Freedom Friday’s September 18th Campaign Launch
September 18 2001 has come to symbolize not just the unlawful imprisonment and disappearance of top government officials, veteran fighters of Eritrea’s long struggle for liberation, and journalists from Eritrea’s fledgling independent media, but also marks the start of over a decade of injustice that earned Eritrea a reputation as a giant prison for its citizens, and culminating in the appointment of UN Special Rappoture for Human Rights, (a clear statement of grave concern by the international community).
Many of those who were arrested on the day and since have been subjected to inhuman treatment, several are said to have died, many remain unaccounted for and none have been brought before a court of law or charged with any offence.
Many Eritreans have condemned this right from the start and those who did so from inside the country have paid a hefty price for their stand as a ploy to silence the rest. Many in the international community have also condemned the atrocities of that day calling for the immediate and unconditional rectification of the situation. However over the last 11 years, the government of Eritrea has simply turned a deaf ear to calls from Eritreans and the international community alike. This is mainly due to the fact that the calls for justice in Eritrea have not been resolute enough.
This year we have been provided with a unique opportunity to lobby the United nation Human Rights Council and demand justice for all prisoners of conscience in Eritrea and ArbiHarnet (Freedom Friday) is proud to launch a September 18 action campaign with a focus on one prominent prisoner of conscience.
Our campaign will run for 5 weeks. To kick off the campaign, we will start with a “Who am I?” quiz that aims to shed some light on the courageous life of this prominent prisoner of conscience. The first person to identify the personality will get a free Freedom Friday T-Shirt, and 10 Freedom Friday calls will be donated on their behalf.
For our next phase we will lobby international organizations to endorse our campaign. Followed by a media drive, then concluding with Freedom Friday’s signature phone calls. Calls that have become a sign of hope to our people inside the country.
Our volunteers inside Eritrea and in diasporas are all ready to make this campaign a success, keep the torch of freedom bright and the demand for justice to our prisoners, please join them and make the CALL.
* THE CAMPAIGN’S OBJECTIVES
• To generate an increased level of awareness amongst Eritreans inside the country of their responsibility to seek for justice for prisoners of conscience
• To challenge the regime in Eritrea about its record of human rights in general and particularly the situation with prisoners of conscience
• To enhance and increase partnerships between Eritrean human rights, media and political organizations in the Resistance to work together for the above objectives
• To communicate through the most effective and appropriate channels aiming to reach the maximum number of people across the country, and in the diaspora, particularly the ‘silent majority’
• To highlight the stories of prisoners and their families bringing the issues to the fore front of everyone’s conscience
* WHO AM I?
I was one of the disabled veterans who have sacrificed their youth for the Eritrean cause. A self taught activist who has made defending the human rights of Eritrean people my main focus. I have rejecting the Eritrean ruling regime’s injustices and refused to be silenced.
I was one of the first who spoke out against the arrest and disappearance of my colleagues and compatriots on September 18th; I also refused to be silenced by the threats and cover-ups that followed the event and as a consequence I too was arrested and was made to ‘disappear’, my whereabouts or situation is completely unknown.
I challenged the regime’s education system. I wanted all Eritrean children to benefit from a fair and free education system. I was harassed and badly treated by the regime for many years for my views.
My imprisoned colleagues and I have put our lives and that of our families at risk so that all Eritreans enjoy a free and peaceful life, we now urge you to never forget us and continue on the struggle for justice.
Perhaps the authorities silenced us, but it is time to show them that there are thousands more they can not silence.