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The oppression of the Eritreans people must be stopped

Totalitarian system, generalized oppression of the population, national service for life, total absence of freedom, lack of means of communication, no future other than the pursuit of enslavement: this is the hell in which Eritreans people live, this is the hell that some are trying to flee.

Issayas Afeworki, hero of the war of independence against Ethiopia which lasted thirty years, became the tormentor of his people. Without a Constitution, without a Parliament, without an opposition, without elections, without free press, he governs with terror.

On the 18th of September 2001 he had his main opponents rounded up and put in prison. For the last sixteen years, no trial has taken place, no charges have been raised, and no news has reached the families. Are they even still alive?

Through Herculean efforts, some courageous people have managed to flee, eluding the sadistic vigilance of the State security. After months, sometimes years, wandering, traveling on foot, by truck, by boat, they arrived in Europe. Many have experienced torture, kidnappings and ransoms, or rapes. They all have seen friends and travel companions die.

How are those courageous survivors welcomed in Europe?

Both the most elementary morality and international law state that they should be received with dignity and should be granted refugee status immediately.
However, while asylum applications are successful in almost all cases, many delay the initiation of the procedure due to lack of information and accompaniment by the public authorities.

Moreover, those, who after several years apply for naturalization, are asked by authorities to go to the embassy of the country they have fled to obtain a passport, as necessary for the procedure. In order to do so, they have to sign a self-incriminating declaration in which they apologize for fleeing and claim to accept any punishment the government may take. As it exposes their relatives staying in the country to serious threats, many give up the process.

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What is the attitude of Europe toward Eritrea?

Obsessed by the fear of seeing refugees reach the continent, the European states grants Eritrea hundreds of millions of euros, in the hope that it will prevent Eritreans from fleeing their country. Moreover, they let it extort under duress a “Tax of 2%” of the revenues of the diaspora, despite UN condemnations of it. They also reach agreements with the criminal regime of Sudan, which entrusts to the former militia responsible of crimes against humanity in Darfur the control of certain parts of the border with Libya. There, they sometimes engage with somewhat questionable actors who exploit and mistreat refugees. Wrongly, Europeans are inspired by the disastrous refugee agreement with Turkey, with devastating effects on democracy and human rights.

The consequences of that policy are the opposite to the aims sought, and contrary to the fundamental values of the European Union: the regime in Asmara has not become less totalitarian, but stronger. Thus, the reasons to flee are reinforced and the dangers to do so are aggravated. The number of departing candidates does not decrease, and the number of dead and oppressed is increasing.

In order to help Eritreans build a future of freedom and prosperity and not of suffering, enslavement and exile, a few simple key actions must be taken.

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Firstly, public authorities in European countries must promptly inform the Eritreans who have reached the continent, with the aim of issuing them refugee status as soon as possible. The naturalization procedure must also be amended, so that Eritreans do not have to choose between access to citizenship and the safety of their relatives.

Next, European policies related to Eritrea must be profoundly changed, and the “2% Tax” must not be tolerated anymore, in order to stop contributing to the reinforcement of the totalitarian regime and of the oppression of its people, in particular the ones who are trying to flee.
To accomplish that, we must stop being paralyzed by the fear of seeing the damned of the Earth join Europe, and understand that the agreement with Turkey on refugees is an example to avoid, not to follow.

Finally, the families of the imprisoned opponents and anonymous ones must be supported, notably to obtain news from their relatives, for example by the sponsorship of public figures.
Opponents, activists and journalists in exile must also be supported so that a society made of diversity of opinion, vitality and freedom may be rebuilt.

For the end of the oppression of the Eritreans, it is morally right and politically urgent to act.

Benjamin Abtan, President of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement – EGAM, Coordinator of the Elie Wiesel Network of Parliamentarians of Europe for the Prevention of Mass Atrocities, Meron Estefanos, Journalist, Director of the Eritrean Initiative on Refugees Right (Eritrea, Sweden), Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, Presidents of the Sons and Daughters of the Jewish Deportees of France and UNESCO Honorary Ambassadors and Special Advisers for Education about the History of the Holocaust and for the Prevention of Genocide (Germany and France), Daniel Mekonnen, Professor, Lawyer, and co-founder of the Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (Eritrea, Switzerland), Asli Erdogan, Writer (Turkey), Khedijah Ali Mohamed-Nur, Director of the Network of Eritrean Women Limited, (Eritrea, UK), Kim Campbell, Former Prime Minister of Canada, President of the World Movement for Democracy (Canada), Amanuel Ghirmai, Journalist, co-founder of Radio Erena (France), Danis Tanović, Film Director (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Mussie Zerai, Priest, President of the Habeshia Agency Cooperation for Development (Eritrea, Italy), Rithy Panh, Writer, Documentary Maker (Cambodia, France), Vanessa Barhe, Co-founder and President of One Day Seyoum (Eritrea, UK), Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs (Spain), Feruz Werede, Activist against the “2% tax” (Eritrea, UK), Zineb El Rhazoui, Journalist (Morocco, France), Helen Kidane, Advocacy responsible for the Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (Eritrea, UK), Advija Ibrahimovic, Spokeswoman of Women of Srebrenica (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Mussie Ephrem, Human Rights Activist, former political leader (Eritrea / Sweden), Yonous Muhammadi, President of the Greek Forum for Refugees (Greece), Aaron Berhane, Journalit, Editor-in-Chief of Meftih (Eritrea, Canada), Oliviero Toscani, Plastic Artist (Italy), Selam Kidane, Human Rights Activist (UK), John Stauffer, Founder of the American Team for Displaced Eritreans (USA), Samuel Bizus, Human Rights Activist (Eritrea, USA), Martin Plaut, Journalist (UK)


  1. Birds of the same feather fly together.very few in the list are misguided ones and the vast majority are enemies of the Eritrean people. What can be expected from sellout element?

  2. Hi guys. Please leave Eritrean affairs to Eritreans. Isayas will continue to rule Eritrea for the foreseeable future because the alternative is disaster. Opposition groups are sectarian, regionalists or power hungry idiots. What Eritrea needs is lifting of sanctions. Now the rate of immigration to Europe and other illegal crossings have decreased. Eritrean in Sudan and Ethiopia take the wait and see approach to return to Eritrea.

    What the world should do is to campaign for the lifting of sanctions which was imposed with out any facts and above all to call Ethiopia to withdraw from the territories it still occupies to end the endless conscription the government has imposed.
    These are important steps Eritrea needs at the moment. Isayas is still our hero. He preserved our country and gave us identity.

  3. Eritrean aspiration for Independence was fueled by Arab zealots who consider themselves superior than African people. The footprints of the ELF and EPLF during the so-called struggle years will take you to the capitals of Syria, Gulf states, Iraq, Egypt and particularly to the Sudan as a staging platform of the struggle. The Sudan played a big role to bring EPLF and TPLF into power. Then the Eritrean people were asked to choose between slavery and freedom from their colonialist tormentors who happen to be Ethiopians in EPLF’s mind. At gun point, they were told to choose freedom. And they did… hooray independent Eritrea came to being with a lot of fanfare. Level headed people who question the wisdom of EPLF and TPLF at that time were thrown into prison or they were put six feet under without any remorse.
    Here we are 26 years later, we hear and read about Eritrea being compared to North Korea. Its people young and old fleeing their native country to the unknown. Many have died in this endeavor and the West and the Arab countries are tired of accommodating immigrants. The total absence of civil rights in Eritrea is known throughout the world. Yet, no one does anything to change it. At times, they may shed a crocodile tear to be seen as compassionate people to the oppressed and the underprivileged. In reality, they do not care. Teetering on the brink of disaster EPLF and TPLF leaders tell us they are changing their country for the better. I see one thing for both country. Drifting away like a stalled boat out at sea never to reach port. Such is the outcome of ill-defined struggle and apartheid governance. Every year, you can rant about defeating the Derg and stomp the Ethiopian flag, yet, the situation on the ground will not improve unless we change our thinking process. I know nostalgia is good from a comfortable distance. You can cry and shout about the greatness of these two nations, yet millions are suffering at gun point under these regimes. There is no difference between EPLF and TPLF. They have drunk the same Kool Aid and they are still sharing from the same cup. What is freighting is this: what is yet to come is no better than the past. I know there is no reason to whip a dead horse. However, I could not resist the temptation. It looks like we will continue to divide by zero and regurgitate ideologies that were formulated years ago in the low lands of Eritrea with no consideration to improve. As the Orwellian slogan goes… Freedom is Slavery. Slavery is freedom. That is what we witness in Ethiopia and Eritrea!

    • Revisiting history with out suggesting a SOLUTIONS to the predicament Ethiopia is in …,and this does tell me something about you and what you are going through as well sir. You are acting with out thinking. You started it but didn’t finish it. You didn’t end your comment with a positive note by saying like we have to do this and that to help our people … and so on.You need to overcome your hopelessness and frustration.

      You may feel ashamed that you’re depressed, upset and anxious. being depressed creates a cycle of hopelessness, passivity and that is where you are right now.Examine the self-defeating beliefs that keep you depressed. You’re left with frustration and disappointment over the practical problem. Such emotions have behavioral consequences.You have two serious conditions. a) Adult Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD) and b) Depersonalization / Derealization Disorder coupled with panic and conduct disorder.

      I suggest you need to see a pschyciatrist as soon as possible.

  4. Isayas Afewerki and his organisation called shabya are much better than the idiots and raciest Gangster TPLF(Tegre Liberation front) who colonised, abused and terrorised ethiopian people. Indeed TPLF (Tegre libration front) is a cancer for all east african people.

  5. Who is Meron Estifanos? Meron is the daughter of a Derge soldier who fought against Eritrean independence. Meron Estifanos has never visited Eritrea and she is following her father’s footprint.

  6. LOL, what a full of nonsense. Eritrea is not a democracy, as Issias said so. Period. Yet, I noticed that most of these people on the list are friends of Woyane. Hummm. In fact, some are known human traffickers, while others are dangerous Woyane type of folk who openly promote ethnic division and violence in Eriteria. Just google their names and watch their diatrabs in youtube. In fact, I find it strange for an Ethiopian outlet to publish propaganda of mini Woyanes. Not good for Ethiopia.

  7. It doesn’t give me sense who doesn’t cleaning his backyard to write about Eritrea, any one like or not case of Eritrea is in hand of Eritrean full stop

  8. 1.Over 95 % of Eritrean refugees as in Ethiopian refugees to US and europe are economic migrants. 
    2. Eritrean government calls it like it is. It calls a spade a spade. It does not claim to be a democratic country. Whereas the Ethiopian government claims to be democratic but in reality it is brutal dictatorship. However, in Eritrea there was a big movement towards democracy and constitution was completed when Ethiopia declared an all out war on Eritrea which ruined the democratic ambition of Eritrean government and its people. Ethiopia declared the war when their was mass starvation in Ethiopia. The war pushed by hard core TPLF thugs in order to loot billions of dollar worth of properties, businesses owned of hard working Eritreans doing business in Ethiopia or Ethiopians of Eritrea origin. Prior to the war most of the lucrative businesses and jobs in Ethiopia were held by people of Eritrea decent and the most illiterate TPLF members and supporters were out of work and poor. TPLF thugs wanted to get rich fast without earning their keeps and competing in a level playing field. Once a democratic government is established after the overthrow of tyrannical TPLF/EPRDF, Eritrea has no choice be a democratic government. 
    3. Mandatory Military service in Eritrea has been very successful. It was and still is needed to defend Eritrea from war loving, criminal and mafia TPLF/EPRDF. Once a new democratic government is established in Ethiopia the number of years eritreans spend in military service will be cut down. In my opinion, it should not be eliminated. Military service gives Eritrean youth some discipline, work ethic, an opportunity to learn a job skill and defend their country if war breaks out with foreign nation. Mandatory military is used successfully in some countries in the world such as south korea and Israel. 

  9. I hope we those who originated from the country known as Ethiopia take a lesson from this article. I also hope that we will be able to figure out the real purpose behind it. Al-Toweel Isaias is not alone. He is not doing what he has been doing in his fiefdom by himself or with just a very minority section of his country. We all have heard from well researched sources how he has managed to get his borders sealed. That has been proven when those Ethiopian rebel groups decided to flee his heathens’ den that they had to shoot their way out of there with casualties on both sides. His borders are like a well made faucet for him. When he turns it off it stays off and when he turns it on it is on. He has said it himself. He alleges that the West wants his youth to flee and he has assured everyone that they have got their wishes in hundreds of thousands passing thru even well mined borders. He knows there will be a bumper crop to be reaped from such flood of humanity. He has said it himself on many occasions that those who fled can say anything bad they want about him. What is saying is that all he has been eagerly waiting for the remittances coming back to his coffers when they are settled at their destinations. He salivates at those crispy US dollars and Euros that will be flowing back at him in hundreds of millions possibly billions. He has refused to welcome back those who are to be deported from the USA because that is contrary to his expectations. He knows that he will never be able to export industrial products(that is until he liberates my Oromia to his specifications). He knows that. He also knows that he has locked horns with other cousins(Sebhat Nega et al..) in a bitter siblings rivalry. He knows his current relationship with the Sudan is always conditional. He knows all of this. He is not that stupid. He will keep running the faucet until he gets what he wants. Or at least until he is dead from natural causes. Period, that is.

    • Man you need to have your head examined. Seek immediate mental health assistance.You said some thing like ” my Oromia to his specifications.” The article was about Eritrea and Eritrea only. That was for only Eritreans to to post their comment I suppose. It is not Shabia who is currently killing and evicting your Oromo people from so called Ogaden or somali region.

      Why do you have to inject our race war with what of Eritrea? You better write about your own people being treated unjustly and dying like a rat and that is where Ethiopians and your Oromo people ( to use your own word )has to take a lesson from to prevent any future escalation of the conflict.

      Eritrea with all its shortcomings compounded is no where near where Ethiopia now is. In fact they are by far more stable than us in many ways.

      Worry about your Oromo people and the wider implication and the damage ethnic based FEDERALISM (introduced by woyane’s apartheid regime) could have to our entire population possibly in the near future. That is where we have to take a lesson from not from our neighbor like Eritrea.Leave our neighbor alone.They don’t have our problem. Only woyane wants to export it to them. Woyane doesn’t even hesitate to export it to the whole Africa it it can.

      • Ugulu:

        All I can say to you is this. Anything that goes between you and those you call ‘woyane’ is nothing but a temporary but bitter siblings rivalry. Isaias is Harry and Sebhat Nega et al.., is Jack. Harry has been upset that Jack had done something without consulting him. Since then Harry has been chasing Sebhat a metal pipe in his hand to smother him. I am glad to know that you have access to your Al-Toweel Isaias. It would be extremely sensible for him if he leaves my people alone. We are capable of resolving problems on our own. And ask him on my behalf who on this good earth has made him the Simon Bolivar of my Oromos, Afars, Sidamos, Gambelas, Somalis and now Amharas. And to stop exporting humans as manufactured goods. Also which democratic election made him the President of his country? When did that happen? What is the difference between the fake election his cousins have been holding and ‘winning’ in Ethiopia since 1991 and his version? What? We have already figured it out how your and your cousins the Sebhats’ shpil that has been going on for almost 3 decades now works. One thing I can guarantee you though. I will continue to write what is on my mind on this and other websites as long as the dear editors let me share the platform until your fearless leader stops calling our glorious history a distorted one. By that he is saying everyone in the country called Ethiopia is the product of a distorted history thereby we are all distorted people. He claims to be the only history expert on this good earth and I wish he stops making himself a laughing stock by continuously flapping him mouth with this nonsense. His nephew Sebhat Nega was seen telling everyone at a dignified discussion that no one else except him knows the real history of the people of Ethiopia. No one but him!!! He looked ready for a fist fight is someone challenged him in that claim. Also please tell him that I have been eagerly waiting to hear the emergence of the Singapore-On-The-Horn since 1993. I have been waiting for too long, man!!! Just too long!!!

        • Ittu Aba farda

          When you say leave my people alone ; What people are you talking about ? Your oromia or Ethiopians? You don’t even sound like Oromo today.Let me ask you. Why are you obsessed with Eritrea when the real enemy of the state is Woyane who is killing ,kidnaping and torturing our people.You are also condemning Eritrea more than your own oppressors (Woyane).

          That definitely means you are some how in cahoot with woyane. Well what else can I say?…,I would invite you to read the Amharic comment posted recently by a brother who is believed to sympathize with G 7 and Let’s face it.You sound like every thing you are against is not Eritrea , Esayas or Shabia but this organization.I think I know where you are coming from ? Many articles have been written about you guys.This is all coming from ከጉንጭ አልፋ ፍሬከርስኪ አውርቶ አደሮች መንደር ነው. You can keep writing your frustration and disappointment but no one will take you seriously any more. You guys are like rotten bad apple. You better go back home and serve try to save your oppressors even though it is late.ሆዳም ሁሉ። I like to invite you to read a comment posted recently for some one like you on this same website.

          ለራስህ ያወጣኸው ስም ጥሩ ምርጫ ነው ራስህን ይገልፅሀል። አዎ አርበኞች ግንቦት 7 የህወሀትን የጥጋብ ግሳትን መጥፎ ጠረን እንደ ሽቶ ቆጥረው ነፃነትታቸውን ለሲሶ ለሸጡት ራስምታት ነው አንተ ሲያስታውኩም ሳህን እያቀበልክ ቀጥል እነሱም ተውከታቸውን በደንብ ሞልተው ይሰጡሀል።

          • Ujulu:

            I highly suggest to you to read my reply again and again. Your effort to line me up with your other cousins in Addis(Finfine) is futile. That is what all of you operatives of either Isaias or Sebhat Nega do to shut people with opinion you are told to be contrary to your bosses grand scheme. To all of operatives all Oromos are incapable of independent thought. In fact we can not think and therefore you will be doing all the thinking for us. We have to bow down and pay homage either to Sebhat Nega and his cabal or his other demonic cousin in Piccola Roma Al-Toweel Isaias. You have already figured it all out for us. Congratulations!!! But I still insist to read carefully between the lines again and again until you it sinks in. ‘You are Woyane this and you are not that’ never worked for others who tried that on me before. I had retired them all one by one. BTW, I thought you are extremely busy making your country of ‘black Italians’ the industrial and financial hub of the Horn!!! Why not? Your other cousins have been telling the entire world the economy in their fiefdom have been growing by more than 10% every year for the more than a decade now but the unemployment of the youth is more than 35% in cities and more than 50% in the rural areas. At least you have done a much better job than your cousins in Addis(Finfine) by exporting more than 50% of your youth and keep the remaining 50% in permanent servitude. Good job!!! Finally I have something for you that may bring you to tears just reminiscing. Here it is:

            Faccetta nera, bell’abissina
            Aspetta e spera che già l’ora si avvicina!
            quando saremo insieme a te
            noi ti daremo un’altra legge e un altro Re

            Faccetta nera, bell’abissina
            Aspetta e spera che già l’ora si avvicina!
            quando saremo insieme a te
            noi ti daremo un’altra legge e un altro Re
            Faccetta nera, piccola abissina
            ti porteremo a Roma, liberata
            Dal sole nostro tu sarai baciata
            Sarai in Camicia Nera pure tu

            If you forgot the song your fearless leader Al-Toweel or if you are still in talking terms with Sebhat Nega either of them would be ecstatic to serenade you with it their lungs out. Enjoy!!! Wait, wait!!! Don’t forget the goose stepping!!!!

            And this is the last of me with you!!! Ciao!!!

          • If you had an Oromo blood on you ; then…Why didn’t you say a word about the current crisis between those two ethnic group namely Oromo and Ogadenis or Somali region? I will tell you what ? It will be brief today.

            You don’t sound like you are speaking for oromos. There is no other way to describe this but I think You must be one of those social media armies of ( woyanes ) and you are out there working hard to divide our people.That is who you really are.You didn’t score any point and you kept on repeating what you have already said. የሌባ አይነ ደረቅ መልሶ ልብ ያደርቅ ዕንደሚባለው ነው. ከወኔዎች ሌላ የተሻለ አይጠበቅም።

      • you are making trouble for your self and to leave ethiopia and live in europe

        developing asylum case . don’t ineterfere in eritreans

        blame yourself and be patriotic not trabalistic

  10. 1. There was no SAWA military training base and mandatory military service in eritrea before the terrorist/tyrannical TPLF/EPRDF invaded Eritrea in 1998. Sawa was built to defend eritrea from future invasion by TPLF thugs. In order to counter a country with a population of 100 million and about a million military personnel, a country of 3 million people has to have as many of its people trained in military skills in order to defend itself in future wars. It is a matter of survival.
    2. Eritrea has been in a state of emergency since 2000, the year the war between ethiopia and eritrea ended. It is very difficult to think about building democratic institutions and free market economy while you are in a state emergency. ACCORDING TO SIYE ABRAHA THE ETHIOPIAN GENERAL WHO LED THE WAR AGAINST ERITREA THE GOAL OF ETHIOPIAN MILITARY WAS TO OVERTHROW THE ISSAYAS GOVENMENT AND TAKE OVER THE PORT OF ASSAB.

  11. you don’t need to interfere in Eritrans affairs

    you are mingling the truth with the pack of lies onetime, you siad there is no problem in eritrea and these days you are saying isaias is a dictator

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