UK Activists Say: ‘NO to YPFDJ!’

(Birmingham 30-03-2013) Young Activists, from several Eritrean organisations in the UK successfully concluded their ‘No to YPFDJ’ campaign with a successful protest at the Birmingham Hilton Metropol   where participants of the YPFDJ summit were meeting for their convention that was organised amidst utmost secrecy.

The annual convention, where top officials of the regime come to indoctrinate young people and mobilise their support, is attended by Yemane Gebreab, chief advisor of the President as well as many Ambassadors from Europe.

Although PFdJ coordinators took measures to ensure that their convention was proofed from information leaks to prevent protests against it, young human and democratic rights activists were able to penetrate the organisation and get crucial details, that were only disclosed to participants a day before the event was due to commence.

The campaign ‘No to YPFDJ’, had several elements that were coordinated by an Action Group made of several youth led organisations based in the UK.

A petition with some 2,000 signatures protesting the admission of Yemane Gebreab (Presidential advisor to the Eritrean regime) was delivered to the UK foreign office and copies were sent to British embassies in Asmara and Nairobi.

Warning letters were sent to the facebook accounts of nearly 200 known supporters of the regime. An open letter message warning about the consequences of attending the meeting was written to all parents considering sending their children.

A legal document was commissioned, outlining the legal implications of associating with the Government of Eritrea and demonstrating loyalty, after claiming asylum and this was supplemented by case examples of identified cases that the Campaign Group will be referring to the UK Boarder Agency.

The concern over the meeting and admission of Mr Gebreab was also raised with notable parliamentarians who carried out follow up activities to ensure that concerns received all due consideration.

All this was followed by intense media campaign comprising several articles in local languages as well as in English and radio editorials highlighting the messages of the campaign.

At the conclusion of the campaign a member of the coordinating group said ‘ it was a great show of solidarity and all the groups involved were committed and delivered each of their tasks to time and to extremely high standard, supporters of the regime now know what they are up against and the regime in Asmara should now get the message that diaspora Eritreans are no longer offering a free ride to its adventurism at the expense of our people’  

Selam Kidane


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