“”Essentially economic refugees””

In his previous career as an employee of the Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and later as Manager of the canton of Vaud Claude Begle in dozens of countries around the globe has stayed on. He was in Eastern Europe, where Communism collapsed. He experienced the insular Cuba, still revolutionary Fidel Castro ruled with heavy hand and told the West to the mortal enemy.

Due to his years of travel, the former Chairman of the Board of Swiss Post is – he was elected in the autumn for the CVP in the National Council and sits on the Foreign Affairs Commission – able to put political conditions and living standards in different States in an international comparison.

Private inspection

BAgles foreign experience is also making his title “Erythree – situation et perspective” Eritrea study in February to a fascinating, fact-based review. For Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga (SP) the findings gathered on 15 pages and recommendations but pose a problem: in central locations is the statements of Federal Councillor contradicted, that always emphasizes prison and torture threatens Eritrean refugees returning home, which is why one must grant them protection. The anxious words of lies, their denunciation of Eritrea as “Dictatorship” and “Unrechtsstaat” have allowed the Switzerland to become an attractive destination: alone by 2015 9966 migrants were Eritrean origin in the Switzerland an asylum application. A new record.

What brought the Swiss foreign policy expert to paper, are impressions, which he won during a trip by Swiss politicians declared as private in the Horn of Africa. Beginning of the year was Begle together with the Aargau cantonal Susanne Hochuli (green), as well as the NationalrA�ten Thomas Aeschi (SVP, ZG), Christian wasserfallen (FDP, BE) and Yvonne Feri (SP, AG) in Eritrea, to sign up to make your own picture of the situation. After the return, the media attention was great: with the exception of Feri group was of the opinion, the allegedly dire relations were “a Western tall tale” (quote Hanley).

Discrete action

A discrete task remained that Begle wrote a detailed assessment, which he had to Simonetta Sommaruga and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter (FDP), several principal officials as well as members of the foreign policy Commission, meanwhile. The BaZ, which exists in the document, first published excerpts from it.

The silent approach of the CVP exponent seems deliberate. Begle wants a move away from Sommaruga Eritrea welcoming culture. He builds pressure but rather behind the scenes instead of through the speakers of the media. The moderate Romand wants to avoid, as to be perceived right-wing populist or Stirrup holder of the SVP, which had long the head of the Federal Department of Justice and police (FDJP) on their hit list leads.

As the BaZ speaks to him on his expertise and the discrepancy the official migration policies of the Federal Government, Begle thinks because even with the fluency of a diplomat: “I am interested in solutions.” And Sommaruga: “as long as there is no negotiation successes to report, she will emphasize, not to be able to adapt the asylum practice at Eritreans. I have the impression, that efforts underway are internal to the Office to make improvements but.” In this way he leaves far a gap the Government woman of the door, so that she can understand but still a U-turn without losing face.

Change the tone

Insight’s not looking currently but Sommaruga. More like stubbornness. Her Supreme Asylverantwortlicher Mario Gattiker, Director of the Secretariat of State for migration recently regarding Eritrea told the Tages-Anzeiger: “the opening has not occurred, appropriate hopes have not been fulfilled.”

Begle comes in his analysis but to a completely different result. On page 13, he writes: “the most striking fact observed, consists in a change of tone: the Government shows the will to the opening and development.” Certainly, the confessions are still fragile and there is much suspicion of the international community by the authorities in Asmara. The suspicion prevented the Government but not from last Friday (12.2.2016; Note (d. red.), for the first time in eight years, to allow access to the prison by Sunder an expert group of the United Nations.”

An essential aspect, particularly since the United Nations condemned the East African State has often, to prohibit the visits to detention centres.

Now take the chance

Parallel to this willingness, Begle explains further, to accelerate the “rhythm of foreign delegations”, which would come into the country. “The Eritreans want to allow the international community, to form an opinion on the spot. Despite their fears, and are ready to open reserved.” The Switzerland must take advantage of this opportunity “to draw things in a good direction. To be it is necessary this cautious: the Eritreans were pretty thin-skinned and convinced of their right. “It must be important to build a mutual trust.”

Begle stressed, he tried to apply maximum objectivity in his research. He was often alone to independently gather facts. In the annex to his report, he lists with whom he once interviewed: including several Ministers of the re gimes, Ambassadors of various countries, representatives of the United Nations, as well as people from the Eritrean population reside. At a clandestine meeting he had can replace themselves even with supporters of the opposition, he reveals the BaZ.

Safer than most countries in Africa

On the basis of all these meetings, Begle concludes that “excessive”, comparing Eritrea to North Korea. “Certainly, there is a deficit in democracy and rule of law. What we saw was nothing frightening. They provided told us a strongly repressive system with total control, a kind of �GefA�ngnis with free Himmel�. Each participant can but confirm our delegation: we could move freely and without �Schutzengel� through the streets of Asmara and talk to people without a supervisor. This freedom of movement existed in the provinces outside the capital.”

“Damning reports”, which as about human have written Rights Watch or Amnesty International in the past international organizations, Begle reflected critically. The last year’s publication of the United Nations, in which serious human rights violations and forced labor were accused of the Eritrean regime, was probably a “copy collection of previous reports” In addition, Begle doubting statements that get shot, who escape. “It has heard little from those who order Ethiopia to leave the country. According to my information the guards let most pass people.”

What comes to the Eritrean people, so he met this as “hochsympatisch”, “friendly”, “eager not to radical”. In Eritrea, the security was “clearly better than in most other African countries”, and low, corruption remains Begle. There is also no tensions between Christians and Muslims. The country appear just before they themselves no longer have closed the outside world it comparable with Eastern Europe or Cuba. “If it is also most likely that there will be abuse, things seem so to improve.” Eritrea sees himself forced to open, search but still for the mode, how this could be done without risk.

Find better paid work

In the introduction to his descriptions, Begle is the key question, which arises from the Swiss perspective: it’s in the many Eritrean asylum seekers, refugees who are at risk to life and limb (version Sommaruga), or to immigrants who are expecting a perspektiven-richer life in the heart of Europe? Clearly fails the conclusion of the CVP politician: “what I have seen makes me come to the conclusion that’s essentially involves economic refugees looking for a better world. You leave with the hope, to find a better paid job abroad and to benefit from their family and the country. However this escape is sometimes combined with other considerations, to escape about a totalitarian and archaic system, in which the people can not unfold.”

Begle proposes a timetable as the Switzerland could stop the high influx of Eritrea. In his eyes, a key to the success is to create an incentive that motivates the refugees to voluntary repatriation. He leads the example Israel in the field that 3500 euro each traveler home Eritreans with are on the way. “We could speak with returnees and it seems good, it works. When they return home they have experienced no problems”, writes Begle. To ensure that nobody will victims of persecution, he calls for the deployment of independent observers. As crucial he considers it with other countries such as Germany, to deny Norway or England and co-ordinated to proceed. The Switzerland should send an official parliamentary group and deepen diplomatic relations. At the same time, development aid must be expanded.

Meaningless statement

What does the Secretary of State for Migration (SEM) to BAgles advice? On request, the BaZ gets sent to a meaningless statement: “The SEM ongoing knowledge of international organizations and NGOs as well as by scientists, journalists, and other trusted sources evaluates.” To how to explain the remarkable differences in the findings of the National Council and the Eritrea specialists of the SEM’s is evasive, the assessments of the Federal Government be released “in may 2015 within the framework of a detailed report for the European asylum support Office (EASO)”.

It is obvious: the knowledge, the Center leader in 66 has quietly and differentiated reproduced, bring Sommaruga current asylum practice in emergency of Declaration of. Begle wrote no cheering report on Eritrea – he puts into perspective the horror that is painted in the offices of Bern on the wall but strong. The Federal Councillor recorded so far stoically at her position maneuvered himself increasingly isolated. The backing is dwindling. Even moderate CVP exponent begin to turn away.

(Basler Zeitung)

Key statements

“What I have seen makes me come to the conclusion that’s essentially involves economic refugees looking for a better world.”

“The Government shows the will to open up and develop. For the first time in eight years entering a prison was granted UN representatives.”

“It is an exaggeration to compare Eritrea with North Korea. Certainly, there is a deficit in democracy and rule of law. What we saw was nothing frightening but.” “The Switzerland should create incentives such as Israel for the voluntary repatriation of refugees.”

Source: DEHAI-Eritrea OnLine,