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News Analysis

Eritrean Refugees at Risk

Many languish in desert camps. Some have been kidnapped, tortured, and ransomed—or killed—in the Sinai. Others have been left to die in the Sahara or drowned in the Mediterranean. Still others have been attacked as foreigners in South Africa, threatened with mass detention in Israel, or refused entry to the United States and Canada under post-9/11 “terrorism bars” based on their past association with an armed liberation movement—the one they are now fleeing.

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Lampedusa boat tragedy: a survivor's story

Last October a boat went down off the Italian island of Lampedusa, killing 366 migrants on board. What happened next? This is the story of Fanus, a survivor and one of thousands of people who flee Eritrea every year in search of asylum

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Behind Lampedusa Shipwreck: A Journey of Perils and Profits

"I had friends, close friends, people I'd traveled with from Eritrea, who drowned when I survived," he said.

Mr. Yohannes's journey and the Lampedusa shipwreck are emblematic of the perils and profits of a people-smuggling operation stretching across Africa and beyond to Europe. It is an expanding route in the global, $6 billion migrant-smuggling business that is becoming better organized by black marketers, and more lucrative, experts say. The low risks and high profits have left smugglers undeterred by crackdown attempts.

A coast guard vessel patrols the Mediterranean. Massimo Berruti/AgenceVU for the for The Wall Street Journal

On Friday, EU leaders are expected to sign off on a number of new proposals—including beefing up patrols of the Mediterranean and revisiting the idea of allowing refugees to apply for asylum from abroad—in a fresh bid to tackle the problem.

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Ethiopia and Eritrea: Brothers at war no more

It is very possible that the EPRDF will hand over the symbolic town of Bademe to Eritrea - which was awarded to the latter by the EEBC - but it can only get away with such a move domestically by selling it as a necessary sacrifice for a comprehensive and durable peace. The fact that the individuals leading the current Ethiopian government did not take part in the decision-making processes of the border war and subsequent peace agreement means that they are less constrained by the commitments of their predecessors.

For President Afwerki, on the other hand, the stakes are much higher. In fact, resolving the stalemate is likely to create more challenges than benefits to his personal power base. ...

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Welfare, justice and freedom of speech for Isayas followers

PFDJ/YPFDJ has shown their utmost contempt for their own people the 1st of December 2013. The average person would react with anger against the underlying issues for Eritrean losses of human life in just one day. This is not the first time, and will certainly not be the last time that a group of Eritreans die tragically in the escape from the regime. However it is the first televised loss that has been shared with the outside world. YPFDJ/PFDJ responded to this by inviting Isaias Afewerki´s representative to a meeting.

How this is legally possible in Sweden is to me a mystery. I would think that Sweden would bring to justice a dictator and his extended arms, for a crime I would call genocide, when he gets out of Office. How can you allow his representatives to even come to Sweden and have meetings in the midst of ongoing serious violations of human rights?

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Eritrea's military is trafficking the nation's children, report says

Senior military officers kidnap and hold to ransom youngsters, and many are sold on to human traffickers, according to report ...

Basing their findings on interviews with 230 Eritreans who suffered this fate, the researchers conclude that between 2007 and 2012, some 25,000 to 30,000 people were trafficked. The report, by Meron Estefanos, a Swedish human rights activist, and Professor Mirjam van Reisen and Dr Conny Rijken of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, estimates that $600m has been extracted in this way.

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Is the Horn of Africa facing another collapsing state?

Just as the Horn of Africa is witnessing the slow restoration of one collapsed state - after more than two decades of anarchic conditions in Somalia - it may be facing the collapse of another.

The small country of Eritrea, only 20 years after gaining independence from Ethiopia, has emerged as one of the largest sources of refugees in Africa - as well as one of the most militarised societies in the world. It is increasingly displaying signs of withering state structures and an unsustainable humanitarian situation.

Although Eritrea is sometimes referred to as the North Korea of Africa, a more appropriate point of comparison may be Somalia and its descent into civil war. The already fragile security conditions in Eritrea's neighbouring states means that its collapse could have major implications for regional stability.

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Sinai: In the Realm of Death

In the current weekly print supplement Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, published in the German leading newspaper SZ, a horrific story about the torture of kidnapped Africans in Egypt's Sinai is spreading across 24 pages. Called "In the Realm of Death", it is a harrowing account of an 18-day trip to hell by the award winning journalist Michael Obert and Magnum photographer Moises Saman. As the report is only published in German but contains vital information especially for Egyptian readers and government authorities, I am recounting their trip here and added translations of vital passages that are chilling to read. ...

... A human rights organisation in Israel alone has collected testimonies from over 1,300 Africans who barely survived the torture camps in the Sinai. Their stories tell of unspeakable crimes against humans and they carry the – well documented – horrific scars and injuries to go with it. ...

It is my wish that more people are willing to be aware of the terrible crimes against humans that are ongoing day by day by day in the Sinai desert. And that we manage to pressure the interim Egyptian government to undertake steps to put an end to one of the biggest atrocities of our times.

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Eritrea Has Failed to Realize Its Revolutionary Dream

Once a revolution is over, how do you judge its success? A victory for Mao's vision of the People's Republic of China was not exactly a victory for the people of China. A glorious, clean revolution isn't easy. Look at Russia, France, Cambodia, Iran. Look at Egypt today. In the coming decades, we will see the result of revolutions played out across the Arab world and, quite possibly, across Europe as well. Will they be deemed successes by anyone other than the victors?

A crucial, but little reported, example of a hard fought revolution and its troubling aftermath can be found in the Horn of Africa.

Twenty years ago, Eritrea—in the northeast of Africa—became a legally independent nation, having won its de-facto independence from Ethiopia two years earlier, in 1991. ...

(Photo: In 1998, the Eritreans went back to war with Ethiopia. The country's youth were quickly mobilized to go back into the trenches.)

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It's time Sweden takes Dawit Isaak seriously

  • When was the last time the Swedish Foreign Ministry has made an official petition to Eritrean authorities to visit Dawit in jail, and what was the reply?
  • What exactly is the Swedish government doing to ensure that Eritrea finally complies with the request of "habeas corpus"?
  • Why has there been no formal contact with the African Union or the UN Rapporteur on Eritrea?
  • Why has the Swedish government imposed no punitive measures on Eritrean diplomats in Stockholm as long as Dawit's fate remains unknown?
  • And is the Swedish government prepared to follow Canada's example that just last month expelled Eritrea's chief representative in Toronto for refusing to stop collecting a 2 percent "diaspora" tax from Eritrean citizens living abroad, which Canada considers in violation of "international sanctions and Canadian law", because the money helps fund Eritrean arms purchases and the methods used to collect the tax violates the rights of Canadian citizens?

Before Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt leave for their well-earned vacations, it is time for a substantive reply.

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Eritrean Refugees in Israel: Unpromised Land

At a protest rally last May, Miri Regev, a member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, said that the immigrants were “a cancer” on Israeli society. Another parliament member called them “a plague.” Protesters waved signs reading “Tel Aviv—a Refugee camp,” while yelling “Blacks out!” ...

... In September, Israeli media reported on a group of about 20 such starving, ragged migrants, including a 14-year-old boy and a pregnant woman, who were trapped between the two borders. Hard against the new Israeli fence, they were unable to enter the country, but fearful of what would happen if they went to Egypt. They did not have food for at least five days and Israeli soldiers on the scene were ordered only to give them water “in limited measure.”

The unborn child soon died in its mother's womb.

(Photo: Eritrean refugee Winnie Beyene says she was kidnapped from a refugee camp in Sudan by men who threatened to harvest her children’s organs.)

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16.04.2014 المنتدى

ድምጺ መድረኽ - 15.04.2014

ድምጺ መድረኽ - 13 04 2014 (corrected)

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