Friday, May 29, 2015

Paris leaders want fast expulsion of migrants from tent camp - The Washington Post

 May 28

PARIS — In the shadow of the famed Sacre Coeur basilica, hundreds of migrants have poured into a makeshift tent camp on a bridge over Eurostar train tracks to Britain — the country that many see as a cherished final destination.
After many agonizing journeys, the mostly East African migrants find themselves in limbo. Local leaders, fed up with the sordid eyesore looming over Gare du Nord train station, are calling for the migrants to be moved as early as next month to more decent shelter. But trapped between French bureaucracy and politics, the bridge-dwellers simply have nowhere else to go.
On site, many migrants say this was not the Europe they expected. They lament the loud rumble of subway trains, the stench of urine and how “even in Africa” they didn’t have to sleep outdoors. They say they were better fed, clothed and housed in countries like Italy — the main European landing point after a perilous Mediterranean crossing — which is far more burdened by the migrant inflows than France.
Few know who provided the tents; the city set up portable toilets, and municipal crews sweep and power-spray the area regularly. Some migrants say they wash in public showers. They idly smoke cigarettes, hang jeans to dry on the rail of a nearby park or brush their teeth and spit into a trash-strewn ditch near a bridge pillar. Hulking buses sit parked across the street, waiting to pick up tourists seeing Paris’ sites.
Almaz Tekeste says she has lived in the camp for two months while waiting for her asylum application to be processed. The 45-year-old native of Asmara, Eritrea says she fled after being jailed at home last year over her Pentecostal religious beliefs. One of the few women in the camp, she says male migrants on two occasions invaded her tent “looking for sex.” She cried, yelled, and then some “good men” intervened, causing the intruders to flee.
France, like many other rich countries, has faced a dilemma in the burgeoning global flow of migrants fleeing war, poverty or persecution — from Rohingya Muslims drifting in the Straits of Malacca to Africans drowning in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe.
In a densely populated city, where large unoccupied spaces are rare, the football field-sized patch near Paris’ La Chapelle metro station has seen various waves of migration over the years, including Kurds and Afghans. In the last year, it’s been migrants from Horn of Africa traveling via Sudan and Libya on an often-perilous journey to Europe. Many stay a few days, some for months.
The camp has swollen in the last several weeks: Authorities cite either the flow from a recent surge of crossings to Italy, or a retreat by those expelled by police from Calais, the French city on the English Channel seen by many migrants as a springboard into Britain.
Remi Feraud, who heads the 10th arrondissement, or district, of Paris, said authorities have quietly tried for months to find a better place for the migrants. But after the recent swell, he and other local leaders want to step up the pace and are breaking their silence — hoping to press the government of President Francois Hollande, a fellow Socialist, into finding a solution.
Feraud said he regretted not going public earlier about the migrants’ plight.
“Evacuating them without re-housing them gives way to a cat-and-mouse game,” he said in an interview at Paris city hall. He said his constituents who live near the site are tolerant, but added: “People aren’t stupid. They know that if the camp is dismantled and there’s no lodging, it will reconstitute in one form or another in the same neighborhood.”
The Interior Ministry is working to resolve the issue, and Paris police are taking a wait-and-see approach, officials said.
France Terre d’Asile, an advocacy group for asylum-seekers, has estimated about 340 migrants are at the camp, mainly from Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia — some packed three or four to a tent. Group director-general Pierre Henry said about a third are eligible for asylum status, while the others were passing through on way to places like Germany, the Nordic countries or Britain.
“It’s a question of dignity: You can’t leave people in such conditions,” Henry said, criticizing the slow response by authorities. “It would have been much easier to deal with six months ago.”
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Afar rebels call for unity of Eritrean opposition groups - Sudan Tribune

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
May 24, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) - An Eritrean opposition group on Saturday called on other exiled opposition organization for a more unified military action to depose the regime og president Isaias Afewerki.
JPEG - 35.7 kb
Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (arhotabba)
The Ethiopian based Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO), made his call for opposition unity one day ahead of the Eritrean nation sets to celebrate the 24th Independence Day anniversary.
RSADO chairman, Ibrahim Haroun, told Sudan Tribune that although the country secured independence in a hard owned struggle, the government however never guaranteed democratic rights of the Eritrean people.
Haroun said the regime instead ignored the long war of liberation aimed to produce a unified Eritrea and favoured to establish a one-party state by destroying all other opposition parties forcing them to exile.
The opposition leader accused the Eritrean leader Afeworki of dividing unity of the nation and nationalities of the people in order to secure grip on power.
The Eritrean president had been in power since 1991, when the country gained independence from Ethiopia after 30 years of freedom for struggle.
However, the Red Sea nation-under Isaias-rule had never conducted election since independence nor did it implemented the constitution ratified in 1997.
Last year, during the 23thd Independence Day anniversary the Eritrean president pledged to draft a new constitution however that has never happened.
The rebel leader, Haroun says the game being played by the president is enough and it is about all opposition forces as well as the Eritrean Army to join a planned wider military strike to topple the regime and build a new democratic Eritrea.
Haroun called on regional actors and on the international community to support the Afar rebel movement and put pressure on the regime to stop human right violations including ethnic cleansing against Afar minorities.
Considered militarily stronger than the other exiled Eritrean opposition groups, RSADO vows to intensify attacks against the Eritrean regime.
Meanwhile some 4,000 Eritrean refugees residing at camps in Ethiopia’s Afar regional state town’s of Asayta and Berahle Camps on Saturday rallied in protest to the ongoing oppression in Eritrean against Eritreans.
They called on the international community to intervene to stop the human right violations in the Red Sea nation.

Military Parade - Eritrean Independence Day 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Eritrean diplomat seeks asylum in Ethiopia | News24

Eritrean diplomat seeks asylum in Ethiopia

2015-05-13 21:25
Addis Ababa - An Eritrean diplomat from the Red Sea state's mission to the African Union is seeking asylum in Ethiopia, state-run media said, citing rights abuses at home.
Mohammed Idris, a member of the ruling People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), had served with Eritrea's diplomatic mission in Addis Ababa for the past five years, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) said in a report.
"A people that for a long time fought for justice and freedom are now being subjected to injustice," Mohammed told the outlet on Tuesday. "This forced me to take this decision."
Rights groups and critics accuse Eritrea of rights abuses, including imposing indefinite military service with poor pay. Many of those fleeing the country, which won independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year war, say they are escaping conscription.
Eritrean officials could not immediately be reached to comment on the case of Idris. But the government in Asmara routinely denies charges of rights abuses and has in the past blamed lengthy military service on an unresolved border dispute with Ethiopia.
In February, an interim report of a UN inquiry said Eritrea was ignoring human rights laws and exerting pervasive state control and ruthless repression on its population.
Humanitarian groups say Eritreans make up the second-largest group of migrants to reach Italy by boat after Syrians, often braving the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean on rickety, overcrowded boats that claimed around 3 000 lives last year.
The war between Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1998 to 2000 killed more than 70 000, analysts say.
Eritrea wants Ethiopia to pull its troops out from disputed territory before normalising ties, citing a decision by a Hague-based boundary commission which awarded the village of Badme to Eritrea in 2002. Ethiopia says the row over border demarcation can only be resolved through a negotiated settlement.

Israel decides to deport refugees from Eritrea and Sudan to Uganda or Rwanda | Diplomat News Network

 MAY 16TH, 2015
Eritrean and Sudanese refugees in Israel

Eritrean and Sudanese refugees in Israel
Tel Aviv ,Israel ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – The Be’er Sheva District Court has dismissed a petition by human rights groups against the deportation of asylum seekers and the imprisonment of other migrants who refuse to leave Israel.
Israeli Authorities have issued notices to roughly 45,000 Eritrean and Sudanese refugees informing them within 30 days if they do not accept their offer of $3500 and a one way ticket back home or to another African region, they will go to jail and face an indefinite stay in Saharonim Prison.
While the majority of refugees who take this dangerous journey are fleeing circumstances in which many have faced ill-treatment, violence and abuse from the countries they have fled, Israel claims taking these measures will serve to save lives.
Before the weekend, Judge Eliahu Bitan ruled that the petition was premature because the state had not yet jailed asylum seekers who have received deportation notices.
He was ruling on the cases of the two asylum seekers mentioned in the petition — he refused to address the matter of all asylum seekers that the Population and Immigration Authority has ordered to leave the country.
The state successfully argued that legal steps were premature because a decision had not yet been made to imprison the two asylum seekers, who are from Eritrea and Sudan and are to be deported to Uganda and Rwanda.
“I do not see room for discussing an application involving all the relevant infiltrators,” Bitan wrote. “The state’s authority to deport infiltrators, who for various reasons cannot be returned to their own countries, to a third country that meets certain conditions is not in dispute.”
According to Bitan, the petition “lacks essential details and is too general” to apply it to all asylum seekers in question.
According to the petition, deportation endangers the asylum seekers, and “the countries to which these people have been sent so far are not a destination where asylum seekers can remain or live securely while receiving their basic rights.”
An attorney for the state, Orit Kratz, told the court she wanted the petitioners summoned to a hearing 30 business days after receiving deportation notices. There they would be able to state their case before a decision on their future was made.
But here the judge agreed with the petitioners that the asylum seekers should receive more than 30 business days. They would need time to find a lawyer, file their case in court and have a date set for a preliminary hearing, he said.
The petition was filed by the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the African Refugee Development Center, Physicians for Human Rights, Kav La’oved and the Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel.
The petition was filed with the help of attorneys Anat Ben-Dor and Elad Cahana of Tel Aviv University’s Refugee Rights Clinic.
For their part, senior Ugandan officials have denied the existence of any agreement with Israel to receive asylum seekers. Foreign Minister Henry Okello said that if Israel had sent Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to Uganda, this had been done illegally.
But Rwandan President Paul Kagame said about a month ago that Rwanda was in the final phases of crafting an agreement in which his country would take deportees from Israel.