Category: United Eritrea Media

Zuma calls for calm as S.Africa immigrant attacks spread-BY BBC on April 16, 201

Thousands of people take part in the "peace march" against xenophobia in Durban, South Africa, on April 16, 2015. South African President Jacob Zuma on April 16 appealed for the end of attacks on immigrants as a wave of violence that has left at least six people dead threatened to spread across the country. In the past two weeks, shops and homes owned by Somalis, Ethiopians, Malawians and other immigrants in Durban and surrounding townships have been targeted, forcing families to flee to camps protected by armed guards.   AFP PHOTO

South African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday appealed for calm as a wave of anti-immigrant violence spread to Joh Annenberg,raising fears the country’s dire economic woes could spark widespread unrest.

At least six people have been killed in the last two weeks in attacks in the Indian Ocean city of Durban that targeted shops and homes owned by Somalis, Ethiopians, Malawians and other immigrants.

Police in the Actonville area of Johannesburg used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of anti-immigrant protesters on Thursday, while foreign-owned shops in the Jeppestown area of the city were attacked overnight.

“We have witnessed shocking and unacceptable incidents of violence directed at foreign nationals,” Zuma told parliament in Cape Town.

“No amount of frustration or anger can ever justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops.

“We appeal for calm, an end to the violence, and restraint.

“The police have been directed to work round the clock to protect both foreign nationals and citizens and to arrest looters.”

Thousands of people marched through Durban to call for better protection for immigrants, more than 1,000 of whom have fled their homes in the city and sought shelter in camps.

Marchers chanted “Down with xenophobia!” and “A United Africa” at an event attended by residents, students and local religious and political leaders.

Police have vowed to quell the unrest, which claimed its latest victim on Monday when a 14-year-old boy was killed in KwaMashu, a township north of Durban.

“There are tensions in various parts of the country between some locals and foreign nationals (but) lawlessness will not be tolerated,” National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega said in a statement.

Police, who also reported tensions in Pietermaritzburg, a city some 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Durban, called for community leaders to help reduce friction and added that false rumours of attacks were increasing fear.

– Jobs scarce –

Earlier this year, similar xenophobic violence erupted in Soweto, near Johannesburg, as frustration deepens over lack of opportunities for many young blacks 21 years after the end of apartheid in 1994.

South Africa’s economic growth was just 1.5 percent last year and unemployment is at around 25 percent — soaring to over 50 percent among the young.

Violence against immigrants in South Africa is common, with unemployed locals accusing foreigners of taking their jobs.

In 2008, 62 people were killed in xenophobic violence in Johannesburg townships.

One of the marchers in Durban, Eric Machi, 34, said he rented rooms to Zimbabweans and Malawians until they fled from attackers in recent weeks.

“We are trying to make peace with those people who came here from Africa, but now they are gone,” he said.

“It started late at night. The attackers were shouting and throwing stones, and breaking some houses.”

Zuma told parliament he wanted to address the root cause of the attacks — including illegal immigration and accusations that many migrants are criminals.

“We wish to emphasise that while some foreign nationals have been arrested for various crimes, it is misleading and wrong to label or regard all foreign nationals as being involved in crime,” he said.

“Many (immigrants) bring skills that are scarce that help us to develop the economy and are most welcome to live our country.

Many shops in the centre of Johannesburg were shut on Wednesday and Thursday after threats spread via social networks and text messages.

“Anytime (it) can happen now,” said Ali Abdi, a Somali who runs a clothes shop but is now sleeping in a camp in Durban.

“There is not just one reason. Some of it is foreigner hatred, especially against African foreigners. The other reason would be jealousy.”

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/04/zuma-calls-for-calm-as-s-africa-immigrant-attacks-spread/#sthash.zdwGN46b.dpuf

Pre-army students to Netanyahu: Stop deportation of refugees- By Haggai Matar April 15, 2015

Over 130 students from pre-military academies send a letter to the prime minister, calling on him to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and put an end to Israel’s policy of deporting Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers.

African asylum seekers participate in a silent demonstration in front of the African Union office in Tel Aviv, calling for international support in their struggle for recognition as refugees, January 22, 2014. (photo: Oren Ziv, Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

On the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, approximately 130 students in a pre-military academy sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling on him not to deport asylum seekers to countries where they would face danger.

  • The letter was sent in the wake of several reports that revealed the State’s plan to change its policy from “voluntary repatriation” (a policy strongly encouraged by the government, which included jailing asylum seekers in Holot prison) to a policy of forced deportation of asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea to Uganda and Rwanda.

The letter was sent by students at the Telem pre-military academy in Jaffa who recently visited Holot, where they met with asylum seekers and heard their stories. Since their visit, the students at Telem have moved to other pre-military academies, where they have taught classes about the situation in Sudan and Eritrea. “At the end of the lessons, we took down people’s contact information, and now that it was revealed that they are trying to deport asylum seekers, we turned to the same people and got their signatures for the letter,” says Shira Levi from Telem.

Among the signatories are all the students at Telem, most of the students at Minsharim Kalo in Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael and students from other pre-military academies from across the country.

Here is a portion of the letter:

“Over these past months, the Administration of Population and Immigration has been initiating a change in policy, according to which asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea will be forcibly deported to a third country under a shroud of secrecy. This move has no global precedent, especially from a democratic country that has signed on to the 1951 Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, not to mention a country whose history is one of refugees. This decision does not secure the protection of the asylum seekers in the slightest, and prevents them from securing their rights to life and safety.

“We call on the Israeli government to immediately check asylum seekers’ refugee requests as agreed upon in the Convention and according to international standards. Our hope is that especially at this time, when we mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, the government will learn the necessary and human lessons, and will not remain apathetic to the murder happening in front of our eyes in the asylum seekers’ home countries.

“The government of Israel must immediately cease its humiliating treatment of asylum seekers. We demand it checks requests for refugee status and not send them to danger and death in their home countries by turning them, once again, into refugees and endangering their lives.”

Cabinet of Ministers holds meeting

ብስንኪ ገደብ ዘይበሉ ሃገራዊ ኣግልሎት፡ ክሳብ 4000 መንእሰያት ኣብ ወርሒ እንዳተሰደዱ፡ ሃገራዊ ኣገልግሎት ን18 ወርሒ ጥራይ ኢልካ ካብ ምእዋጅ እንታይ እዩ ብኢድኩም ሒዙኩም። ወረ እንታይ ኢዩ፡ ንጥልያኖታት 18 ወርሒ ገቢርናያ እንዳበልኩም ትሕብሩ ንሓፋሽ ግን ሓቢእኩምሉ።

 

Asmara 14 April 2015- Eritrea’s Cabinet of Ministers held a meeting this morning at the State House. The session focused on incipient irrigation schemes as well as the extensive agricultural program for 2015 slated for implementation through traditional and modern farming techniques.

In opening remarks during the opening session, President Isaias Afwerki outlined the purpose of the program drawn up to develop land productivity and enrichment of water resources, transform agricultural production into modern stage, promote land restoration and thereby ensure soil and water  conservation vis- a- vis  the set programs for development of irrigation farming in this year.

President Isaias went on to explain in detail the enhancement of the envisaged irrigation schemes that will be implemented in three development zones in western, eastern and central highlands. The integrated approach includes development of infrastructural facilities, energy supply and related components so as to boost higher production in cereal output, fruits and vegetables. The increment development of the agro-industrial sector will constitute another vital component of the integrated approach.

In this respect, President Isaias gave extensive elaboration on the concerted action that needs to be taken regarding judicious utilization of basic resources such as energy, machinery, seeds, fertilizers, pesticide, transportation, among others, apart from project management.

Thereafter, the Ministerial Cabinet referred to a working paper presented by the Minister of Local Government on the Agricultural Program for 2015. The program envisages the cultivation of more than 568.000 hectares in the forthcoming rainyseason. This represents 10% growth compared to that of 2014.

Following the briefings by President Isaias and the Minister of Local Government, Mr. Woldemichael Abraha, the Cabinet conducted in-depth discussions on the preparations that need to be made prior to the onset of the rainy season, including that of proper deployment of machinery, budgetary allocation vis-à-vis priorities, among others. Subsequently, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted the necessary work directives.

The meeting further conducted extensive discussions on current regional and international political events and trends.

 

 

 

 

 

Migrants ‘thrown overboard’ in religious row as toll climbs -by (Italy) (AFP)

Italian Red Cross personnel prepare to give first aid to shipwrecked migrants as they arrive in the Italian port of Augusta, in Sicily on April 16, 2015
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Italian police on Thursday said 12 African migrants had died after being thrown overboard by fellow passengers in the latest high-seas tragedy in the Mediterranean, as another 41 boat migrants were feared drowned in a separate incident.

Police in the Sicilian port of Palermo said they had arrested 15 Muslim migrants suspected of attacking Christian passengers after a religious row on a boat headed for Italy, which is struggling to cope with a huge spike in illegal migrants arriving on its shores.

The 12 victims were all Nigerians and Ghanaians while the 15 suspects came from Senegal, Mali and Ivory Coast. They were charged with “multiple aggravated murder motivated by religious hate,” according to a police statement.

Distraught survivors, who set off from Libya on Tuesday before being rescued by an Italian vessel on Wednesday, told a “dreadful” story of “forcefully resisting attempts to drown them, forming a veritable human chain in some cases,” police said.

In another drama, 41 migrants were missing feared drowned on after their dinghy sank en route to Italy, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said, mere days after 400 migrants are believed to have died in another shipwreck off the coast of Libya.

The four survivors in Thursday’s shipwreck, who came from Nigeria, Ghana and Niger, said their boat sank after setting sail from Libya with 45 people on board.

Their vessel was spotted by a plane, which alerted the Italian coastguard, but by the time a navy ship arrived to help them only four passengers were found alive.

– ‘Terrible tensions’ –

The latest deaths bring the number of migrants killed while trying to cross the Mediterranean this year up to 900, the IOM said, up from 96 between January and April last year.

The agency said some 10,000 people had been rescued off Italy since Friday alone, with recent good weather prompting a spike in the number of boat migrants attempting the risky crossing, many of them fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

The flood of people trying to reach Italy in recent days has been “extraordinary”, IOM’s Giovanni Abbate told AFP in the Sicilian port of Augusta, where more new arrivals were disembarking.

Driven by desperation and undertaking a perilous journey, he said it was not the first time disputes between migrants on packed boats had turned deadly, in reference to the 12 Christians allegedly thrown overboard.

“Terrible tensions can arise, anything can happen,” he said.

The IOM in a statement said it had received reports of “a fight between different groups -– maybe for religious reasons… on one of the boats rescued some days ago”.

Nigerian and Ghanaian survivors told police a group of Muslim passengers on the boat, which was carrying around 100 people, began threatening the Nigerians and Ghanaians after they declared themselves to be Christians.

“The threats then materialised and 12 people, all Nigerian and Ghanaian, are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean,” the police statement added.

– ‘Season of death’ –

Italy pleaded for more help Thursday from other European Union countries to rescue the migrants and share the burden of accommodating them.

Italy is not the final destination for most of those who risk their lives each year in search of a better life in Europe, but as their first port of call it is saddled with handling all asylum requests as well as saving those in danger from a watery grave.

“Ninety percent of the cost of the patrol and sea rescue operations are falling on our shoulders, and we have not had an adequate response from the EU,” Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told the daily Corriere della Sera.

“Then there is the difficult issue of knowing where to send those rescued at sea — to the nearest port? To the country where their boat came from? The EU has to respond clearly to these questions,” Gentiloni said.

The crisis is only expected to intensify, with the Red Cross predicting record numbers of boat migrants this year.

“The flow is unstoppable, and we, the international community, are failing to deliver on our commitments,” said Francesco Rocca, president of the Italian Red Cross.

Amnesty International said it had been raising the alarm “for months” and urged European leaders to take action.

“A season of death is now upon us,” said Gauri van Gulik, the rights group’s deputy Europe and Central Asia programme director.

“It is an appalling indictment of European governments’ lack of compassion that so little has been done when so many people remain at risk of dying off Europe’s southern shores.”

Israel hands out deportation notices to asylum seekers

African asylum seekers say they are being threatened by the Israeli government with deportation to unsafe countries.

Some African asylum seekers being held in detention in Israel have said they are being threatened with deportation to unsafe countries.

Written notices given to some Eritreans held in deportation camps said they will be deported to unnamed African countries, thought to be Uganda and Rwanda.

Al Jazeera’s Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports from the Negev region in southern Israel, where deportation notices are being handed to inmates in the Holot detention centre.

Source: Al Jazeera

Libya migrants: Boats with 1,150 refugees head to Italy in wake of Mediterranean drowning disaster  

migrants Lampedusa
Migrants wait in the port of Lampedusa to board a ferry to be transferred to Porto Empedocle in Sicily(Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)

Three more boats containing a total of 1,150 Eritrean and Ethiopian migrants are headed to Italy after sailing from the Libyan coast last night, an Eritrean activist and an aid organisation have toldIBTimes UK.

The latest wave of refugees set out after as many as 400 migrants fleeing Libya are feared to have drowned when their boat capsized 24 hours after departing the North African coast. Italy’s coastguard has rescued 144 people but several hundred others are feared dead given the size of the vessel.

Sweden-based Eritrean rights activist Meron Estefanos said three boats with roughly 380 migrants each, mostly Eritreans and Ethiopians, left Libya last night. “The majority of them are women and children,” she said.

The report was confirmed by the authoritative charity Caritas in Palermo, Sicily, which provides first aid and assistance to the refugees rescued at sea. “Three boats with 365 migrants each are approaching Italy,” a Caritas spokesperson told IBTimes UK.

The latest tragedy that hit desperate migrants willing to risk their lives in a perilous voyage at sea has prompted calls for EU leaders to restore search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

Italy’s Mare Nostrum programme, which saved 150,000 lives in 2014, was ended in November due to lack of funds. Considered unsustainable, it was replaced with a “border protection” operation named Triton and managed by Frontex, the European border agency. Frontex’s annual budget has declined from €94m to €89m (£67.6m to £64m), which is paltry compared to the €10m spent monthly by Italy for Mare Nostrum.

Over the years Estefanos, who is also a radio presenter in Sweden for Radio Erena, has become the voice of Eritrean refugees escaping the authoritarian regime of Isaias Afewerki and the compulsory military service in the country.

Ahead of the latest tragedy, she received several phone calls on 12 April from migrants in distress at sea. “They called me saying the boat motor was not working and they ran out of petrol,” she said.

The activist immediately alerted the Italian coastguard about the emergency and gave them the location of the boat. Rescue teams were reportedly sent to the boat in distress but it is unclear whether the migrant boat made it to Italy.

“Last I heard of them, they were spotting Italian motorboats circling around their boat,” she said. “I’ve tried to call them again but the phone is off.”

Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Rome spokesperson, told IBTimes UK that the migration numbers are more or less similar to 2014 – but the main difference is that Mare Nostrum rescue programme is no longer in place.

“Rescuers have told us that they are quite worried because there are too many boats that need to be rescued. They hope to save them all but it won’t be easy because there are too many and the means are not the same as last year when the Mare Nostrum was in place. This is why we have experienced this dramatic shipwreck of hundreds of people,” he said.