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Meseley Newsletter

ብድሆ ኣንጻር ኣተሓሳስባና


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Eritrea continues to experience what can only be described as a national and international tragedy. Over 10 000 innocent citizens have arbitrarily been arrested and detained without any due process of law. They are held in communicado in remote areas, usually underground prisons under the military or the security apparatus. First-hand testimonies of victims who managed to escape have told unimaginable torture, maltreatment, and extrajudicial execution. Their basic rights have been violated just because they either called for democratic transformation, expressed their views, or simply because of their religious belief. At the same time the youth flee their country to escape from the indefinite and forced military conscription and forced labour (without pay).

As a result, hundreds of thousands of Eritreans, mostly the youth, have fled their country in one the biggest exodus of people. The flight continues unabated. Many of these refugees face arduous journeys in search of safe haven. This has exposed them to human smugglers and traffickers. The tragedies in Sinai desert (Egypt/Israel) where many Eritreans have been kidnapped and their organs harvested in the most gruesome way illustrate the gravity of their situation. The 2011 drowning of around 400 Eritrean refugee  in the Mediterranean and the October 2013 Lampedusa tragedy which took the lives of over 360 Eritreans are not isolated incidents rather reflect the daily realities of Eritrean refugees. Many others get killed while crossing the border into neighbouring countries, and those who survive languish in refugee camps such as in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Yemen. Others continue to experience lack of protection and are mistreated by host countries such as Libya, Israel, Italy, Djibouti and South Africa.

The EMDHR calls upon the South African government and the international community to:

1.   Provide adequate protection to all Eritrean asylum seekers and refugees.

2.   Provide humanitarian assistance and seek durable solutions to those who are in precarious conditions and living in limbo.

3.   Put pressure on the authoritarian regime to immediately release all prisoners of conscience, and hand over power to the people.

Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR) Refugee Protection Office

20 June 2014

Pretoria, South Africa

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