detentions were commonplace.
“Is it surprising that, faced with such challenges, Eritreans leave their country in their hundreds every day?”
As of July last year, more than 320,000 Eritreans had fled the country, according to the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). After Syrians, Eritreans are the second most common nationality to arrive on Italian shores.
The UN commission’s interim report, released on Monday, is based on interviews with about 400 people, including government officials, in five different countries. It incorporates 140 written statements relating to human rights abuses in Eritrea.
The commission expressed concern that Eritrea’s government had “so far not cooperated” with its investigation and did not respond to repeated requests to visit the country to carry out research.
But the commission said that Eritrea was making some progress in improving human rights, noting that it had ratified the UN’s convention against torture and promised to reduce national service to 18 months. The commission will deliver its final report on Eritrea’s human rights situation in June.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the interim report showed “that it is essential for Eritrea to remain on the Human Rights Council’s agenda for the foreseeable future”. In the past, HRW has urged the Eritrean government to release political prisoners, let independent monitors into the country, allow independent media and end indefinite national service. HRW said there is no indication of progress on any of these points.
Eritrea has long been regarded as one of the world’s most secretive states, even drawing comparisons with North Korea. It was ranked at the bottom of the 180 countries assessed in Reporters Without Borders’ (RWB) 2015 press freedom index.
“Eritrea systematically violates freedom of expression and information. It is Africa’s biggest prison for journalists, with at least 16 currently detained – some of them held incommunicado for years,” said RWB.
Eritrea’s president, Isaias Afewerki, who has been in power since de facto independence from Ethiopia in 1991, has for decades used the threat of an outbreak of war with Ethiopia as a means of keeping his people under tight authoritarian rule.
In 1998, a brutal border war broke out between Eritrea and Ethiopia, killing an estimated 70,000 people on both sides. Despite agreeing to a new border under the 2000 Algiers agreement, which ended the conflict, Eritrea claims that Ethiopian forces continue to occupy positions in its territory.
The ensuing military stalemate between the two sides has led Eritrea to adopt a “no war, no peace” position with Ethiopia, according to the commission. “It is an expression abusively used by the Eritrean authorities to disregard international human rights law as if Eritrea was in a legal limbo,” Smith said.
Accusations that Eritrea was supporting the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab ledthe UN security council to impose an arms embargo on the country in 2009. The UN also levied asset freezes and travel bans on some officials.
Human rights activists are pushing for tighter sanctions against key figures in Eritrea’s government, saying they continue to commit crimes against humanity under the guise of protecting the country from Ethiopian aggression.
“If the UN inquiry concludes there is a situation of crimes against humanity in Eritrea, which I very much hope it will do, then we can say the international community is duty bound to respond with actions commensurate to that of crimes against humanity,” said Daniel Mekonnen of the Eritrean Law Society, who added that he is hoping Eritrean leaders would be referred to the International Criminal Court.
The Eritrean government responded to the UN’s inquiry by criticising its reporting methods. Tesfamicael Gerahtu, an Eritrean diplomat, said: “My delegation is dismayed at the protracted reliance on unreliable, unproven and sensational information and interactions. Preconceived ideas and conclusions on Eritrea have become rampant.”
Leslie Lefkow, HRW’s Africa director, said: “The [Eritrean] government’s refusal to cooperate with human rights investigators is symbolic of its broader rejection of essential human rights reforms. Until that stance changes it is impossible to have meaningful impact on the domestic crisis and the massive exodus of Eritreans provoked by the dire human rights situation.”