Tag Archives: Eritrean

Israel News | African Asylum-seekers

Israel announces deportation plan for tens of thousands of African asylum-seekers
  • Some 40,000 African asylum-seekers—many activists and other dissidents from Sudan and Eritrea—are facing expulsion or imprisonment in Israel, with fewer than 1% of applicants having been granted refugee status.
  • The Israeli government announced that asylum-seekers will have 90 days to accept $3,500 and a plane ticket to a classified third country (speculated to be Rwanda or Uganda) or face incarceration.
  • In response, a network of more than a hundred rabbis called the Anne Frank Home Sanctuary Movement has formed and pledged to protect asylum-seekers from deportation.

Israel to tell African migrants: leave or face indefinite imprisonment” (The Guardian | January 2018)

Mass expulsion under way as Israel begins deporting 40,000 Africans” (Middle East Eye | January 2018)

Inspired by Anne Frank, Rabbis in Israel Plan to Hide African Asylum Seekers Facing Deportation” (Haaretz | January 2018)

Read More

Inside Israel’s Secret Program to Get Rid of African Refugees” (Foreign Policy | June 2017)


The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants

Interregional News | Refugees & Migrants

At least 700 migrants and refugees die in last week along trans-Mediterranean route
  • The UNHCR concluded from survivor interviews that some 550 of 670 died after a boat capsized on its way to Italy from Libya, with other scattered wrecks throughout the week leading to at least 150 other deaths.
  • As warmer temperatures have created more favorable travel conditions, an estimated 13-14,000 have been rescued over the last week during Italian naval operations in the Mediterranean.
  • The U.N. believes most of those making the trek have been sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees caught up in smuggling networks.

Read more:
Over 700 Migrants Died Trying to Reach Italy in Past Week, U.N. Says” (The New York Times)
More than 700 feared dead in recent Mediterranean crossings” (AP)
Refugee crisis: 13,000 people rescued in Mediterranean in one week” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Marina Militare, via The New York Times)

Eritrea Feature | Eritreans

25 Years of Independence and Suppression in Eritrea

As it celebrates the 25th anniversary of the overthrow of Ethiopian rule, Eritrea continues to hemorrhage citizens under one-party, anti-democratic rule. Indefinite military conscription, mobility restrictions, and the absence of civil liberties have greatly diminished prospects for Eritreans, driving youth from the country in droves and into trans-Mediterranean trafficking networks in which thousands have died. Some estimates put the emigration rate at 5,000 people per month, second only to Syrians in contributing to the swelling of the Mediterranean migration crisis in 2015.

The Eritrean government has been particularly unfriendly to journalists and other writers, who have faced high insecurity following the 2001 roundup of independent newspaper editors in a push by the Eritrean president to crack down on public dissent. In the diaspora, Eritreans have found themselves involuntarily bound to the government as attempts to access documents and send remittances has subjected them to taxes international monitors liken to extortion. Amidst independence celebrations, both native and diasporan Eritreans continue to work to organize an effective opposition against the presidential regime and bring about a democratic renaissance for the country’s disenfranchised citizenry.

Eritreans still denied freedom 25 years after independence” (The Guardian)
A quarter of a century after independence Eritreans still yearn for freedom” (The Conversation)
How to End the Eritrean Refugee Crisis” (The Nation, December 2015)
‘If we don’t give them a voice, no one will’: Eritrea’s forgotten journalists, still jailed after 14 years” (The Guardian, August 2015)
Outside Eritrea looking in: a diaspora that stands divided” (The Guardian, August 2015)
UN Inquiry reports gross human rights violations in Eritrea” (UNHCR, June 2015)

25 years of independence in Eritrea: Thousands continue to flee repressive regime (France 24 English)
Eritrea: Delving into a Sealed-Off Country (Deutsche Welle, April 2015)

Eritrea profile: Timeline (BBC)
2015 prison census: 199 journalists jailed worldwide (The Committee to Protect Journalists, December 2015)

Eritrean Solidarity Movement for National Salvation (Simret)

(Image Credit: Boris Roessler/EPA, via The Guardian)

Israel News | Eritrean Refugee

Eritrean refugee mistaken for Palestinian, killed by Israeli mob
  • Haftom Zarhum, 29, died of injuries from being shot and beaten by a mob who mistook him for a Palestinian attacker at a bus terminal in the city of southern Israeli city of Beersheba.
  • Video footage shows individuals attacking Zarhum, the latest victim in a tide of violence that has seen 44 Palestinians and eight Israelis killed to date.
  • The actual Palestinian assailant had been killed after stabbing an Israeli soldier, stealing his rifle, and opening fire in the bus terminal, injuring 10.

Read more:
Eritrean mistaken for Palestinian shot dead in Israel” (Al Jazeera)
Hunt for Israelis who killed Eritrean man falsely implicated in bus attack” (The Guardian)
Netanyahu calls on Israelis not to pursue vigilante justice” (The Times of Israel)

(Image Credit: Dudu Grinshpan/AFP/Getty Images, via The Guardian)

Israel News | Migrants & Refugees

Protests erupt in Tel Aviv following Supreme Court decision limiting migrant detentions to 12 months
  • After the court ruling that calls for the immediate release of around 1,200 migrants detained without charge, some Tel Aviv residents took to the streets in outrage.
  • Demonstrators claimed asylum seekers bring down their quality of life with crime and open-air living.
  • Protesters confronted some migrants around Lewinsky Park, yelling insults and condemning the Supreme Court.

“What’s going to happen in reality is that thousands of infiltrators are going to come here and make our lives hell, even more than they are now. … We are going to fight this with all our strength.”

Read the full story at Ynet News.

Israel News | Refugees & Migrants

Israel Supreme Court limits detention of migrants without charge to a year
  • The ruling struck down a portion of the Infiltration Prevention Act that allowed for migrants to be detained for up to 20 months.
  • Among the more than 2,500 migrants detained at the Holot detention facility in the Negev, those who have been detained without charge for 12 months or more are to be released in the next 15 days.
  • Israel refers to illegal migrants as “infiltrators” and since 2009 has granted asylum requests–mostly from Eritreans, Sudanese, and Congolese–to fewer than 0.15% of those who applied.

“The court made it clear that a policy whose purpose is to break asylum-seekers’ spirit to coerce them to leave Israel is unconstitutional. The judges also criticized the slow pace of examining asylum claims and the abysmally low recognition rate of refugees in Israel.”

Read the full story at the Times of Israel.

(Image Credit: Flash90, via The Times of Israel)

Germany News | Eritrean Refugees

Eritrean dissident advocates in Germany allege translators are contaminating the asylum process for refugees
  • The co-founder of Frankfurt-based dissident group United4Eritrea related stories of omissions and hostile environments with translators that increased asylum seekers’ insecurity.
  • Displaced Eritreans fear pro-regime agents in the diaspora who can derail the asylum process and send information back to Eritrea that leads to threats against family members, activities that a recent U.N. report acknowledged.
  • German officials responded that although they do not monitor possible relaying of information back to the Eritrean government, all translators are rigorously tested before being put to work.

“For example they tell them not to explain things the way they are, the political situation – they say ‘you can’t say this, you have to say it like this.’ They try to give as little information as possible, so then they leave the political things out. They want the refugees to arrive here to be recognized only as economic migrants.”

Read the full story at Deutsche Welle.

(Image Credit: imago/epd, via Deutsche Welle)

Europe Research | Migrants & Refugees

More than 135,000 refugees and migrants entered Europe in the first half of 2015
  • According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the number is an 80% increase from the same period in 2014.
  • More than 1,000 enter the continent each day via the western Balkans alone, now the biggest point of entry.
  • Syria accounted for the largest number of refugees at 44,000, followed by Eritrea and Afghanistan.

“As arrivals increase, the reception capacity and conditions remain seriously inadequate. … This is a regional problem that needs a regional response and regional solidarity.”

Read the full story at Reuters.

(Image Credit: Antonio Parrinello/Reuters)

Italy News | Refugees & Interfaith

In Milan, Holocaust memorial doubles as accommodations for African refugees
  • With the help of Jewish, Catholic, and Muslim community partners and volunteers, the Holocaust Memorial has dedicated part of its space to sheltering the refugees, providing food, beds, and washing facilities.
  • The Memorial stands at the site of Platform 21, the only remaining intact deportation site from the Holocaust that had part of its plan converted into a museum in 2013.
  • The Italian Jewish community–including famed Holocaust survivor Liliana Serge–has drawn parallels between the situations and indifference faced by Holocaust-era Jews and African migrants fleeing violence, persecution, and hardship.

“When I was expelled from school, very few people noticed that my seat had suddenly been emptied; very few people didn’t turn their faces when they ran into me on the streets. Today I witness with astonishment what is happening to these migrants who are seeking help from our opulent Europe, where people waste food and are obsessed with buying new things even if their houses are already full.”

Read the full story at the Times of Israel.

(Image Credit: Rossella Tercatin/The Times of Israel)

Making up the second largest group of refugees in Europe, Eritreans flee an authoritarian regime and military conscription
  • Eritreans accounted for a fifth of refugees making the trans-Mediterranean voyage from Africa to Europe last year, becoming the largest group in Italy.
  • The government of Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki has held uninterrupted power since the country gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1993, with reports of torture, forced disappearance, and mass surveillance practices.
  • Eritreans are forced into low-paid, indefinite military service, which the government says is due to ongoing conflicts with Ethiopia, leading many to leave to avoid conscription.

“It’s too hard to live in Eritrea because there are a lot of things they can do to you. …You can be in the military service for unlimited years, or in prison, and you don’t have a chance to raise your voice, to change the president.”

More on this story at BuzzFeed.

(Image Credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters, via BuzzFeed)