JULY 6, 2020  NEWS

President Isaias Afwerki has been a busy man.

  • On the 5th of May he returned to Asmara after seeing Prime Minister Abiy in Addis Ababa.
  • Then on 27 June he was landing at Asmara after spending three days with the Sudanese leadership, including Lt. Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.
  • Now he’s in Egypt for a three day visit, where he will meet President Sisi.

So what’s going on? At the end of each trip there are bland press releases that tell the Eritrean public precisely nothing.

But it is not that difficult to join up the dots.

What do Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have in common? The Nile and the standoff over Ethiopia’s GERD dam, which it is scheduled to begin filling within the next two weeks.

Egypt appealed to the UN Security Council, but got little more than verbal support. Talks between the three parties are reported to have continued over the weekend, with discussions on Saturday.

But Egypt continued to complain there was no progress. The Egyptian irrigation ministry said “fundamental technical and legal differences” remained unsolved.

Meanwhile, the situation in Ethiopia is tense, following the death of the popular Oromo singer, Hachalu Hundessa. Clashes with the security forces by protesters left at least 166 people dead.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed blamed the killing of the singer, and the subsequent violence, on “coordinated attempts” to destabilise the country, hinting that a foreign power was involved. Egypt swiftly denied any responsibility, with Egyptian diplomats saying that “Ethiopia should not blame its problems on external factors.” 

President Isaias, who has been in Ethiopia, Sudan and is now in Egypt – all in the last two months, would love to see himself as a mediator. He has always seen Eritrea as playing a regional role, and this fits perfectly into his self-image.

The Libyan situation

But there is another reason for President Isaias to be in Egypt and that is the crisis in Libya.

The situation in Libya is nothing if not complex, with Russia, France, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states all backing one or other of the key players. This is a simplified list of who is backing whom.

Government of National Unity in Tripoli                   General Khalifa Hafter in Tobruk

United Nations                                                                      Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE

NATO, USA, Italy, Turkey, Qatar                                         Russia, France

In this situation it is not difficult to see where Eritrea fits in.

President Isaias has been in league with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, assisting them in their war in Yemen against the Houthi rebels.

The port of Assab provides the UAE with a base, with Asmara airport also occasionally being used.

In March the Guardian newspaper carried this report:

The United Arab Emirates, which is backing Khalifa Haftar, the warlord commander of the self-styled Libyan National Army, is thought to have sent more than 100 deliveries by air since mid-January, according to flight-tracking data

Most of the suspect UAE flights leave military bases in the UAE, while some appear to depart from a base run since 2016 by the UAE in Eritrea, where an authoritarian regime is in charge and there is minimal international monitoring.

In all, the flights are thought to have carried about 5,000 metric tons of cargo into Libya in very large chartered transport planes that land at an airport close to Benghazi, Haftar’s coastal stronghold, or in western Egypt, from where their loads are thought to be trucked into Libya.

The Bloomberg news agency reported that the UN had information about these UAE airlifts.

At least 37 flights in early January are being investigated by the UN panel of experts responsible for monitoring sanctions on Libya, according to two diplomats briefed on the report that was presented to the Security Council this month. Excerpts of the report were also shared with Bloomberg. The flights were operated by a complex network of companies registered in the U.A.E., Kazakhstan, and the British Virgin Islands to disguise the delivery of military equipment, the diplomats said.

The panel found an increase in secret flights from the U.A.E. and its airbase in Eritrea to airfields under the control of Haftar, who is fighting to defeat the internationally-recognized government based in Tripoli, the report said. Some of those flights, which transfer high volumes of weapons, were operated by two Kazakhstan operators, according to the diplomats.

Egypt became very concerned about the threat to General Haftar’s position in Tobruk, as the UN backed government forces advanced.

President Sisi declared that a red line existed beyond which Egypt would not tolerate any further advances. Egypt could intervene in Libya with the intention of protecting its western border, he said.

Eritrea (with its links to the UAE and Saudis) and the role of Assab as a base from which military equipment and munitions can be sent to General Hartar, clearly has a stake in the Libyan conflict.

There is a good deal for President’s Sisi and Isaias to discuss in the coming days.




6 Jul 2020
Originally published
5 Jul 2020
View original

July 5, 2020 -(KHARTOUM) - Sudan has established a national mechanism for coordination with the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), which will begin its activities on January 1, 2020.

On June 3, the UN Security Council approved the establishment of a political mission in Sudan to support democratic transition and peace implementation, in response to a request by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

"The Prime Minister issued a decision to form the national mechanism for coordination with the UNITAMS, and appoint Ambassador Omer al-Sheikh as the national coordinator," reads a statement issued by Hamdok’s office on Sunday.

Al-Sheikh is one of the skilled Sudanese diplomats with rich experience in international organisations. He previously served as head of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and also served as ambassador in many capitals.

The new mission which does not include military components will provide technical assistance to the Constitution drafting process, supporting the implementation of all human rights, equality, accountability and rule-of-law provisions in the Constitutional Document.

The UNITAMS will also assist in peacebuilding, civilian protection and rule of law. It will support Sudan’s capacity to extend State presence and inclusive civilian governance, in particular by strengthening accountable rule of law and security institutions, and by building trust between State authorities and local communities, according to the UN resolution.

Mechanism’s powers

Hamdok’s decision seen by Sudan Tribune provides that the new mechanism will include 14 other members besides Ambassador al-Sheikh. All of them are civilians except the representative of the military intelligence.

The main task of the committee is to coordinate between the government and the UNITAMS at the federal and state levels and identifying Sudan’s support needs.

Furthermore, the prime minister conferred to the new mechanism all the attributions and functions of the National Committee for Coordination with UNAMID, including following up the withdrawal of UNAMID from Darfur.

The mechanism will negotiate a draft Status of Mission Agreement (SOMA) and will follow up on its implementation.

The committee also will follow up on the procedures for the annual renewal of the UNITAMS and submit recommendations to the government.

The UN Security Council in its resolution establishing UNITAMS requested Secretary-General to swiftly establish the political support mission and provide the Council with a suggested structure and geographical deployment within 60 days.





Eritrea Focus

Habte Hagos: Virtual Conference Closing Remarks – 4 July 2020

[Not read at the end of conference due to time constraint]

As this conference draws to a close it is my pleasure to make a few final remarks.

Let me begin by thanking everyone for their contributions; whether you are here today, or you were here earlier in the week. I think it would not be an exaggeration to say that this has been a considerable success, where we all too often feared it would be a failure.

As you may know, we had prepared for a conventional conference in partnership with the University of London Institute of Commonwealth Studies, with a wonderful venue kindly donated by them. Sadly, COVID struck and it was not to be. All those face-to-face meetings and informal discussions were, unfortunately, lost.

However, the task of working on a transitional blueprint for a democratic Eritrea was urgent, and we had to act. So, we took advantage of this new technology, and here we are. People attended from various parts of the United States, Australia, Israel, Southern Africa and beyond.

I want to thank everyone who participated, giving so much of their time and energy to helping us take this work forward. Much of the credit must go to the experts who spent over a year preparing the papers that underlay the ideas that we have been discussing. The spirit of lively, but courteous, debate that characterised this week is a credit to us all. Even when the most hotly-contested issues were before us, we treated each other with respect – something we cannot say always characterises Eritrean discussions!

Special thanks must go to those who worked hard behind the scenes: Helen Kidane, Yvonne Orengo, Paulos Michael and Kiflom Teklehaimanot in particular. We are also immensely grateful to our sponsors – the National Endowment for Democracy. Their generosity has made this conference possible. I will be formally writing them to convey our thanks for their donation.

As I said at the start of this conference, we will now take the comments and feed them into the discussions we will continue to have to formulate a blueprint. Once this has been thoroughly prepared and reviewed, we will be ready to go public with our work. We hope to hold a further conference towards the end of the year/early next at which we can formally present our blueprint to the participants and then make it public for the Eritrean people. Our aim will be – as ever – to make a contribution to a democratic, free country. Our work, along with that of others, should help a future government to find a way forward in those first, vital months following a transition.

What this conference has shown is the immense goodwill that permeates our community. Eritreans from very different backgrounds came together to share their experiences. It was humbling to listen to men and women who have spent the best part of their lives attempting to build the kind of Eritrea that we all want. We heard from Professor George Ayittey (from Ghana) on the lessons from other African nations which was insightful. We listened brother Festum Abraham’s comments about how vital a neutral administration is in overseeing a transition process.

For me, this conference had three key lessons.

Firstly, there is a deep desire in our Eritrean community to unite, work together and to transform that desire into a movement that can lead us to a new democratic Eritrea that is at peace with itself and its neighbours. Eritrea Focus is not that movement, but we would be willing to assist and do all we can to encourage our diverse communities to come together;

Secondly, we have an immense pool of goodwill from our allies across the world. Whether you look at the work of the Hotline for Refugees in Israel, or the America Team for Displaced Eritreans, we know who our friends are. We will build on their contributions and find others who can support our work. We already have links with democratic institutions across the world. We will strengthen these and seek even more supporters who share our vision, whenever we can and wherever they maybe; and

Thirdly, our work – collectively – is well understood and appreciated by our people. We can say with some confidence that even in the villages of Eritrea and the refugee camps of Sudan, Ethiopia and Libya there is an increasing awareness of what we, in the diaspora are doing. The regime may seem strong and stable; the reality is quite the opposite. The more credible and viable we are, the more confident our Eritrean people will be that the bright future ahead belongs to them and no one, but no one, can take it away from them again.

Finally, and as we bring the conference to a close, I would like to pose two question that, we as Eritreans, need to take away with us and ponder upon:

  1. Was the sacrifice of our martyrs to liberate our country from Ethiopian oppression only for our people to be humiliated, abused, enslaved and exiled in their tens of thousands by an internal enemy?
  1. What are we going to do about it individually and/or collective to ensure justice is served and the long nightmare of our people comes to an end?

I often wondered who or what is the worst enemy of the Eritrean people; Isaias or our disunity? I was, therefore, absolutely delighted to hear from brother Hailemariam Tesfai that the Eritrean opposition groups have decided to unite. I commend them hugely for that. At long last, the suffering and nightmare of the Eritrean people may be coming to an end.

With that, I bring this conference to a close – I wish you all well and stay safe.

Thank you.

Habte Hagos

Chair, Eritrea Focus

————————– ENDS ——————————-

Some of the hundreds of speakers and participants

 and Alex Cizmic

The Eritrean players (from left) Abiel Oqbay, Isaias Abraham, Ismail Sultan, Eyob Girmay, Robel Kidane, Yosief Mebrahtu and Filimon Semere are in hiding in Uganda.

Seven Eritrea internationals who have been in hiding in Uganda for more than six months fear being captured and sent home “as traitors” if they are not granted asylum.

In December 2019 they were part of the Eritrea team that reached the final of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup – an annual tournament for teams from east Africa – for the first time. They were due to return home on a flight with the rest of the squad after a 3-0 defeat by the hosts Uganda but Abiel Oqbay, Isaias Abraham, Ismail Sultan, Eyob Girmay, Robel Kidane, Yosief Mebrahtu and Filimon Semere escaped and have since been on the run.

The Ugandan authorities, having initially co-operated with the Eritrean embassy in Kampala in the search for the players, issued them with asylum registration cards in January before a proposed interview with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that has yet to materialise.

“In January they told us to be patient because if the police opened the procedure our cases will move on smoothly,” said Oqbay. “Then in May they called us back and said they can’t help us at the moment. We don’t know what to do, because we don’t have many resources to move forward … we have been eating only once a day.”

Since 2009 it is estimated that more than 50 players have used their status as international footballers to escape the oppressive regime of the Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki, which imposes lifetime military service on many subjects and bans groups of more than two people congregating in public places. A recent report by the Norwegian Refugee Council outlined concerns that asylum seekers in Uganda often face long delays in their applications given the fact that more than 1.7 million refugees were expected in the country this year.

The coronavirus pandemic has made the situation even more desperate, and George Ghebreslassie – a senior member of the America Team for Displaced Eritreans, which has been helping the players in Uganda – has warned that the players are still at risk of being captured if the UNHCR does not intervene.

“As soon as I talked to them, I was terrified to hear they were in Uganda without any protection,” Ghebreslassie said. “Uganda is a hub for the supporters of the Eritrean regime and some people are looking for the players. If they catch them they will punish them so they can serve as an example of how the regime treats who they consider as traitors.

“Something within UNHCR doesn’t work; it seems they don’t realise the seriousness of the situation. I talked to a woman there, but she didn’t follow up the case. The players need to be moved to a safer place under UN protection as happened to their youngest colleagues some months earlier.”

The Guardian has sought comment from UNHCR but received no response.

In January, the Guardian spoke to Mewael Yosief – one of the four players from the country’s under-20 side who fled after reaching the Cecafa Under-20 Challenge Cup semi-final in Uganda a few months earlier. They are awaiting the result of their asylum application but Kimberley Motley, the American attorney who is following their case, said that was a slow process.

Mewael Tesfai Yosief (left), with Simon Asmelash Mekonen, Hanibal Girmay Tekle and Hermon Fessehaye Yohannes in a house in Uganda last October.
Mewael Tesfai Yosief (left), with Simon Asmelash Mekonen, Hanibal Girmay Tekle and Hermon Fessehaye Yohannes in a house in Uganda last October. Photograph: AP

“They have been interviewed in order to see if they qualify – which they do,” she said. “It is up to a country to invite them, but the Covid-19 pandemic has complicated things. Countries aren’t really accepting refugees now.”

Oqbay and his teammates spent their first weeks in Uganda in Kampala, where they were moving from place to place to avoid capture, before in February going to a more remote location thanks to the help of Ghebreslassie’s organisation, which is based in Pennsylvania. Despite several attempts by Giulia Tranchina – an Italian immigration lawyer based in London – to advance their case with UNHCR for Uganda, there has been no progress.

“We are aware we have to wait,” Oqbay said. “We love football so much and what we want is just to be safe in a free country where we can continue playing.”




July 1, 2020  Topic: Security  Region: Africa  Tags: EritreaAfricaNational SecurityIsaias AfwerkiConstitution

The time is now for U.S. officials to reach out to Eritreans, both inside the country and out, and put plans in place to help build the institutions Isaias Afwerki has left weakened or destroyed.

by Michael Rubin

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In January 2018, against the backdrop of the immigration debate, President Donald Trump seemed to dismiss all African nations as “shithole countries.” His attitude has not evolved much during the course of his presidency. Speaking at his first post-pandemic rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20, President Donald Trump disparaged Somalia. “No government, no safety, no police, no nothing, just anarchy,” he quipped, the ultimate irony considering he has gifted Somalia almost $3 billion over the course of his presidency. Trump appears to wallow in a reality which happily is long since gone. Whereas Africa was once a continent embroiled in wars, most countries are now at peace. Many UN peacekeeping missions have gone home. Dictators are increasingly rare as state after state has held democratic elections and witnessed peaceful transitions. As Black Lives Matter promotes socialism if not Marxism in America, Africa itself has largely abandoned socialism and embraced capitalism. The result? More than a billion lifted out of poverty in just the last few decades. To all of Africa’s advances, Eritrea remains an unhappy exception. 

Eritrea formally gained independence from Ethiopia and international recognition in 1993 after a three-decade struggle. Initially, there was great hope for the former Italian colony. It could have leveraged its historical links to Europe to kickstart its industry and manufacturing base. It possesses great mineral wealth, and its position astride the Red Sea gave it great economic potential both for trade and transshipment to neighboring and landlocked Ethiopia, Africa’s second-largest country by population. At the time, observers expected warm relations. Isaias Afwerki, president from independence until the present day, was a comrade-in-arms with Meles Zenawi, the president of Ethiopia when they both had fought against Ethiopia’s Marxist regime. Meles was supportive of Eritrean secession. 

As Eritrea moved toward independence, there was some hope that Isaias would evolve toward democracy. Certainly, there was reason to be concerned. He was trained in China in the late 1960s, and, according to a New York Times profile, he “became the virtual commissar of a tightly disciplined Leninist organization” in the 1970s. They dropped Marxism in 1986 but did not necessarily embrace democracy as a goal. A 1991 AllAfrica report explained, “The Addis Ababa government argues that political success in Ethiopia requires the immediate granting of full political rights and freedoms throughout the country. The Provisional Government in Eritrea, on the other hand, operates from a belief that in a country without any experience of freedom, democracy must be guided in order to prevent its abuses.” American diplomats at the time reportedly said “they find Mr. Isaias shrewd, tough, but usually reasonable.” Speaking in Tigrigna on Voice of the Broad Masses of Eritrea on June 16, 1993, Isaias promised a multi-party democracy but said his goal would be first to build the institutions to support them. Dan Connell, an aid worker and activist, who chronicled the Eritrean struggle, advised in a 1993 article, “If the Clinton administration is genuinely interested in fostering democracy in Africa and elsewhere in the third world, Eritrea is the place to start.” 

That was wishful thinking. Rather than promote democracy, Isaias turned Eritrea into North Korea on the Red Sea. Indeed, Eritrea today often manages to fall behind North Korea in press freedom rankings. Freedom House ranks it alongside North Korea and Syria. Just a year ago, over 100 African dignitaries signed an open letter to Isaias lamenting, “Eritrea has not kept pace with the changes seen elsewhere.  Over the past two decades, Eritrea has been described as the most closed society on our continent, an unfortunate situation for a country with such rich human capital and potential.” 

Eritreans are also subject to indefinite conscription with little or no pay. In effect, Isaias enslaves his population. There is a perverse logic to this: By keeping males detained and controlled until well past middle age, he need not worry about opposition forming from civil society or a middle class. Of course, many Eritreans risk life and limb to flee. Isaias is happy to see them go because, if they do survive the journey, they often remit money to family who remained and therefore keep Eritrea above starvation without Isaias being held to account for his failures to develop Eritrea economically.  

Isaias’ grip on power might be absolute, but he is not immortal. He is seventy-four-years-old, and both Eritreans and foreign diplomats are already beginning to speculate about the future of Eritrea in a post-Isaias era, especially afterallegedhealth scares.  

Paranoia has a price. There is no vice president nor are there any other clear successors as Isaias has systematically removed any rival. Additionally, the constitution does not serve as a guide as, in practice, it remains unimplemented. There is some indication that Isaias wants to pass the torch to his son Abraham, but few Eritreans let alone those outside the country believe Abraham wields a steady hand and so it is uncertain he will be able to maintain or consolidate power or win the army’s support after his father’s death.  

In 2013, the International Crisis Group (ICG) reported on possible succession scenarios, but the report was short on details (through no fault of the ICG) and, at any rate, is now dated. During the most recent health scare, a number of names surfaced, but many are old and also in poor health. 

By any metric, Eritrea under Isaias has been both a failure and a human tragedy. Eritreans deserve better, and Isaias’ death will allow them to close the door on a sad chapter in their nation’s existence. Every recent U.S. administration has talked about how Africa is a priority, but the United States remains absent without leave across the continent—its diplomats often locked in their compounds by overzealous security officers—as Morocco, Turkey, Qatar, Iran, India, China, and increasingly Russia all vie for influence. Both Democrats and Republicans may recognize that commercial outreach is more important than diplomatic niceties or military force but, in practice, they are unwilling to rethink a U.S. strategy which has not served American interests well. 

A democratic state in Eritrea would be of broad benefit for Eritreans and within the region and, indeed, for everyone except for countries like China that seek to co-opt dictatorships and entrap countries with debt. Rather than simply react, the time is now for U.S. officials to reach out to Eritreans, both inside the country and out, and put plans in place to help build the institutions Isaias has left weakened or destroyed. These officials must ensure Eritrea’s continued independence against the backdrop of Ethiopian ambitions, ready the resources to help Eritrea recover and thrive to take its place in the world, and help advance its stability and moderation in an increasingly strategic corner of Africa. 

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he researches Arab politics, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iran, Iraq, the Kurds, terrorism, and Turkey. He concurrently teaches classes on terrorism for the FBI and on security, politics, religion, and history for U.S. and NATO military units.


JUNE 30, 2020  NEWS

The Conference – which concluded it’s first day of discussions on Law and Justice yesterday – has been reported in the BBC.

Habte Hagos, Eritrea Focus’s chair, was interviewed. You can listen to this here.

Below is the report on the BBC Website.

‘ዋዕላ ምህናጽ ደሞክራሲ ኣብ ኤርትራ 2020’ ይጋባእ ኣሎ

29 ሰነ 2020

ኣስታት 300 ኤርትራውያን ምሁራት፡ ተጠባቕቲ መሰላትን፡ ወጻእተኛታት ዕዱማትን ዝሳተፍዎ ዘለዉ ዋዕላ ሎሚ ሰኑይ 29 ሰነ ተኸፊቱ።

እቲ “ምህናጽ ደሞክራሲ ኣብ ኤርትራ” ተባሂሉ ዝተሰምየ ዋዕላ፡ ብመገዲ ኢንተርነት (‘ቪርቹዋል) ይካየድ ምህላዉ ተፈሊጡ።

ኣቐዲሙ፡ ኣብ ከተማ ለንደን ብገጽ ንገጽ ርክብ ብኣካል ክካየድ ተወሲኑ’ኳ እንተነበረ፡ ብሰንኪ ለበዳ ኮሮናቫይረስ ከም ዝተሰናኸለ ወደብቱ ሓቢሮም።

ኣብቲ ን6 መዓልታት ዝቕጽል ኣኼባታት፡ ዝተፈላለዩ ኪላታት ቁጠባ፡ ሕጊ፡ ፍትሒ፡ ፖለቲካ፡ ዓለምለኻዊ ዝምድናታት፡ ሰባዊ መሰላትን፡ ካልኦት ዓውድታትን፡ ኣብ ዝተፈላለዩ ጉጅለታት ተኸፋፊሎም ክመያየጡ ምዃኖም፡ ሓላፊ ናይቲ ነቲ ዋዕላ ዝወደበ፡ ‘ፎካስ ኤርትራ’ ዝተባህለ ማሕበር ገሊጹ።

ኣቶ ሃብተ ሓጎስ ንቢቢሲ ኣብ ዝሓቦ ሓበሬታ፡ እቲ ዋዕላ ናይቲ ኣብ ሚያዝያ 2019 ኣብ ለንደን ዝተኻየደ ኣኼባ ምዃኑ መቐጸልታ ኣብሪሁ።

ቀጺሉ ኣቶ ሃብተ፡ “ሽዑ ሓደ ሽዱሽተ ሕንጻጻት ኣውጺእና ነይርና፡ 24 ኪኢላታት ድማ ኣብዘን ዝሓለፋ 12 ከጽንዕወን ጸኒሖም” ብምባል፡ ውጽኢት ናይቲ መጽናዕትታት ኣብዚ ናይ ሕጂ ዋዕላ ንምይይጥ ክቐርብ ምዃኑ፡ ሓቢሩ።

እቲ ዋዕላ፡ መንግስቲ ኤርትራ ክልወጥ ብዝደልዩ ወገናት ዝካየድ ዘሎ ኮይኑ፡ “ድሕሪ ለውጢ ኣብታ ሃገር ንዝምስረት…ሓድሽ መንግስቲ ንምድጋፍ” መጽናዕትታት የካይዱ ከም ዘለዉ ይገልጹ።

“ጻዕርና ሓዳስ ኤርትራ ንምፍጣር’ዩ። ምስ ጎረቤትና ኢትዮጵያ ህውከት ኣይንደሊ፡ ኣብ ዓድና ህዝብና ክርበሽ ኣይንደሊ፡ ህዝብና ርሂጹ ሰሪሑ ክነብር’ዩ ዝደሊ፡ ክጭኮን ኣይደልን’ዩ።

“ኣብ ዝሓለፈ 30 ዓመት ግን፡ ከም ሕሱም ተጨኲኑ’ዩ፡ ኣምባይዶ ሓውኻ፡ ጸላኢኻ ከምኡ ገይሩ ኣይጭኩነካን’ዩ” ኢሉ።

ብፕረዚደንት ኢሳይያስ ዝምራሕ መንግስቲ ኤርትራ፡ ብዘይቅዋምን ሃገራዊ ምርጫን፡ ንኣስታት 30 ዓመት ስልጣን ብሒቱዎ ከምዘሎ ይፍለጥ።

እቲ መንግስቲ ንዝኾኑ ተቓወምቲ ውድባት ኤርትራ ኣፍልጦ ክህብ ኣይረአን፡ ብኣንጻሩ፡ መሳርሒ ናይ ወጻኢ ሓይልታት ብምባል እዩ ክኹንኖም’ዩ ዝስማዕ።

ሓደ ካብቶም ዝቐርቡ መጽናዕቲታት፡ ሓንቲ ሃገር “ብኸመይ ካብ ዲክታተርሺብ [ምልኪ] ናብ ደሞክራሲ ትሰጋገር” ዝብል ኣርእስቲ ከምዝህሉ ዝጠቐሰ ኣቶ ሃብተ፡ እቲ ኣኼባታት ንኹሉ ሸነኻት ብዙሕነት ሕብረተሰብ ኤርትራ ኣብ ግምት ዘእተወ ምዃኑ ሓቢሩ።

JUNE 29, 2020  NEWS

Screenshot 2020-06-29 at 08.34.03

From: Eritrean Research Institute for Policy and Strategy

It is time to bring together our professionals, build hope, and shape the future of Eritrea with compassion for our people, professional ethos and effective solutions. The repression of Eritreans under the brutal PFDJ dictatorship and the scale of the current political crisis in Eritrea are unprecedented. Apparently, we share grave concerns about the fate of our people and the future of our nation, and we express a profound sense of solidarity with those who continue to take a firm stand against injustice. We also recognize that the situation requires a significant number of well-meaning Eritreans with knowledge, drive and persistence, effectively carrying out their duties to bring change and recover our great country from one of its gloomiest periods.

As you may be aware, we have recently released a letter to the public titled “The 2020 Manifesto of Eritrean Scholars and Professionals in the Diaspora” and in it we have highlighted our shared concerns over the regime’s continued and horrific human rights abuses, reckless political games and a need for building cohesive strategies. The Manifesto was signed by 114 Eritrean scholars and professionals with doctorate degrees, and it was heartwarming to many Eritreans to see so many intellectuals firmly standing with their people and exposing the abuses and oppression committed by the Isaias regime. Some also urged that Eritrean scholars and professionals assume the responsibility of providing direction and guidance in the fight for justice and beyond.

Acting in response to calls from several signatories of the Manifesto and other Eritreans, the organizing team invited all signatories for a follow up meeting, which was held on May 30, 2020. The meeting was by all means a great success with over 70 signatories attending and discussing about how they can further assist Pro-Justice Eritreans in the fight against dictatorship. As a result of the meeting and discussions that followed, decisions have been made (a) to form and name the organization “Eritrean Research Institute for Policy and Strategy (The Institute)”, (b) to expand the scope and membership of the Institute to include Eritrean professionals, academics and experienced activists with and without doctorate degrees, (c) to collaborate with political and civic organizations that share similar values and goals. The meeting also underscored the importance of collaborating with all well-meaning Eritreans to speed up the process of bringing about a positive change, completely transforming the political system of the country and ending the suffering of the Eritrean people. The Institute is committed to engage in all that is necessary and research-based activities and ensure that there will be a smooth transition to a democratic rule in the aftermath of regime change. Moreover, the Institute is now in the process of forming discipline-based Think Tank groups that will help to prepare the necessary blueprints and policy documents that may be launched during the transition period.

These blueprints will serve as the basis for the country’s economic development, the reformation of public institutions and the overall improvement of the welfare of the Eritrean people.

To this end, we are posting this public announcement to invite all Eritreans who are willing and have the ability, the knowledge, experiences and the commitment to contribute to the success of The Institute. Our aim is to position our discipline-based Think Tank Groups for effectively responding to and solving the toughest challenges of our people. We are therefore appealing to all who have the requisite expertise and the willingness to join and serve as members of the Think Tank Groups. Please join ERIPS and one of the Think Tank groups by providing your background and area(s) of interest in the following questionnaire: https://forms.gle/fBtDrdFJQc35PVJh6

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Regards, The ERIPS Organizing Team 6/28/2020

ጻውዒት ንኹሉኹም ኣብ ስደት እትነብሩ ኤርትራውያን ንፍትሒ ካብ፡ ትካል ምርምር ኤርትራውያን ንፖሊሲን ስትራተጅን ኤርትራውያን ሞያውያን ተኣኪቦም፡ ንናይ ህዝቦም ሓልዮትን ሞያዊ ግዴታቶምን ብቑዕ ፍታሕ ንምርካብ ዘለዎም ዓቕምን ኣብ ግምት ብምእታው፡ ተስፋ ዝሃንጽሉን ንኩነታት መጻኢት ኤርትራ ኣቐዲሞም ዝቕይስሉን ግዜ ሎሚ ኢዩ። ብሰንኪ ምልካዊ ስርዓት ህግደፍ፡ ግህሰት ሰብኣዊ መሰላት ህዝቢ ኤርትራን ፖለቲካዊ ቁሉውላው ሃገርናን ካብ ዓቐኑ ዝሓለፈ ኢዩ ዘሎ። እቲ ርኡይ ሓቂ ንሱ ስለ ዝኾነ፡ ብኩነታት ህዝብናን መጻኢ ዕድል ሃገርናን ኣዚና ከም እንሻቐል ክበርህ አለዎ ጥራይ ዘይኮነ ምስ’ቶም ፍትሒ ንምንዳይ ጸኒዖም ዝቃለሱ ዘለዊ ደቂ ሃገር ዘለና ምሕዝነት ክንገልጽ ንፈቱ። ኣብ ርእሲኡ፡ ኩነታት ክብርቲ ሃገርና ተቐይሩ ካብ’ዚ ጸላም ዘመን ክትገላገል እንድሕሪ ደኣ ኮይና፡ ብዙሓት ኤርትራውያን ብቕንዕናን ንጥፈትን ተስፋ ብዘይ ምቕራጽን በብዓቕሞም ምስ ዘበርክቱ ኢዩ። ከም ዝዝከር፡ ኣቐድም አቢልና “ማኒፈስቶ 2020 ብኤርትራውያን ምሁራትን ሞያውያንን ኣብ ስደት” ዘርእስቱ ጹሑፍ ዘርጊሕና ነይርና:። ኣብ’ቲ ናይ ሓባር መረዳእታናን ስክፍታታትናን ዘንጸባርቕ ጽሑፍ፡ ስርዓት ህግደፍ ኣብ ህዝብና ብቐጻሊ ዘውርዶ ዘሎ ዘስካሕክሕ ግፍዕን ግህሰት ሰብኣዊ መሰላትን ፖለቲካዊ ቁማርን ነዞም ተርእዮታት ንምግታእ ዘድልየና ዘሎ ምህናጽ ዝተወሃሃደ ስትራተጅን ብሕጽር ዝበለ መንገዲ ገሊጽና ነይርና። እዚ ናይ 114 ኤርትራውያን ምሁራት ክታም ዝሓዘለ መንቀሊ ሰነድ፡ ንብጣዕሚ ብዙሓት ኤርትራውያን ፍናን ክህቦም ዝኸኣለ፡ ከም’ዚኦም ዝኣመሰሉ ብዙሓት ምሁራትን ሞያውያንን ኤርትራውያን ኣብ ጎድኒ ህዝቦም ተሰሊፎም ነቲ ብምልካዊ ስርዓት ኢሰያስ ዝወርድ ዘሎ መሪር ግፍዕን ጭቆናን ብትብዓት ከቃልዑ ምኽኣሎም ኢዩ። ነዚ ቅዱስ ተበግሶ እዚ ምርኩስ ብምግባር ድማ ገለ ግዱሳት ኤርትራውያን እዚ ተጀሚሩ ዘሎ ምትእኽኻብ ክቕጽል፡ ከምኡ ድማ ምሁራትን ሞያውያንን ኤርትራውያን ኣብ ምምእዛንን ምምሕዳርን ቃልሲ ግቡእ ሓላፍነቶም ክጻወቱ ጸዊዖም። ነዚ ናይ ዝተፈላለዩ ኤርትራውያን ጻውዒት ምላሽ ምእንቲ ክረክብ፡ አወሃሃድቲ ሽማግለ ማኒፈስቶ 2020 ንኹሎም እቶም ኣብ’ቲ ጽሑፍ ክታሞም ዘስፈሩ ምሁራትን ሞያውያንን ብምዕዳም ኣብ ጉምበት 30, 2020 ቀዳማይ ኣኼባ ኣካይዳ። እቲ ልዕሊ 70 ምሁራትን ሞያውያንን ዝተሳተፍዎ ኣኼባ ዕዉት ዝገበሮ ምኽንያት ድማ ንፍትሒ ምስ ዝቃለሱ ደቂ ሃገር ሓቢርካ ብምስራሕ ዕምሪ ውልቀ ምልካዊ ስርዓት ህግደፍ ዝሓጽረሉ መንገድታት ዝድህስሱ ምዙሓት ሓሳባት ስለ ዝመንጨዉ ኢዩ። ከም ውጽኢት ናይ’ቲ ኣኼባን ብድሕሪኡ ዝቐጸሉ ዝርርባትን፡ እዞም ዝስዕቡ ውሳነታት ጸዲቖም፣ ሀ) ሓንቲ ማሕበር ክትፍጠርን ስማ ድማ “ትካል ምርምር ኤርትራውያን ንፖሊሲን ስትራተጂን (The Institute)” ክኸውን፡ ለ) ኣባልነት ማሕበር ሰፊሑ ንዶክተረይት መዓርግ ዘለዎምን ዘይብሎምን ሰባት ዘጠቓልል ኮይኑ ኩሎም ኣብ ፍትሒ ዝኣምኑ ምሁራትን ሞያውያንን ምኩራት ተቓለስትን ክጽምበሩዎ ክተባብዑ፡ ሐ) ምስ ኩሎም እቶም ተመሳሳሊ ዕላማን ባህርን ዘለዎም ፖለቲካውያንን በርጌሳውያንን ማሕበራት ተመሓዚኻ ምስራሕ። ከም ተወሳኺ፡ እቲ ኣኼባ ንኣድላይነት ናይ ምስ ኩሎም ደለይቲ ፍትሒ ኤርትራውያን ሰሪሕካ ኣዎንታዊ ለውጢ ምቅልጣፍ፡ ፖለቲካዊ መርሓ ሃገርና ኣመዓራሪኻ ምምዕባል፡ ከምኡ ድማ ስቓይ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ከብቅዕ ኣጸቢቕካ ምጽዓር ብምባል ኣድሚቑ ኣስሚሩሉ። እዚ ትካል፡ ኣብ ኩሎም ኣድለይትን ምርምር ምርኩስ ዝገበሩን ዕማማት ኣትዂ ብምስራሕ፡ ድሕሪ ምውዳቕ ህግደፍ ስልጣን ብዘይ ሓርጎጽጐጽ ናብ ህዝቢ ክመሓላለፍን ደሞክራሲያዊ ምሕደራ ክጸንዕን ክሰርሕ ኢዩ። ክንዮ እዚ ዕላማ ዝኸይድ፡ ትካልና ብሞያ ዝተኸፋፈሉ ጉጅለታት መጽናዕቲ መስሪቱ ኣድለይቲ ምርምራት ብምክያድ ኣብ መሰጋገሪ ግዜ ክጠቕሙ ዝኽእሉ ጽሑፋት ክቕርብ ተበጊሱ ኣሎ። እዞም ጽሑፋት ነቲ ድሕሪ ለውጢ ዝበጋገስ ቁጠባዊ ተሃድሶን ምምዕርራይ መንግስታውያን ትካላትን ኩሉ መዳያዊ ምምሕያሽ ሂወት ኤርትራውያንን ከገልግሉ ኢዮም። እዞም ኣብ ላዕሊ ዝተጠቕሱ ዕላማታት ኩዉናት ንምግባር፡ ኩሉኹም ዓቕምን ፍልጠትን ተመክሮን ድሉውነትን ዘለኩም ደለይቲ ፍትሒ ክትጽምበሩና ብትሕትና ንዕድም። ተበግሶና እተን ብሞያ ዝተኸፋፈላ ጉጅለታት መጽናዕቲ ትካልና ብግቡእ ተወሃሂደን ነቶም ሰፍ ዘይብሉ ብድሆታት ህዝብና ክፈትሓ ኢዩ። ስለ’ዚ ኩሉኹም እቶም ነዞም ኣብ ላዕሊ ዝተጠቕሱ ቅጥዕታት እተማልኡ ወለንተኛታት ደለይቲ ፍትሒ፡ ክትጽምበሩናን ኣብ’ተን ናይ መጽናዕቲ ጉጅለታት ተዋፊርኩም ዓቕምኹም ዝፈቕዶ ኣበርክቶ ንህዝብኹም ክትልግስሉን ንላቦ። ኣባላት እዚ ትካል ክትኮኑን ኣብ’ተን ናይ መጽናዕቲ ጉጅለታት ክትዋፈሩን ምእንቲ ንድሕረ ባይታኹምን ምርጫታትኩምን ዝምልከት ሓበሬታ ኣብዚ ብምጥዋቕን https://forms.gle/fBtDrdFJQc35PVJh6 ውሑዳት ሕቶታት ብምምላስን ክትሰዱልና ንምሕጸን። ምስ ትካልና ተሓባቢርኩም ክትሰርሑ ትደልዩ ማሕበራት ወይ ድማ ምስ ኣባላት ትካል ምርምር ኤርትራውያን ክትዛተዩ እትደልዩ ወከልቲ ማሕበራት፡ ንዝያዳ ሓበሬታ በዚ ዝስዕብ ኢመይል ክትረኽቡና ትኽእሉ፡ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ካብ ትካል ምርምር ኤርትራውያን ተወሳኺ ሓበሬታ እትደልዩ ሰባት እውን በዚ ኢመይል ርኸቡና፡ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ሰሰናዩ፡ ኣወሃሃዲት ሽማግለ ትካል ምርምር ኤርትራውያን ንፖሊሲን ስትራተጅን 6/28/2020

المعهد االرتري للسياسات واالبحاث االستراتيجية نداء لكل االرتريين طالبي العدالة في المهجر شعبنا، متحل ين لقد آن األوان لتجميع أصحاب االختصاص، وبناء األمل، وصياغة مستقبل إرتريا باالستجابة لرغبات بالروح المهنية ومعتمدين عىل الحلول الناجعة إن مستويات القمع والوحشية التي يتعرض لها شعبنا تحت ظل دكتاتورية الجبهة الشعبية للديمقراطية والعدالة وصلت مراحل غير مسبوقة، هذ ا في ظل مخاوف جدية متنامية حول مصير شعبنا وأمتنا، وهو ما يجعلنا نعبر عن عميق تضامننا مع الذين يقفون بحزم ضد هذا النظام الظالم، ويزيد أدراكنا بأن الوضع يتطلب من االرتريين ذو الفطرة السليمة الرافضة للظلم ويمتلكون المعرفة والدافع والمثابرة للقيام بواجباتهم بفعالية إلحداث التغيير وتمكين بالدنا من تجاوز واحدة من أكثر مراحل تاريخها قتامة. باسم )مانفيستو كما تعلمون فقد أصدرنا مؤخرا بيانا 2020م لألكاديميين والمهنيين بالمهجر(، عبرنا فيه مخاوفنا المشتركة بشأن انتهاكات النظام ً عاماً المستمرة والمروعة لحقوق اإلنسان، وسياساته المتهورة، وأوضحنا فيه الحاجة إلى بناء استراتيجيات متماسكة بديلة. لقد جاء المانفيستو بتوقيع مائة وأربعة عشرا من العلماء والمهنيين اإلرتريين الحاصلين على درجات الدكتوراه. وأوجد صدروه حالة من االرتياح لدى بعض قطاعات شعبنا وهم ً يرون العديد من اإلرتريين المثقفين يقفون بقوة مع شعبهم ويفضحون االنتهاكات والقمع الذي يرتكبه نظام أسياس. كما حث البعض على أن يتحمل األكاديميون والمهنيون اإلرتريون على عاتقهم مسؤولية التوجيه واإلرشاد لمسيرة النضال من أجل العدالة وما يلي ذلك. استجابة للنداءات الواردة من العديد من الموقعين على المانفيستو وغيرهم من اإلرتريين، دعا الفريق المنظم جميع الموقعين الى اجتماع لمواصلة الجهود، وتم عقد االجتماع في 30 مايو 2020 .كان االجتماع ناجحا نجاحا باهرا بكل المقاييس حيث حضره أكثر من 70 موقعًا. وقد ناقش المجتمعون وسائل المساعدة الممكنة التي يمكن أن يقدمها هذا التجمع لطالبي العدالة من االرتريين في مكافحة الدكتاتورية. وبناء على المناقشات التي دارت في االجتماع والنقاشات التي تلته، تم اتخاذ القرارات التالية )أ( تأسيس و تسمية مؤسسة باسم -المعهد االرتري ألبحاث السياسات والدراسات االستراتيجية- ) يشار اليه الحقا بالمعهد ( )ب( توسيع نطاق وعضوية المعهد لتشمل اإلرتريين من المهنيين واألكاديميين والناشطين ذوي الخبرة بدرجة الدكتوراه أو بدونها )ج( التعاون مع كافة المنظمات السياسية والمدنية التي تشترك مع المعهد في القيم واألهداف المماثلة. أكد االجتماع على أهمية التعاون مع جميع اإلرتريين ذوي المواقف الواضحة من النظام لتسريع عملية إحداث التغيير السياسي الكامل وإنهاء معاناة الشعب اإلرتري. المعهد من جانبه ملتزم بالمشاركة في كل األنشطة الضرورية التي تقوم على إجراء البحوث والدراسات لضمان انتقال سلس إلى حكم ديمقراطي في أعقاب تغيير النظام. عالوة على ذلك، يقوم المعهد في الوقت الحالي بتشكيل مجموعات من مراكز البحث او الخبراء المتخصصين )Tanks Think )والتي سوف تساعد في إعداد الدراسات المطلوبة والتي يمكن االستفادة منها خالل الفترة االنتقالية، ويمكن أن تكون هذه الدراسات أساس للتنمية االقتصادية، وإصالح المؤسسات العامة واالصالح الشامل من أجل رفاهية الشعب اإلرتري. تحقيا لهذه الغاية، ننشر هذا اإلعالن العام لدعوة جميع اإلرتريين الراغبين ولديهم القدرة والمعرفة والتجارب وااللتزام بالمساهمة في نجاح المعهد . ً هدفنا في ذلك هو تمكين هذه المجموعات من مراكز البحث )الخبراء المتخصصين( بغرض االستجابة الفعالة لمواجهة التحديات الصعبة التي يواجهها شعبنا. وعليه نناشد جميع من لديهم الخبرة المطلوبة واالستعداد لالنضمام والعمل كأعضاء في مجموعات المراكز البحثية المتخصصة، ويمكن افادتنا عن كيفية وطبيعة مساهماتكم من خالل توفير معلومات عن خلفياتكم العلمية ومجاالت اهتمامكم من خالل تعبئة هذا االستبيان الموجود في هذا الرابط: https://forms.gle/fBtDrdFJQc35PVJh6 ولطلب التعاون بشكل رسمي مع المعهد، أو أي استفسار يتعلق بالمعهد نأمل ارسال كافة المراسالت الى االيميل التالي: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. فريق العمل بالمعهد م2020/06/28

Source UNHCR
Posted 23 Jun 2020
Originally published 23 June 2020

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Much of Solomon’s work is inspired by his faith, featuring images of saints and other biblical scenes © UNHCR/Mohamed AlalemMuch of Solomon’s work is inspired by his faith, featuring images of saints and other biblical scenes © UNHCR/Mohamed Alalem

By Caroline Gluck

Painting and drawing offers an escape for one refugee living in Tripoli at a time of conflict and a lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic

In an unfinished building in a downtrodden neighbourhood of Tripoli, Solomon Gebreyonas Alema, a 29-year-old Eritrean refugee, can be found most days sketching and painting.

One small room in the dimly lit, overcrowded building that houses around 200 refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan has been designated by the residents as an “art room” – a space for people to paint, draw, write and play music.

Since mid-March, few residents have been able to venture far from the building due to stringent restrictions on movement introduced to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Libya, as well as ongoing security concerns linked to the conflict in Tripoli, which until recently had raged for more than a year. This has prevented most from being able to earn money through daily labour.

“Painting means life to me, I don’t want to be separated from it,” said Solomon, as he displayed his sketches and drawings. “When we get money, we spend it on necessary essentials like food and rent. Even so, because art is a necessary thing for me, for my life, my friends and other people around me help in whatever way they can by providing some items for painting and drawing.”

Solomon has been drawing and painting since he was a young child. He is self-taught and never attended formal art classes. His faith informs much of his work – large canvases in rich, vibrant colours portraying scenes from the bible, including figures of saints.

Painting these not only gives him purpose and inspiration, said Solomon, but has also helped other Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees struggling to get by in Libya.

“We don’t have any place to pray here in this country. So we use these pictures” he explained. “When people pray, it gives them hope. Using this painting to pray helps them with their faith and makes them feel they are protected from danger.”

There are currently close to 49,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers living in Libya. Many face violence and abuse on their journeys here, as well as in detention when they reach the country­­­. Most continue to face huge challenges on a daily basis as they struggle to get by.

Many were smuggled into the country, like Solomon, who left his home and family determined to find a safe place to study and make a career as a professional painter. He paid smugglers US$5,500 to take him to Europe, which he paid for with the help of his mother, who sold her gold jewellery, and money from relatives in the Eritrean diaspora.

His attempt to reach Europe by boat, however, ended when the vessel was intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard, and he was put in a detention centre with others.

On his release into the urban community in Tripoli, he developed tuberculosis – a common disease among refugees living in cramped, unsanitary conditions – and re-entered another detention centre in order to seek medical assistance, which he was unable to afford outside with no means to support himself.

He is grateful now to be living in a place where he has the support of others in his community, despite the tough conditions.

“People’s thoughts are very much on coronavirus. They are so worried because most of the people live a hand-to-mouth existence,” he explained, saying that with his housemates and friends, food and other items are shared among the group.

“I honestly would prefer to spend everything I have on materials to paint. But life is very difficult and it is not easy to focus on painting when there are other really important things that are priorities for us, necessities for us to survive,” he said.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, and its partners provide help to refugees and asylum seekers in urban settings in Libya, including documentation, cash assistance to the most vulnerable, hygiene and household items, medical assistance and psychosocial support.

Together with the U.N. World Food Programme, the agency will also start providing monthly emergency food assistance for up to 10,000 refugees and asylum seekers until the end of the year, to help those struggling to provide for themselves having lost access to daily work due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

One of Solomon’s most recent sketches, which he is turning into a painting, shows life in Tripoli during the coronavirus pandemic. One side of the drawing depicts the city at war: shelling, fighting and tanks on the move; on the other side, a man wears protective clothing as he sprays disinfectant to fight the disease.

In the centre, surrounded by people who are praying and washing their hands, is a Madonna-like mother and baby. These central figures are protected by the shade of an umbrella, with the letters UNCHR written on it.

“I have tried my best to focus on my art,” he explained. “We have tried to stick with the little hope that we have. And one thing that has given us all hope is having UNHCR’s help.”

“We have a feeling that somehow, we are safe. We didn’t lose hope due to this and due to our faith. We didn’t give up.”