Home OPERC Listen to us, Eritrean Refugees appeal to int'l world
Listen to us, Eritrean Refugees appeal to int'l world PDF Print E-mail
Written by Afrique en ligne   
Saturday, 14 November 2009 23:10
eritrean refugeesEthiopia - Eritrean refugees in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, have urged the international community to denounce a recent statement by their home government concerning their situation and instead listen to their plights.
Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, the Organising Committee of Eritrean Refugees said the world should strongly condemn the recent attempt by Eritrea's government which they said is meant to deceive the UNCHR Executive Committee about their situation.

According to the committee, the press conference, attended by representatives of UNHCR, the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and Eritrean refugees in the Ethiopia's capital was to echo 'the plights of the refugees to the international community.'


Eritrea's delegation, led by its Ambassador to Geneva, Girma Asmerom, submitted testimonial to UNHCR Executive Committee during its meeting held from 28 September to 2 October, indicating that there were no Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia.


The testimonial, which the refugees labeled 'irresponsible, malicious, false and ridiculous,' stated that the refugees in Ethiopia are 'victims of human trafficking that is coordinated and financed by the Ethiopian military and security. They are Eritreans incarcerated in deplorable camps controlled and managed by the Ethiopian army.'

However, the organising committee said the refugees were 'victims of the oppressive autocratic regimentation of the Eritrean government.'

The refugee camps in Ethiopia are administered by UNHCR and ARRA, according to Samuel Ande, a member of the committee and one of the Eritrean refugees in Addis.

According to the committee, the testimonial was meant to cover the continuation of inhuman actions committed by the Eritrean government.

People in Eritrea suffer arbitrary arrest, torture and extra judicial killings if they are suspected of having dissenting opinion from the government, the committee said.

'The regime oppresses and imposes unlimited pressures on all religious institutions,' it alleged.

In the area of education, the committee said students are forced to attend classes in military camps.

'The government of Eritrea closed the sole university in the country and forced college and secondary school students to attend classes inside military camp under the barrel of the gun,' the committee claimed in its statement.

All Eritrean youth, men and women, above the age of 18 years have to undergo a mandatory national military training service of six to 18 months duration.

In addition to being a country with no independent or semi-independent press, Eritreans are indiscriminately and aggressively driven into forced labour, the committee said.

'What is going on in Eritrea, in this regard, is nothing but outright practicing of slavery in disguise,' it lamented.

Due to such political oppression, many young Eritreans die and get thrown into the Red or Mediterranean seas while attempting 'to reach safety in western democ racies', according to the committee.

Hence, the committee said, the situation of Eritrean refugees in neighboring countries, including Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen, needs more attention from the international community 'than ever before'.
 
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