Over 10,000 phone messages of defiance sent to Eritrea
(Asmara 18-09-2012) 11,300 mobile phones, businesses and homes in Eritrea received messages condemning the regime and its heinous acts violating the human rights of countless Eritreans.
The messages that were sent by a diaspora based youth group ArbiHarnet (freedom Friday), were on the occasion of what the Group and many human rights activists call ‘Eritrea’s Black September’.
11 years ago this day the regime in Eritrea arrested reform seeking politicians and journalists and news paper proprietors from Eritrea’s newly emerging independent media, to date none of these people have been brought before a court of law or charged with any offences. Many are said to have died and the remaining few are known to suffer from major physical and psychological ailments. A coordinator for the group said: ‘ we want to tell our people that we stand in solidarity with them as they remember, but we also wanted them to rise up and challenge the regime; we have asked people to boycott the regime’s media outlets including the government owned papers as a sign of defiance’ .
In a worrying trend, over the last few months the regime has also taken to arming untrained civilians including the elderly, whilst hundreds of thousands young people flee from the army to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. In the short message the Group asked the Eritrean pubic to not use the arms against each other but to use this opportunity to demand the change that is long overdue in Eritrea.
The group have made similar mass robo calls in the past and to date over 33,000 robo calls, urging the people to find ways of challenging the regime, have been made.
The coordinators said that, creating such vital link between those resisting the regime inside the country and in the diaspora is crucial. Over the last few months the Group has been working with a small but dedicated group of activists inside the country, who are also working for the same objectives of encouraging the Eritrean public to show its resistance to the regime.
Initial reports indicate that the messages were well received in Asmara creating a hopeful stir among the city’s residents.
- Having gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1991, today Eritrea is daubed Africa’s North Korea owing to the appalling human rights records there. In June the UN Human Rights Council agreed to appoint a Special Rapporteur to look into the human rights violations perpetrated by the regime.
- ArbiHarnet (Feedom Friday) is an initiative coordinated by Eritrean youth in the diaspora with the aim of narrowing the gulf between the resistance to the government of Eritrea in the diaspora and inside the country.
- One of the objectives of the initiative is to encourage Eritreans inside the country to indentify communal responses to the dictatorship that has caused thousands of Eritreans to become refugees and prisoners.
- ArbiHanet is an independent initiative inspired by the Arab Spring Revolutions.