BBC News: Eritrea sanctions to be lifted after nine years – 14 November

  • The BBC was one of many outlets to report on the widely anticipated United Nations Security Council decision to lift the arms embargo and sanctions against Eritrea.
  • Initially sanctioned in 2009 for its support to militant group Al-Shabaab in Somalia, Eritrea has also been condemned for its poor human rights records and mandatory national service conscription.
  • Now that Ethiopia and Eritrea have signed a peace agreement and ceased hostilities, a resolution drafted in the UK and supported by the US and Western allies was expected to result in the lifting of the sanctions.
  • Writing for The Conversation, Martin Plaut, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, analyses the UNSC decision to lift the sanctions against Eritrea.
  • Plaut argues that although the sanctions had little real effect on Eritrea’s politics, they did impact on the country’s image, marginalising it as a pariah state and drawing attention to its human rights record. Furthermore, the lifting of sanctions will not prevent citizens from fleeing the country, which has still not established any programme of democratic reforms like those undertaken in Ethiopia. He also argues that despite the lifting of sanctions, the US is unlikely to change its critical stance on Eritrea regarding religious persecution in the country.

Eritrea Hub: Eritrea Focus Statement – November 2018 – 13 November

  • Eritrea Hub publishes a statement issued by Eritrea Focus on the current situation in Eritrea ahead of the expected lifting of UN sanctions on 14 November.
  • While it welcomes peace with Ethiopia, Eritrea Focus expresses deep worries that nothing has changed in Eritrea, and that the situation has in fact deteriorated. The number of refugees fleeing the country has increased, and Eritrea continues to practice a policy of indefinite military conscription.
  • Eritrea Focus calls for the “UK, its international friends and allies to maintain pressure on the President Isaias Afwerki until Eritrea is a democratic nation that respects the rights enshrined in the UN Charter.”

The Guardian: ‘Pure joy’: refugees fleeing conflict delighted by first snow in Canada – 12 November

  • The Guardian reports on a viral video that shows two Eritrean children enjoying the sight of snow for the very first time in Canada.
  • The young brother and sister arrived in Canada as refugees, and are now benefitting from one of Canada’s programmes to resettle asylum seekers, which helped more than 25,000 people in need between 2015 and 2016.
  • The video was posted to Twitter by Toronto resident Rebecca Davies, who is hosting the children until they find permanent housing, and shared by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to his 4.83 million followers.
  • Davies is a member of the Ripple Refugee Project, which has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help sponsor and resettle four refugee families from Syria and Eritrea.

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