ደሃይ ካብ ኤርትራ By assenna on April 5, 2015

werar_ASSENNA_1

ሰገነይቲ

ኣብ ሰገነይቲ ብመሰረት ማስተር ፕላን ብመንገስቲ ኣብ ዝትዓደሉዎ መሬት ገዛ ሰሪሖም ዝውድኡ ዜጋታት ክሸጡዎ ከለዉ ምስ ገዝኣይ ኮይኖም ናብ ቤትፍርዲ ከይዶም ብምፍርራም ከምዝሸጠን ከምዝገዝአን ተወዓዒሎም ሕጊ ከምልብሱዎ ከምዝጸንሑ ይፍለጥ።

ይኹን እምበር እቲ ንሓያለ ዓመታት ነዚ መስርሕ’ዚ ስቕ ኢሉ ክዕዘብ ዝጸንሐ ሽፍታ ስርዓት ግን፣ ክንደይ ዓመትት ተጸብዩ ነቶም ገዛ ዝሸጡን ዝገዝኡን መቕጻዕቲ በይኑሎም ኣሎ።

እቲ መቕጻዕቲ፣ ንኣብነት ብሓደ ሚልዮን ንዝተሰርሐ ወይ ዝተግዝአ ገዛ፣ ብኽንዲ ‘ቲ ዝተሰርሓሉ ወይ ዝተሸጠሉ ዋጋ መቕጻዕቲ ክኸፍሉ ተኣዚዞም ኣለዉ።

ንኣከፋፍላ ብዝምልከት ከኣ፣ ኩሉ ኣብ ሓደ ግዜ ካሽ ክኽፈል ኣለዎ። እንተዘይኮይኑ ግን፣ ን 100 ሽሕ ናቕፋ ኣብ ወርሒ 10 ሽሕ ናቕፋ ወለድ ክትክፍ ትግደድ። እቲ መቕጻዕቲ ሓደ ሚልዮን ናቕፋ እንትደኣ ኮይኑ ‘ሞ ኸኣ ብኡ ንብኡ እንተዘይከፊልካዮ ኣብ ወርሒ 100 ሽሕ ናቕፋ ወለድ ተወሳኺ ዕዳ ኣለካ ማለት እዩ።

ብዓይኒ እቲ ስግንጢራዊ መላኺ ስርዓት እዚ ከም መቕጻዕቲ ምሉእ ዋጋ ክኽፈል ዝእዝዝ መምርሒ ከም ሕድገት ተሓሲቡለይ ያኢ፣ ነቶም ቅድሚ 2 ዓመት ዝሰርሑን ዝገዝኡን ጥራይ ዝምልከት እዩ። እቶም ኣብ ውሽጢ ክልተ ዓመታት ዝሰርሑ ይኾኑ ዝሸጡን ዝገዝኡን ግን ኣባይቶም ብዘይ ሕቶን ርእይቶን ክፈርስ እዩ ትኣዚዙዋም ዘሎ።

በዚ ምኽንያት ህዝቢ ሰገነይቲ ቍንቍኛ ናይቲ መትሓዚ ዘይብሉ ደንጽዩዎ ኣብ ከቢድ ጭንቂ ይርከብ።

ዳዕሮ ቃውሎስ

ኣብ ዳዕሮ ቃውሎስ 400 ሚእቲ ኣባይቲ ድሕሪ ምፍራሱ፣ መራሒ ናይቲ ስርሒት ዕንወት ፍሊጶስ ወልደየውሃንስ፣ ባሕቲ ሚያዝያ ረቡዕ ኣብ ሰዓታት ምሸት ናብ ዳዕሮ ቃውሎስ መጺኡ ነቲ ዝተፈጸመ ዕንወት ተዘዋዊሩ ምስረኣዮ፣ ሕጉስ ከዝነበረ ኣብ ገጹ ይንጸባረቕ ነይሩ። ነቲ ሓደ ሓደ ኣጸቢቑ ዘይፍረሰ ገዛውቲ ጽቡቕ ገይሮም ከፍርሱዎ ከምዘለዎም ከኣ ነቶም ዓጁቦሞ ነበሩ ሓለፍቲ ኣጥቢቑ ሓቢሩዎም።

እቲ ኣባይቱ ክፈርስ ምልክት ክግበረሉ ከሎ ኣብ ቅርዓት ታቦት ኣውጺኡ ዝጸለየ ህዝቢ ዳዕሮ ቃውሎስ፣ ኣብ ቅድሚ ዓይኑ ህንጻታት ክዓኑ ምርኣዩ ድንጽዩዎ “መርገምና እዩ” እናበለ ከስተንትን ቀንዩ።

እተን ናይ ታንክ ሰንሰለት ዘለወን ኣባይቲ ከፍርሳ ዝወዓላ ሽዱሽተ ዶዘራት ካብ ዓሻ ጎልጎል ዝመጽኣ ክኾና ክለዋ፣ ኣባይቲ ኣፍርስ ውዒለን ምስ ወድኣ፣ ናብ ሰላዕዳዕሮ፣ ዓዲ ዃላን ወኪ ድባን ከምዝኸዳ ኣብቲ ስርሒት ዘሰነዩወን ኣባላት ፖሊስ ተዛሪቦም።

More than 300 migrants rescued off Sicily -by Rome AFP

 The Landhelgisgaeslan, an Icelandic navy ship, escorts the Ezadeen, carrying some 500 Syrian would be immigrants, at Corigliano harbour on January 2, 2015 in Italy

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The Landhelgisgaeslan, an Icelandic navy ship, escorts the Ezadeen, carrying some 500 Syrian would be immigrants, at Corigliano harbour on January 2, 2015 in Italy (AFP Photo/Alfonso Di Vincenzo)

Rome (AFP) – Around 318 migrants in distress at sea between Sicily and the coast of Libya were rescued by an Icelandic navy ship taking part in an EU border patrol of the Mediterranean, Italian media reported Saturday.

The ship, the Landhelgisgaeslan, arrived in the evening at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo with the rescued migrants, including 14 children and five pregnant women, who were hospitalised.

Italian police meanwhile have identified eight suspected Tunisian traffickers.

According to the reports, the migrants came from 13 different countries: Sudan, Ghana, Morocco, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, Palestine, Eritrea, India and Tunisia.

The conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, especially in Libya which is a key point of departure, have led to an increase in illegal immigrants seeking to enter Europe.

The number of migrants entering the EU illegally in 2014 nearly tripled to 276,000 people compared to 2013, according to the EU borders agency Frontex, nearly 220,000 of them arriving via the Mediterranean.

The United Nations said at least 3,500 people died last year while crossing the sea, making it the deadliest migrant route in the world.

Ethiopia/Eritrea: Isaias Afwerki and Ethnic Fundamentalism : The Great Illusion Part III

 

 

Isaias Afwerki and Ethnic Fundamentalism

By Worku Aberra

In the previous section I have tried to show how Isaias’ short-term and long-term objectives are incompatible with the struggle for democracy and national unity in Ethiopia. In this section, I will briefly discuss how he uses ethnic fundamentalism to weaken Ethiopia.

The Isaias Model of Destabilizing Ethiopia

To realize the long-term objective of developing Eritrea, as discussed earlier, the EPLF requires a politically enfeebled Ethiopia, in the form of mini states or a dependent client state. To that end it has used a successful formula, as enunciated by Isaias during the interview, comprising the elements “awareness, organization, and action”.

Since the formula has been successfully applied by the EPLF, we can call it the Isaias model of destabilizing Ethiopia. However, for the political formula to be effective, it needs an ideological framework.

Ethnic Fundamentalism as an Ideology

Ideology has been defined as a system of beliefs used to perceive, understand, and interpret the world. Ideology rationalizes, justifies, and sanctions actions taken by individuals and political groups. Isaias boasts that he does not subscribe to any ideology, but prefers a potpourri of values from different ideologies. I guess he wants to portray himself as a non-ideological, pragmatic leader.

His claims notwithstanding, he has been practising authoritarianism, militarism, and what a colleague calls “ethnic fundamentalism”, a blunt instrument used for creating ethnic discord, ethnic hatred, and ethnic conflict in Ethiopia. What is ethnic fundamentalism?

If religious fundamentalism is a strict interpretation of religious text, ethnic fundamentalism is a strict interpretation of history, politics, art, and culture with an ethnic perspective. Just like any ideology, it permeates the social, political, and personal realms. It provides the lens through which everything is seen. Isaias has successfully used ethnic fundamentalism to destabilize Ethiopia.

Element # 1: “Ethnic Awareness”

In a multi-ethnic country like Ethiopia, the heritage, culture, and language of each ethnic group should be respected and promoted, within a united Ethiopia. It is clear that the previous governments have miserably failed in this regard. And it is this failure that ethnic fundamentalists have exploited fully.
At the same time, the economic well-being of all Ethiopians, irrespective of their ethnicity, including the “privileged Amharas” under the previous regimes and the “favoured Tigryans” under the current regime, has suffered.

Ethnic fundamentalism, instead of examining the social, economic, and political problems facing the Ethiopian people systemically, analyzes them ethnically, classifying one ethnic group as the perpetrator and the other ethnic group as the victim. An ethnic group become the oppressor, not the rulers.

This formulation leads to exploiting the basest of human emotions; it drives a wedge between the population, creating a mentality of “us” and “them”. All the “us” is assigned positive traits, all the “them” negative traits.

For an ethnic fundamentalist, the universal problems most Ethiopians face—abject poverty, oppression, and lack of adequate services (health care and education)—become particularized. The problems facing Ethiopians are understood as being ethnic, not systemic. The ethnic framing of economic, social, and political problems invariably results in blaming an entire ethnic group for the problems. In the past, it was the Amharas; today, it is the Tigryans.

There is a natural tendency for humans to gravitate towards one’s ethnic group, towards one’s common ancestry, language, and territory, to exhibit what Anthony Smith, the renowned scholar on nationalism, calls “primordial nationalism”. It is this natural tendency that the EPLF and the TPLF have exploited to the fullest.

This also explains in part why the EPRP failed and the TPLF triumphed.

Ethnicized Propaganda

In the Isaias model, raising “awareness” translates itself into ethnicized propaganda work, the kind of propaganda the EPLF has been utilising since its inception to undercut national unity. Today, the EPLF uses its state-owned media for the same purpose, under the guise of opposing the TPLF-controlled regime. Eritrea’s Ministry of Information broadcasts in Amharic, Afan Oromo, and Somali languages with contradictory messages about national unity. The Amharic program presents news and views from an Ethiopian perspective, but the Oromo and Somali programs spread an anti-Ethiopian, separatist agenda.

A sub-set of “ethnic awareness” comprises an assault on shared history, experience, culture, and value to destroy Ethiopian national identity. (I may explore this later)

Element # 2: Ethnic Organizations

Isaias tells the two interviewers that he is concerned about national unity in Ethiopia. This is an outright falsehood. As stated earlier, Eritrea’s long-term goal of industrialization, the EPLF is persuaded, demands a politically fragmented Ethiopia. To achieve its strategic objective, the EPLF needs ethnic political organizations that fight for the separation.

When asked about his regime creating ethnic groups to fight the regime in Ethiopia, he retorted that, “… we don’t create organizations in Ethiopia”, claiming that the political reality results in the kind of political organizations that have emerged in Ethiopia. This is partly true.

But the political landscape in Ethiopia has been configured to a large extent by what the EPLF has undertaken in Ethiopia over the last 40 years, including its assistance to, if not the direct creation of, so many “liberation fronts” in Ethiopia. Besides, the political situation does not favour the creation of only ethnic organizations.

Last Name: “Liberation Front”

Despite his denial, the EPLF has played a significant role in the proliferation of ethnic political organizations in Ethiopia. The EPLF has been inspirational, instrumental, and influential in the creation of ethnic organizations.

Emulating the nomenclature of liberation fronts that fought against European colonialism in Africa, the EPLF (and later the TPLF) has assisted in the creation of numerous ethnic organizations whose names end with… Liberation Front. You can fill in the name of any ethnic group, and you will have an ethnic organization created in the image of the EPLF. The labelling of ethnic groups as liberation fronts is not accidental; it is a deliberate attempt to portray their struggle is also an anti-colonial struggle in Ethiopia.

Ever since the EPLF trained the fighters, cadres, and leaders of the TPLF, the latter has excelled in applying the Isaias’ model. We can say that the TPLF was the first real convert to the Isaias’ ideology of ethnic fundamentalism, but it has become more catholic than the pope.

Element # 3: Military Action

The third element of the Isaias’ model, as he expounded during the interview, involves military action. Military action does not target just the oppressive apparatus of the regime, but also anyone who challenges the leadership of the ethnic organization, including internal “informants, collaborators, and traitors”. The target may also include the civilian population of the “oppressor” ethnic group.

Ethnic fundamentalism, like religious fundamentalism, treats innocent individuals in the out-group as non-humans whose life is immaterial. This explains the atrocities committed against ordinary Amharas, Oromos, Somalis, Gambellas and other groups over the last 25 years.

Great leaders and small-minded leaders

In politics, to galvanize the population, it is much easier to appeal to ethnic solidarity, ethnic pride, or ethnic injustice—the ethnic fundamentalist approach—than to mobilize the people for the ideals of democracy, freedom, human rights, or civil liberties—the civic approach.

The ethnic fundamentalist approach focuses on a specific ethnic group, the civic approach on all citizens of a country. The first is narrow, biased, and exclusive; the second universal, impartial, and inclusive. The first appeals to individuals as members of an ethnic group, the second as members of humanity.

Great leaders with vision inspire people to unite across ethnic, religious, and regional boundaries for a common cause; small-minded leaders with no vision divide people along ethnic, religious, and regional lines for their political ends.

Great leaders appeal to our better angels; small-minded leaders stoke our worst demons. At this critical juncture of its history, what Ethiopia needs is a great visionary leader.

UN agency demands end to Yarmouk fighting, calls for protection of civilians-by UN News Center

Destruction caused by fighting in Yarmouk, Syria. Photo: UNRWA

5 April 2015 – With fighting near Yarmouk intensifying, the United Nations agency concerned with the well-being of Palestinian refugees today made a strong appeal to all armed actors to cease hostilities that place civilians in acute danger and to withdraw immediately from civilian populated areas.

“Never has the hour been more desperate in the Palestine refugee camp of Yarmouk, in Damascus,” read a press release circulated by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). “We demand that all parties exercise maximum restraint and abide by their obligations under international law to protect civilians.”

UNRWA called on concerned States to urgently exercise their authority and influence in order to end the fighting in Yarmouk for the sake of civilian lives and to alleviate human suffering. Meanwhile, humanitarian access had to be increased and secure conditions established under which the agency would be able to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance and civilians could be evacuated.

The agency said that the international community, including UN bodies, should be seized of the “critical situation” without delay and should ensure that all civilians are protected in accordance with the UN charter and international law.

Failure to do so could lead to the gravest and most appalling of consequences for the more than 18,000 civilians who have been trapped in Yarmouk for over two years. Since 1 April, it has been the scene of intense fighting and it is virtually impossible for civilians to leave, as any attempt to move in the open brings high risk.

“The lives of civilians in Yarmouk have never been more profoundly threatened,” said UNRWA’s press release. “Men, women and children – Syrians and Palestinians alike – are cowering in their battered homes in profound fear, desperate for security, food and water, deeply concerned by the grave perils that may yet come, as hostilities continue.”

Among the besieged residents of Yarmouk are 3,500 children, who have been reliant on UNRWA’s irregular distributions of food and other assistance for over a year.

“The level of our aid has been well below the minimum required,” said UNRWA’s statement, which stressed the agency’s readiness to resume assistance to the civilian population as soon as hostilities cease. “Potable water is now unavailable inside Yarmouk and the meager health facilities that existed have been overrun by conflict. The situation is extremely dire and threatens to deteriorate even further.”

 

Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Ethiopean News

    • Ethiopia making preparations to evacuate its nationals from Yemen (Apr 01, 2015)

The Government of Ethiopia, which has set up a National Committee to organize the evacuation of Ethiopian citizens in a safe and orderly manner, is actively making preparations to evacuate Ethiopian nationals from the Republic of Yemen. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stating its reassurance to all concerned Ethiopian nationals residing in Yemen, is also working through the Embassy in Sana’a, capital of Yemen, to make arrangements for the speedy and safe evacuation of Ethiopian citizens and discussing with other stakeholders to make the appropriate methods and ways in relation to the evacuation of Ethiopian nationals from that country. The Ethiopian Embassy in Sana’a has deployed its staff and formed a committee to register Ethiopian nationals, process their travel documents as well as complete their full evacuation process in an orderly fashion. The Embassy is also collaborating and working with the Ethiopian Diasporacommunity representatives and members residing in Yemen on ways to support the speedy registration and safe evacuation of Ethiopian citizens living across Yemen.Registration is now underway.  The Government is closely following the conditions of Ethiopian nationals in Yemen. Following the processing of their travel documents, the evacuation process will start in a shortest possible time.

Anti-Islam and anti-racism protesters clash around Australia MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)

 The most violent clash was in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, where police struggled to separate 3,000 opposing demonstrators.

The Victoria state ambulance service treated four people, three for minor injuries from assaults in Melbourne, Ambulance Victoria spokesman Paul Bentley said. The fourth was treated for chest pains. None of the injured was taken to a hospital, he said.

Police arrested two men and a woman in the fracas in Melbourne’s downtown Federation Square, Victoria Police spokeswoman Belinda Batty said.

Batty said the three were later released. She said all would be charged, but she could not detail those charges.

Reclaim Australia, a community group, organized rallies in 16 cities and towns around Australia against Islamic extremism, the “Islamization” of Australian society, Islamic Sharia law and the Halal-certification of most meats sold in Australia.

The protesters condemned the cost of the certification for a Muslim minority that is less than 3 percent of the Australian population as a “Halal tax” on the nation.

They were shouted down with anti-racism slogans by left-wing groups including No Room for Racism, Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative.

Reclaim Australia protester Rhonda Cashmore said their protest was not about racism.

“Most here are happy to have immigrants who want to come and fit in,” she said. “We’re protesting against immigrants who don’t want to follow our laws.”

Rival protester Gerard Morel said he opposed the anti-Islam rally because his grandfather had been victimized by Nazis during World War II.

“What I see is two groups with diametrically opposing ideas,” he said. “They’re extreme views that are inconsistent with what Australia stands for.”

Yemen officials say rebels free hundreds of prisoners by SANAA, Yemen (AP)

A supporter of the Shiite Huthi militia takes part in a demonstration in Yemen's second larget city of Taez on April 3, 2015, to protest against the Saudi-led coalition’'s Operation Decisive Storm against the rebels in Yemen
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A supporter of the Shiite Huthi militia takes part in a demonstration in Yemen’s second larget city of Taez on April 3, 2015, to protest against the Saudi-led coalition’’s Operation Decisive Storm against the rebels in Yemen (AFP Photo/Abdulrahaman Abdullah)

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Shiite rebels freed more than 300 prisoners in the southern city of Dhale, Yemeni security officials said, as the rebels fought pitched battles with supporters of the country’s beleaguered President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in the southern port city of Aden.

The Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, have been trying to take control of Dhale in order to open up a corridor to Aden, a stronghold for Hadi loyalists.

Since their advance began last year, the Houthis have overrun Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and several provinces, forcing Hadi to flee the country.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists, said that after the Houthi fighters took control of Dhale’s central prison, they gave inmates a choice between joining their ranks or remaining incarcerated.

A Saudi-led coalition continued to carry out intensive airstrikes overnight and early Saturday morning targeting Houthi positions in north and east Aden. The airstrikes continued in the Houthi stronghold of Saada in the north of the country.

As night fell, the airstrikes rocked northern Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, prompting dozens of families to flee their homes.

The rebel-controlled Ministry of Interior said 11 people were killed, including four children, when a coalition airstrike hit the village of Hajer, west of Sanaa.

In Aden, pro-Hadi militias are facing off against a combined force of Houthi fighters aligned with forces loyal to Hadi’s predecessor — ousted autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh. Eyewitnesses said rebel snipers are shooting at their adversaries from the city’s rooftops.

Coalition planes airdropped weapons to fighters battling the Houthis in Aden early Friday, the first such airdrop since the strikes began 10 days ago.

Medical officials said six civilians were killed Saturday during fighting at the entrance of al-Ma’ala, a town on the outskirts of Aden.

Critics of the Houthis charge that they are an Iranian proxy. Iran has provided aid to the rebels, but both Tehran and the Houthis deny it has armed them.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi met with his country’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to discuss Egypt’s role in the Saudi-led Yemen campaign.

“Egypt will never abandon her brothers in the Gulf,” he said in remarks following the meeting and carried on state and private television channels.

El-Sissi added that he and his Gulf allies considered the Bab el-Mandeb strait an issue of national security.

The Houthis and their allies took up positions last week overlooking the strategic strait, which serves as a gateway to the Suez Canal, raising the risk they could threaten the key global shipping route with heavy weapons.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdel Salam said in a statement that “sowing fear about the Bab el-Mandeb aims to support aggression in Yemen,” adding that the rebels are open to talks with Egypt about the issue.

ERITREA – Article published the Thursday 02 April 2015 – Latest update : Thursday 02 April 2015 Rights groups fear EU policy shift on Eritrea

Eritrean migrants abducted and tortured in Egypt while trying to flee their country

Eritrean migrants abducted and tortured in Egypt while trying to flee their country

Memento/Delphine Deloget et Cécile Allegra
By Michel Arseneault

Academics and rights activists fear a rapprochement between the European Union and Eritrea, warning that EU policy-makers are making light of the Horn of Africa country’s dismal rights record in their bid to reduce the number of Eritreans who are ready to risk their lives at sea on their way to Europe.

Europe is changing its tune on Eritrea because it wants to roll back the numbers of Eritreanmigrants who board unseaworthy vessels to cross the Mediterranean Sea, scholars and activists fear.

The European Union is considering boosting its aid to Eritrea to fund infrastructure projects and help job creation with the hope that employed youths will cease to embark on the treacherous trek across the Sahara Desert  – typically via Sudan, Egypt and Libya – before embarking on Italian-bound boats.

This is a departure from EU policy, analysts note.

In recent years EU aid had, on the contrary, been on the downswing. Of the 12 million euros allocated under the 10th European Development Fund, only 54 million euros were spent in the past six years – primarily in agriculture and food security.

The EU launched last year the Khartoum Process, formerly known as the EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative, to discuss trafficking of Horn of Africa migrants with Eritrea and other African nations.

Frederica Mogherini, EU High Representative on Foreign and Security Policy, said in a November 2014 statement that participants had to tackle “the root causes of irregular migration: poverty, conflicts, lack of resources”, without referring to the Eritrean regime’s rights record.

“The EU is making moves to bring a rogue state like Eritrea into the international fold, which is commendable,” said London-based British-Eritrean activist and scientist Noel Joseph. “But it has to be linked to clear changes on the ground.”

Activists like Joseph argue that Brussels should use a carrot-and-stick approach.

“The EU approach should be to say ‘OK, we will engage with you [but] you have to change x, y and z’,” said Joseph in a phone interview.

There are fears that European nations will also make it more difficult for Eritrean asylum-seekers to obtain refugee status in Europe.

The United Kingdom has published new guidelines on Eritrean asylum-seekers.

If they are enforced, it will no longer be sufficient for Eritreans who reach the UK to make a refugee claim based on their fear of persecution under the “National Service”, Eritrea’s open-ended military service, that has until now been described as degrading and inhuman.

“It seems that the sole purpose of the Home Office Guidelines is to stem this flow disregarding the consequences on those who desperately need protection against persecution— forced labour — accompanied with severe punishment regimes,” wrote Gaim Kibreab, a London South Bank University professor in an op-ed piece in Asmarino.com, a pro-opposition website.

The Home Office Guidelines for Eritrean Asylum-Seekers appear to have come under the influence of a controversial Danish Immigration Service Report that casts recent developments in Asmara in a positive light, citing it 48 times.

“They reported that there was evidence to believe that the indefinite character [of the National Service] was changed but we don’t have that evidence from independent sources,” observes Mirjam Van Reisen, an Amsterdam Univesity College political scientist.

The Danish document has been so controversial that Copenhagen has backpedaled on its decision to base its own immigration policy guidelines on it, according to Danish media reports.

“The criticism has led Danish authorities to no longer use the report as basis for policy,” according to Van Reisen.

Scholars have joined Eritrean activists and former diplomats to call on Brussels to shun Asmara until President Issaias Afeworki allows UN investigators to enter the country.

A three-member UN Commission of Inquiry has been barred from traveling to Eritrea to carry out its work.

In a damning report to the UN Human Rights Council in mid-March, commission head Michael Smith said the Eritrean regime uses extra-judicial executions, enforced disappearances and incommunicado detentions to silence critics.

Afeworki, he noted, uses “pervasive state control and ruthless repression,” which has led to a massive exodus from Eritrea, the second largest source of migrants risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean.

The UN investigators were able to establish the situation on the ground through oral and written testimony from more than 500 Eritreans in exile.

The Eritrean representative to Geneva, Tesfamicael Gerahtu, rejected commission findings.

“There is no gross and systematic violation of human rights in Eritrea,” he said.

Asmara has often blamed is neighbour Ethiopia and the “no war, no peace” situation that has followed the war as justification for its failure to implement the 1997 constitution, which provides for democratic government and fundamental rights.

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management unit declined a request for an interview.

TAGS: ERITREAANALYSISHORN OF AFRICASMUGGLINGHUMAN TRAFFICKINGHUMAN RIGHTSEUROPEAN UNIONMIGRATIONIMMIGRATION

African Asylum-Seekers in Israel: Crying for Justice at the Passover Seder by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz 1 day ago

When the ancient Israelites left Egypt, they were attacked during their long trek to the Promised Land. This has been the story of the Jewish nation for millennia: responding to persecutions and expulsions, which led to the unprecedented existential threat in the twentieth century, culminating with the creation of modern Israel as a refuge. The world, all too often, was silent. For us, with the fortitude to stand up for the commandments of justice, we dare not emulate the shameful example when Jews were refugees on our own doorstep. If there is one thing that Israel must get right, it is to serve as a global model for handling vulnerable, at-risk refugees. This Pesach, our hearts must be opened to the living haggadah.

Today, more than forty five thousand asylum-seekers from Africa in Israel have been marginalized, imprisoned, and informed of their approaching deportation. Some have left voluntarily since they don’t want to be held in prison indefinitely. Many had fled for their lives: from genocide in Darfur, from ethnic cleansing in the Nuba Mountains, from slavery in Eritrea, and from extreme poverty and crushing political oppression. While worldwide, 60 to 80 percent of refugees from Sudan and Eritrea gain refugee status, in Israel the number is far less with only about 1 percent (in 2011: 1 in nearly 5,000) being given refugee status.

This week, the Israeli government announced it is “planning to forcibly deport Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to ‘third countries.’ Those who refuse to leave will be jailed in Saharonim prison for an indefinite amount of time.” Specifically, according to Israel’s Interior Ministry, asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea will have thirty days to leave Israel for a developing country that is not their home of origin (Rwanda or Uganda, probably), after which they will be subject to indefinite detention. There is no assurance that these asylum seekers will be granted refugee status in these countries either (each has its own violent political past) or that their safety is indeed guaranteed.

This policy appears to contradict the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 1951 Convention, of which Israel is a signatory nation. The document gives refugees certain rights, such as “the right not to be expelled” except in rare cases, such as criminal activity or if the refugee reflects a threat to the host state; the right “not to be punished for illegal entry,” and the right to “housing,” “education,” and “public relief and assistance.” The Convention indicates further that all refugees have the right to due process to appeal their case.

The hostility toward Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers remains strong. Unfortunately, the 1954 Prevention of Infiltration law,amended in 2012, has been used to stain all asylum seekers as “infiltrators.” Regrettably, the Israeli law does not discriminate between an infiltrator and an asylum-seeker. There are political leaders who have seized upon this and not only ignored the problem, but shamed the vulnerable populations. MK Miri Regev, of Likud, referred to these asylum seekers as “a cancer in our body”; this incendiary rhetoric led to a riot against asylum-seekers in the summer of 2012.

Many have opposed this hostile approach, from individuals, NGOs, and members of the government. Indeed, Israel’s High Court of Justice has twice struck down laws authorizing the indefinite detention of asylum seekers and ordered the closure of the Holot detention facility. The Knesset, nevertheless, responded before the recent elections by authorizing the detention of refugees for up to twenty months.

We are asking that their claims be processed and assessed, rather than deport them to their more-than-possible deaths. Israel cannot and will not merely absorb all those seeking asylum. The borders are now secure (only about 20 people came through last year) but those who entered already must responsibly be protected and put through the international law process.
And this is where the Haggadah can be a light for Jews to consider the plight of these vulnerable people, who only seek the liberty to go about their lives in peace. If we let our encounters with the traditional Passover story ring hollow, then it leaves us empty in a wash of nostalgia that doesn’t agitate us in the present. The rabbis taught:

For the greatest joy is to bring happiness to the hearts of the poor, the orphans, the widows, and the strangers. For one who brings happiness to the hearts of these unfortunate individuals resembles the Divine Presence, as it says, “[God] revives the spirit of the lowly and the brokenhearted” [Is. S7:15] (Sukkah 49b).

To feel the full joy of Passover, indeed to actualize the ethos of the festival, we must commit to making our voices heard. In this way, the dignity of asylum-seekers in our land must be honored. For once we were refugees and that legacy is engrained in our national psyche to this day. It is only appropriate then, that our duty is to shepherd the ailing peoples of the world, leading them towards equity, fairness, and love. These asylum-seekers are part of our holy story. Will we have the spiritual sensitivity at the seder to hear them crying out from our haggadah?
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz is the Executive Director of the Valley Beit Midrash, the Founder & President of Uri L’Tzedek, the Founder and CEO of The Shamayim V’Aretz Institute and the author of seven books on Jewish ethics.  Newsweek named Rav Shmuly one of the top 50 rabbis in America.”