Thursday, August 13, 2015

More than 130,000 Eritrean refugees have crossed the border to Ethiopia escape human rights abuses | Diplomat News Network

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Rome ( DIPLOMAT.SO) – According to a report from JRS Organization , More than 130,000 Eritrean refugees have crossed the border to Ethiopia escape human rights abuses. Eritrean youth flee forced indefinite military conscription as well as torture at the hands of an oppressive government. Those who cross the border risk their lives: Eritrea’s strict “shoot to kill” policy spares no one.

Eighty percent of the refugees in this area are under the age of 24; most of them flee on their own without parents or guardians before they reach the age of recruitment. Youth in Mai Aini refugee camp, where JRS works, have access to education. But many of them still feel trapped. Leaving the camp to study or work is an unlikely possibility for most and resettlement is rare.
Preying off the energy and dreams of these young people, smugglers convince some Eritrean refugees that making the harsh journey to Europe will allow them to start their lives over. Along the way, however, many young people are tortured and smugglers extort high sums from their families abroad or in Eritrea.
With approximately 35,000 Eritreans reaching the shores of Italy in 2014, they are the largest African population to make the perilous Mediterranean journey. An unknown number have perished in the desert or sea, never to be heard from again.
In Mai Aini refugee camp, JRS hosts art classes where young people can express their visions, fears and memories about these dangerous journeys. The paintings are exhibited at events in the camp and used to raise awareness about the perils of onward migration.


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