Eritrea Hub: Libyan – Italian co-operation: a worrying development for Eritreans – 11 March

  • Eritrea Hub republishes a statement from Libya News Agency LANA announcing that Libyan officials will be visiting Libyan citizens held in Italian prisons “on charges of engaging in trafficking offences or what’s become known as illegal migration”.
  • Eritrea Hub says that the role of this visit is not clear. There is already evidence of Sudanese security officials working in Italy with the support of the Italian government, to assist in the return of African refugees and migrants from Italy.
  • The LANA statement reads: “[The Libyan embassy] said it was prepared to take all measures and arrangements needed to enable relatives to gain visas, and facilitate visits to their relatives in the prisons.”

The Guardian: ‘My patient was trafficked from Eritrea and raped. She cries, so do I’ – 11 March

  • The Guardian’s weekly column “My working week” features Natalie Miller, a GP specialising in working with homeless people at Great Chapel Street Medical Centre in London.
  • Dr Miller writes: “My last patient of the day [Tuesday] was trafficked from Eritrea, and gang-raped in the process. She cries because she misses her children and gives me a small gift for my daughter. I hug her, though I’m not sure I’m supposed to. Then I cry too. I’ll never understand how humans can be so cruel to one another. Then I see the note and realise I didn’t sort out her diabetes.”

Ethiopian News Agency: Ethiopia: Eritrea Extends Condolences Over Ethiopian Plane Crash – 10 March

  • Ethiopian News Agency reports that the government of Eritrea expressed its condolences over the deaths of 157 people who are believed to have been on board the Ethiopian Airlines plane en route to Kenya that crashed on 10 March.
  • Eritrea’s Foreign Minister Osman Saleh expressed his “deepest condolences and sympathy” to the government and people in Ethiopia as well as the families of the deceased.

Radio France Internationale: Eritrean Ambassador Fights For Women’s Rights After Years Fighting A War – 09 March

  • RFI reports on the International Women’s Day celebrations in Eritrea, one of only 20 countries to celebrate 8 March as a public holiday. IWD “strikes a particular chord for women in the Horn of Africa, who have struggled not only to obtain equal rights but independence.”
  • Hanna Simon, the Eritrean ambassador to France since 2014, says the fight for gender equality is steeped in the fight for freedom. Hanna tells RFI: “[The] struggle is never over. Never. It never ends. […] Yes, now we have peace after being at loggerheads for more than 20 years. But now that peace is here, we are all trying to get the maximum from this peace; first of all to maintain it.”
  • Hanna says: “When I joined the struggle, I realised that there is something they call double oppression. I realised that there is a double exploitation.”
  • Asked what advice she would give to girls and other women to overcome such hurdles, Hanna said: “I want to tell them that we have only to fight ourselves, not any other person.”

Eritrea Hub: Thousands of Eritreans Join the Campaign – ‘Enough!’: Eritrean Spring? – 09 March

  • Eritrea Hub republishes a post that first appeared on the Eritrea Watch Facebook page about a new campaign on the theme of “No to Dictatorship – Yes to Justice” that it says has begun to galvanise the Eritrean diaspora since its launch in February.
  • The movement attracted “tens of thousands” participants in its first month, and claims support from diverse sections of society. No particular Eritrean group has claimed responsibility for the Campaign.
  • Chiefly through social media, the campaign is demanding general reform, a release of prisoners, the implementation of the Constitution and an end to indefinite national service. One participant told Eritrea Watch: “We have had enough, no other people in the world can endure the injustice Eritreans face at home. I understand there is hundreds of demands. But if we do the first things first, like Constitution and rule of law – we can slowly get our country and livelihood back.” 
  • In response to the campaign Eritrean Minister of Information Yemane Meskel posted on Twitter: “Unable to fathom the historic/rapid regional changes, Eritrea’s avowed enemies & their local minions have remained confused & fazed for months now. This is why they are vainly scavenging for mundane issues to cast aspersions on the process. Prudence demands that they are ignored!”

Euractiv: Eritrea: an open-air prison, EU indifferent – 08 March

  • Benoit Lannoo, a consultant in policy strategies, interreligious dialogue and communication writes for Euractiv on the relations between EU countries and Eritrea.
  • Lannoo says: “Since this peace agreement was established, several European countries have rushed to normalize relations with Eritrea and seem to forget that the country is a dictatorship commonly known as the ‘North Korea of Africa’.”
  • “The European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, announced a €20 million project to link the Ethiopian border with the Eritrean coast’s ports after visiting the Eritrean capital Asmara last month. This can indeed boost the regional economy; but what kind of economic model does Eritrea have?”
  • Indefinite national service, writes Lannoo, is “nothing less than slavery, from which only pregnant women or mothers can be freed, which explains the marriages of underage children and the high birth rate of Eritrean women. Who can guarantee that EU-funded investments will not be used in projects built by such ‘volunteers’?”
  • Lannoo concludes: “Looking more closely at Eritrea’s geostrategic importance, everyone understands why this unhealthy regime is surviving. Seven different countries have a military base in the region; that explains everything.”





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