Eritrea: The truth is out there

Eritrea is liable for some time to much criticism and the Committee of the United Nations Human Rights will consider in June the qualification of the charges against him “crime against humanity”. If you dig things, as I got the opportunity, and we do not rest on what is commonly spread, one discovers a different truth …

I met Eritrean their national territory, Eritrean refugee status during their application and after obtaining it, NGO personnel and also welcoming the Eritrean authorities in Asmara. Here’s what I discovered …

First begin by making a reminder of what Eritrea. This unrecognized countries in the Horn of Africa is located on the Red Sea between Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti and faces the shores of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. strategic location in this conflict region at the gates of the Middle East and must for joining the Suez Canal.

Eritrea since the middle of the second half of the 19th century was Italian. Following the defeat of Italy in the Second World War, the Organization of the United Nations decided in 1952 to federate Eritrea and Ethiopia. The latter annex Eritrea in 1962. Thus began a war of independence that will last for decades and will end in May 1991. In 1993, independence was recognized internationally.

Since independence, some territorial disputes have emerged in particular with Ethiopia. This conflict continues in 2000 with the Algiers agreements but Ethiopia denies the border demarcation between the two states is worth a deployment of peacekeepers in the region, a UN arbitration in 2003. Ethiopia rejects this arbitration and continues today to occupy part of Eritrean territory. Many Ethiopian provocations take place regularly in this border area now imposing a climate of tension in Asmara (the Eritrean capital) to remain on the alert and keep the country in a state of emergency despite the theoretical end of the conflict resolved by UN agencies.

Eritrea is a country of just over 6 million people with a total area of 121 320 km2. Ethiopia meanwhile has an area 10 times and a population of 91 million. It is understood that the balance of power may worry the Eritrean authorities especially when Ethiopia said clearly do not accept the boundaries established by the international community and continues thereby to occupy part of the territory of its neighbor.

The Eritrean government expects an attack from Ethiopia at any time. Let us not forget the strategic location of Eritrea, by the sea, which since independence deprives the port of Ethiopia, requiring it to pass such by Djibouti to import and export by sea. Eritrea is a mountainous region with many metal deposits (gold, copper …). Ethiopia therefore has every interest in annexing again Eritrean territory to his.

Due to this state-emergency and precariousness of their independence, Eritrean headed by a regime that has to be strong. Democracy is not yet possible given the influence and pressure maintained by Ethiopia with the support of some countries still in search of influence for the interests of their economies, like the United States of America. The State of Eritrea is too afraid of losing its real sovereignty by the use by these foreign powers tools of democracy (media, NGOs, political parties) to take power.

The subject can be discussed, but from a Marxist independence movement, the government is wary of the influence of the western world. The result is that the economy is weak and the country is poor. However, the government takes care of the needy, no starving in Eritrea. The state organizes free distribution of basic commodities. School and university are free and access to the health system.

Given the very weak economic activity and the state of emergency, the country and its people are in a permanent mobilization to meet the administrative needs and defense of it. Thus, each of Eritrea after a 18-month military service sees assigned to a work of public utility. A kind of paid civil service, low saw the means of the state, and whose duration is variable. Sometimes it can take several years.

The Eritrean government is the target of much criticism and accusations. A commission of inquiry of the Council for Human Rights (HRC) of the United Nations was even established. A report damning charge and was presented by its chairman Mike Smith and his Special Rapporteur Keetharuth Sheila.

For several months we see in many Eritrean media described as fleeing the regime of their country and seeking political refugee status. Sometimes certain media relay the number of 5000 per month. This is a fun number because it would mean that 1% of the national Eritrean population would flee the country each year. When we study things more closely and that we from all the world survey, ie the Eritrean government, “refugees” before their application for political asylum and later the personal framing the NGO receive, but the Eritrean population there in Eritrea, one perceives a different truth.

Let’s start with the number of migrant. How can some organizations advance the number 5000? Well, because many African relatives or countries bordering Eritrea Eritrean say. Why do this? Just to get political refugee status because it is always given to Eritrean who say flee the regime. If they did not do that, Sudanese, Ethiopians and others would see renewed in their country, because not being in “danger of death”.

You will see, the situation is very paradoxical.

easily given asylum to Eritrean as they call themselves in danger. Their country is closed to journalists and NGOs, it is very easy for them to tell what they want. Nothing is verifiable. As the thing works so well, it’s always the same story that is told. And if the one who wants to get refugee status is mistaken in his account, it is common that the translator corrects himself to tell the story that has the best chance to give access to sesame. If ever the opinion was not positive, it is recommended that the translator made a mistake and request another often will he, tell the right story.

So why do they flee?

They flee because they want to escape the civil service. Service which can last long and that somehow prevents them from beginning their life to them. There are also fleeing because the economic situation is very precarious. The average wage is less than $ 100 per month. Young people who have not experienced war of independence may feel less inclined to accept the state of emergency in which they live constantly, especially since they have access to all the imagery and the Western dream by Internet. Contrary to what might be imagined, Asmara, capital of Eritrea, is filled with cafe providing access via computers or wireless internet. Eritrean use Facebook a lot. The connection is certe slow, but it is there and it is a window on the outside world. One can understand these young people who aspire to something else. This also is not true of all, many Eritrean youth prefer to stay to participate in the maintenance and development of their country.

The government is aware of this and knows that this strategy is, in part, orchestrated by its neighbor, Ethiopia, with the help of the United States. Several emails released by WikiLeaks shows clearly that the Ethiopian government maintains contact with the CIA about the destabilization of Eritrea. The CIA says to his partner how to feed the will of desertion Eritrean youth. All this requires, among others, the establishment of opposition websites that boast the ability to obtain political refugee status in European countries, this involves a housing allowance and a … This is why a few months, the Eritrean authorities organize the visit of their country and open cautiously to reporters to show the truth. They also made a tour of European capitals influential to make their voices heard. The country also seeks to gradually open up to some foreign investors: Canada, Italy, Qatar, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia … It is understandable that the US wants a piece of the …

So the paradox. More Eritreans leave their country and tells stories for asylum, the more it feeds the thesis that speaks of forced labor, torture, rape …

If all this were true, why after obtaining political refugee visa, Eritrean diaspora now living abroad, they would pay a share of their income to support the country’s reconstruction? Why go back they in their country to see their families, taking care not to stamp their passports at the border but a piece of paper with the collusion of customs officers not to leave traces and the risk of being removed status political refugee ? For what refugee return to his country if there were truly threatened with death or torture by the regime?

These economic migrants, finally, even if they aspire to a life other than the one proposed today in Eritrea, love their country.

As you can see, things are different views in this light.

As in many African countries, why the few people who run the country do not they live like kings? Why children do they do, they too, their civil service? Why have not actually that small salaries? Why gunmen did not they find at the corner of every street? Why religious and ethnic communities they live together without worries? In the streets of Asmara people are smiling. Christians, Muslims and Jews meet and live together without problems. Even mixed marriages are possible. I can testify.

When the CHR submitted its report in June 2015 in Geneva, hundreds of Eritreans from all over Europe came together to show their disapproval when the conclusions thereof. The same Eritreans few months or years before left their country by distorting their experiences in order to obtain asylum.

So there is a real injustice that is experienced by Eritrea and its people when the CHR report proposes to accuse the State of Eritrea as a “crime against humanity”. The study of this issue is scheduled for June 2016. Here’s how to destabilize a country, how to outcast of the world, because if this qualification is held, how long will it take before American and Ethiopians arrive in Eritrea to “liberate” the country?

already seen strategy. Hopefully for the State of Eritrea and its people that this time things do not go like this.

Henri Fourcadis

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Source: DEHAI-Eritrea OnLine