Africa News: Eritrea must be pushed on urgent rights reforms: US Congressmen – 21 November

  • Africa News reports on the urgent demand from the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission that the US government tie a reset of diplomatic relations with Eritrea to human rights reforms in the country.
  • In their letter, co-chairs Randy Hulgren and James P. McGovern welcome the “ground-breaking peace measures” initiated in July but emphasise that there has been “no evidence of human rights reforms” since then.
  • The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission calls upon Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to address four concrete steps for tangible human rights reform in Eritrea: an end to indefinite national service and the release of all conscripts who have served longer than 18 months; an end to active religious persecution; the release of political prisoners and an end to the systematic imprisonment of alleged dissidents; and an end to travel restrictions preventing Eritreans from leaving the country.

Mining.com: China’s Zijin clears last regulatory condition for $1.4B Nevsun takeover – 20 November

  • Canadian mining company Nevsun Resources announced on Tuesday that China’s Zijin Mining has received approval from Chinese and Canadian authorities for a $1.4bn “friendly takeover”.
  • Mining.com reports that Beijing-backed Zijin beat an earlier hostile takeover bid from Lundin Mining, and can now add Nevsun’s flagship Bisha copper-zinc mine in Eritrea to its growing list of assets in African and Australia.

Sudan Tribune: Sudan frees 84 Eritrean victims of human trafficking – 20 November

  • The Sudan Tribune reports that a Sudanese security force rescued 84 Eritrean victims of human trafficking and arrested 10 of their captors following clashes in Kassala.
  • Among the victims were 51 women, all of whom suffered dire humanitarian conditions, torture and severe abuse while kept hostage by the traffickers for up to two months.
  • Sudan is considered a country of origin and transit for illegal migration and human trafficking, and the successful operation was praised by the acting governor, who said it proved that the security forces are capable of protecting the state.
  • Alam al-Din Hashim, Director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) operating in Kassala said that “all the hostages came from Eritrea and some of them have been freed after their families paid the ransom”.

The Guardian: Libya: child refugees abused in UK-funded detention centres – 20 November

  • The Guardian reports that the British government is helping to fund 26 detention centres across Libya, where child refugees, including Eritreans, are facing abuse and malnutrition.
  • The centres, funded by the UK and other EU member states, are designed to prevent refugees from reaching Europe. European countries have spent tens of millions trying to prevent asylum seekers from conflict zones, such as Eritrea and Sudan, entering the region.
  • The Guardian spoke to adolescent Eritrean refugees who told of execrable living conditions which lead to dramatic health issues and a climate of fear amongst detainees.
  • Giulia Tranchina of Wilsons solicitors, which is representing a 17-year-old Eritrean boy in London, said: “European governments, in our name, with our taxpayers’ money, are paying Libyan authorities, militias and army generals to continue detaining and torturing refugees on our behalf, to make sure they don’t get to Europe.”

Al Jazeera: The lifting of UN sanctions will not solve Eritrea’s problems – 19 November

  • Al Jazeera publishes an opinion piece from Abraham T Zere, executive director of PEN Eritrea in exile, condemning the lifting of sanctions against Eritrea.
  • Zere writes that the regime “continues to maintain its own form of crippling “sanctions” on the general population, limiting its rights and freedoms”, and that there are “no serious signs that these sanctions are going anywhere.”
  • The Eritrean market is now “dependent on Ethiopian producers” who cross the border to sell their goods, while Eritrean businesses remain crippled by severe economic policies.
  • Zere suggests that “the only economic sphere that could benefit from the lifting of the UN sanctions would be mining”, but that “the proceeds from that industry are also unlikely to trickle down to ordinary Eritreans” because profits are tightly controlled by the regime.
  • Zere expresses worries that the rehabilitation of Eritrea on the world’s stage would only embolden President Afwerki to tighten his grip on power even more.

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