(19-09-2011 London) Eritreans, Friends of Eritreans and Human rights organisations marked the 10th anniversary of the arrest of journalists and politicians who called for reform in Eritrea, and pied tributes to the thousands of prisoners of conscience in the country.
The event that was hosted jointly by Eritrean human rights organisations in the UK and attended by many Eritrean activists, friends and families of prisoners, national and international human rights organisations as well as a representative from the Foreign and Common Wealth Office was convened under the title: Keeping the Hope of Justice in Eritrea Alive.
Presenting their reflection on the day were long standing friends of the Eritrean people who have known and supported Eritrea’s long and bitter struggle for independence.
In a touching tribute to Ermiyas Debesay (Papayo), who introduced him to the Eritrean struggle for independence Mr Martin Plaut explained how he was persuaded to visit the war fronts and was then to witness the amazing achievements of the Eritrean people and the resolute quest for justice. Mr Plaut concluded his tribute by affirming his belief that the very final outcome of the ongoing Eritrean struggle, is infact bound to be the kind of Eritrea that Eritreans deserve; a just Eritrea and this he put down to the indefatigable determination of Eritreans.
Also outlining his and his family’s attachment to Eritrea was Andy Gregg; son of the late Dr Ian Gregg who was member of the Eritrean Medical Association. Mr Gregg charted his journey through the predicament of his friends and colleagues who fought, achieved and lost the Eritrea of their dreams.
Representatives from: Eritreans for Human and Democratic Rights (EHDR UK) Citizens for Democratic Rights in Eritrea (CDRiE) and Suwera Human Rights Centre ( SHRC), Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch took part in a panel discussion chaired by professor Gaim Kibreab, and this gave an opportunity for the audience to hear about various initiatives and contribute to a plan of coordinated actions in response to the momentum that has been created by the worsening human rights abuse, the heightened international concern over Eritrea’s destructive role and the opportunities created by the anticipated mining boom. In his concluding remarks Pro Kibreab reminded the organisations to coordinate efforts more and assured them that they have his support and that of the public.
Concluding the event the organisers thanked everyone who turned up to remember such a painful event in Eritrea’s short history and pay tribute to all prisoners of conscience in Eritrea.
The occasion was also an opportunity to pay tribute to individuals and organisations who continue to stand in resolute solidarity with the people of Eritrea and particularly to the family of the late Dr Ian Gregg for his love and commitment to Eritreans.