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Liberty English Magazine Issue No. 41

Monday, 28 November 2016 10:59 Written by

 

Eritrean refugees in Israel sent to Uganda and Rwanda

Wednesday, 23 November 2016 23:49 Written by

 

Do refugees have a choice in Israel's continued policy of transferring African arrivals to third countries?

 

Holot detention facility in the Negev Desert, in Israel housing some 2,500 asylum seekers mainly from Eritrea and Sudan [Jim Hollander/EPA]

 

 

Kampala, Uganda-The sky was still an inky black when the flight from Cairo touched down at Entebbe Airport near Kampala, the capital of Uganda, one morning in mid-January, the fluorescent glow spilling from the small terminal providing the only source of light.

It had been 15 hours since Musgun Gebar left Tel Aviv, and the journey staggered him in its brevity. Four years earlier, when he had travelled the other way - from Eritrea in East Africa to Israel - he had done so on foot, a punishing journey across the Sahara and the Sinai that took more than a month.

Kidnappers stalked the route, food was scarce, and half of the people with whom he had travelled didn't survive. But this time, he simply sat down in a small cushioned seat and waited, snapping selfies and eating salty meals from aluminum tins until, suddenly, he had arrived.  

Gebar had no visa to enter Uganda. He wasn't carrying an invitation letter or an application form. In fact, he didn't even have a passport. Though he had crossed many borders in his life, he had never done it through the official channel of queues and customs officials and dated stamps.

He only carried $3,500 in clean, hundred dollar bills in his wallet, a temporary travel document called a "laissez passer", and a creased letter from the Israeli government. "Passengers are asked to follow instructions and regulations to ensure a safe and pleasant departure from Israel," it read, with a signature from the Voluntary Departures Unit.

From friends who had come before him, Gebar already knew what would happen next. The man emerged as he stepped inside the terminal, wordlessly ushering him and the nine other Eritreans on the flight away from the passport control line.

Without a glance from the border patrol officers, he led them around the queue, to the baggage claim where their luggage awaited, and then out of the airport's sliding-glass doors. In the car park, a van waited to drive them to a hotel.

After that, they were on their own. 

No choice

Human rights organisations havereportedthat over the past three years this scene has played out hundreds of times in Uganda and neighbouring Rwanda, where more than 3,000 Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers fromIsrael have been "voluntarily" resettled as of 2015.

Often, those who were resettled dispute whether they truly had a choice.

Gebar, for instance, says that he was being held in an immigration detention camp in the Negev Desert called Holot, when, he claims, officials there informed him that he had threeoptions. If he liked, he could stay indefinitely in the camp. A second option was to go back to Eritrea, the country he had fled five years before. Or, he could agree to take $3,500 and depart for a third country of the Israeli government's choosing.

Gebar didn't hesitate. He took the third option.

Andie Lambe, executive director of the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI), an NGO that has conducted extensive research into the departure of East African refugees from Israel, also questions just how much choice these refugees have.

"What does it mean when an unknown third country is someone's best option?" he asks. "To me that says they never really had a choice at all."

Mediareportssuggest that the three countries have cut a secret, high-level deal in which the African states accept refugees in return for arms, military training and other aid from Israel. 

The countries involved have given conflicting responses, however, on their involvement.

Sabine Haddad, Israeli population and immigration authority spokeswoman, told Al Jazeera that Israel does have an agreement with two African countries - which she did not name - for the relocation of unwanted asylum seekers. She did not offer a response regarding the weapons exchange part of the agreement. 

OPINION: Uganda: Doing Israel's dirty work

BothUgandaandRwanda, on the other hand, deny they have signed any agreement with Israel. Furthermore, neither country has affordedrefugee status to any refugees arriving from Israel. 

Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told Al Jazeera earlier this year that the reports of a deal were "a rumour circulated by Israeli intelligence".

"I have disputed that we have received these individuals," he said.

No rights

Like others around the world, refugees leaving Israel for Rwanda and Uganda find themselves in a precarious position. Their lives straddle two countries, and movement either forwards or backward is nearly impossible.

READ MORE: Desperate Journeys

Tedros Abrahe, an Eritrean midwife who also left Israel under the "voluntary departures" programme earlier this year, says he is "justwaiting to be a legal refugee somewhere".

Like most of the estimated 5,000Eritreans who flee their country each month,Abrahe first left home in 2011 to escape the country's mandatory and indefinite national service programme. After a brief stay in Sudan, he paid smugglers $3,000 to take him to Israel, where he figured opportunities would be better and life easier.

But when he arrived, he found that his Eritrean midwifery qualifications were not recognised in Israel, and that the only work available to him as an asylum seeker was an under-the-table job cleaning the kitchen of a Tel Aviv shawarma restaurant.

Israel did not consider him a refugee. Rather, like nearly all of the approximately42,000Eritrean and Sudanese refugees in Israel, he was labelled an "infiltrator" - alabelpreviously used to categorise Palestinians entering Israel. The only status Abrahe was allowed was a permit granting him temporary reprieve from being deported, which, he says, he had to renew in person every 60 days.

This system,says Anat Ovadia-Rosner, a spokeswoman for Israeli NGO Hotline for Refugees and Migrants,"puts people in a perpetual limbo, without the right to healthcare, to welfare services, to anything that might help them build a permanent life here".

She thinks that "the whole structure is meant to make people's lives miserable, so eventually, perhaps, they won't want to stay any more".

Between 2009 and 2016, Israelgrantedofficial refugee status to 0.07 percent of all its Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers - a total of four people.

When, in late 2015, Abrahe went to refresh his Israeli permit, he was informed that it would not be renewed. Instead, he says, he was told that he had 30 days to either report to an immigration detention centre or leave the country for Eritrea or a location of the government's choosing.

Believing that he would not be safe in Eritrea, Abrahe chose the latter option.

By the time he boarded a flight for East Africa in January 2016, thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese refugees had already followed the same path.

According to Interior Minister Gilad Erdan, the voluntary resettlement plan had "encourage[d] infiltrators to leave the borders of the state of Israel honourably and safely".

But just how safe is it really?

According to research by Hotline and IRRI in Rwanda, most of the refugees who arrive in Rwanda are immediately smuggled over the border to Uganda.

Abrahe says that he spent just two days in the country - waiting in a house near Kigali under an armed guard - before being forcibly taken to Kampala.

Those arriving in Uganda are not afforded any further rights. Uganda's Department of Refugees says there is no deal to accept refugees coming from Israel. Douglas Asiimwe, the department's principal protection officer, told Al Jazeera that any refugees arriving from Israel were assessed on the individual merits of their cases.

They shouldn't need Uganda's protection, he explained, because they weren't coming from a war zone, but from a "safe" country that had promised under international law to uphold the rights of refugees.

Haddad, the Israeli population and immigration spokeswoman, insists that Israel "ensures that the process of relocation is conducted according to the agreements and in line with international law".

In her statement to Al Jazeera, she wrote: "Israel makes certain that the refugees are accorded all relevant rights in accordance with the agreements, including receiving the appropriate permits and papers."

But NGOs and human rights lawyers who have reviewed the refugees' cases in both Israel and Uganda say that Israel's official line on the subject is nottrue. 

In late 2015, a coalition of NGOs and human rights lawyers challenged the legality of Israel's third-country deportations before the Israeli Supreme Court. But a decision is still pending and Israel's "voluntary departures" continue.

READ MORE: Eritreans escape to torturous Sinai

No jobs

Even without legal status, life in Kampala was initially a marked improvement over Israel for both Gebar and Abrahe.

Ugandans were more welcoming than Israelis, they said, and the two melted easily into the city's large Eritrean population.

Abrahe had spent some of the money the Israeli government gave him on an iPhone, which he used to send smiling selfies to family and friends in Eritrea, Israel, and Europe.  

But the $3,500 wouldn't last forever, and there were few jobs to be had in Uganda, even for someone with medical training like Abrahe. By September, both men had run out of money and were living on handouts from friends and family.

"Time just passes itself," Gebar said. "You just sit home all day waiting, doing nothing."

In late October, however, Abrahe decided that he couldn't wait any longer. He borrowed a passport from a Ugandan friend and flew to Turkey. From there, he made the dangerous journey by boat to Greece, where he is now living in a refugee camp.

"It's better to take a risk than to live this way for my whole life," he says. "This year, I want to be a legal person somewhere."

Ryan Lenora Brown was a fellow of the International Women's Media Foundation in Uganda.

Source: Al Jazeera

Source:http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/10/eritrean-refugees-israel-uganda-rwanda-161024130201856.html

martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

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It is one of the tragedies of the plight of Eritrean refugees that even when they have escaped from the repression that has engulfed their own country they are not free.

A network of spies and informers has been carefully nurtured by the Eritrean regime to spy on their own citizens abroad.

The Eritrean diaspora is under constant surveillance – and they know it.

Go to almost any Eritrean opposition gathering and you will see them: young men and women who gather information and intelligence on anyone who steps out of line.

A meeting I held with the renowned Eritrean scholar, Dan Connell, was subjected to harrassment and was filmed by government supporters.

The image above is an example of their work.

Sometimes they go further.

Meetings are broken up and anyone who speaks out against the repression of President Isaias Afwerki is heckled and shouted down.

The youth wing of the ruling party – the YPFDJ – are among the most actively involved in these attempts at intimidation.

I have experienced this myself at first hand on several occasions, but Eritreans are treated much more harshly.

Openly violent

Eri Blood

In a previous article I have dealt with the violence that is sometimes meted out against anyone who attempts to protest against Eritrean government events.

During last year’s Bologna festival two members of the official security staff allegedly attacked demonstrators, injuring two of them.

One needed stitches in his head, the other to his head and back.

The Festival security staff were identified by the distinctive T-shirts they wear, with a read heart logo called “Eri blood” with a picture of a red heart.

During a demonstration outside the festival, Eritrean government supporters tried to provoke the opposition by driving their car into the demonstrators.

One person was injured.

Surveillance in Scandinavia

This is what Tewlede Ghirma told Radio Assena on 9 July this year.

He explained that an Eritrean he shared a house with in Norway – Michael – threatened him as a member of the opposition.

His computer was hacked and although Tewelde reported this to the police nothing was done. Meanwhile his family in Asmara was arrested and detained for three weeks until they managed to escape.

Tewdle says Michael travels to Eritrea frequently and is involved in smuggling. Twelde says he believes Michael is behind the hacking of his computer and the arrest of his family.

Tewelde is convinced that he is targeted because of his opposition to the regime. And his case is not an isolated one.

Eritreans in Norway and Sweden have complained that they hare systematically harassed, their computers and mobile phones hacked and pressure exerted on them because of their politics.

The UN Commission of Inquiry

Considerable international attention has been given to the UN Commission’s findings on the human rights abuses conducted by the regime which – they concluded – are so severe they might constitute ‘crimes against humanity.’

Little attention was paid to what the commissioners had to say about the Eritrean spy network around the world. Below I have incorporated what was said. It is worrying.

Clearly the regime has constructed a sophisticated system of keeping its disapora under surveillance.

This is something governments around the world need to halt.

From the Commission Report

(ii)     Eritrean diaspora

  1. The spying web has its outposts outside Eritrea, used to control the Eritrean population in the various countries where they reside. Eritrean resentations in foreign countries recruit spies to conduct surveillance of Eritreans in the diaspora. Allegedly, Government operatives are active in almost every other place Eritreans live.[1] Information obtained by the Commission indicates that, to conduct spying activities on their behalf, embassies often approach individuals from within the Eritrean communities abroad, in particular those who pay the 2 per cent Rehabilitation Tax as this is perceived as a form of support to the Government.[2]

One witness who reported having been a spy for an Eritrean embassy told the Commission that “In 1997, Mr. [A], the consul in [a foreign country]… called me for a meeting joined by other spies. They told us we should continue our struggle in [a foreign country]. He introduced us to each other and started meeting us individually. There was an organisation … We were assigned to this organisation, not to work but to ensure the PFDJ was represented in every organisation. They wanted me to join the board. I refused, arguing I was too young and inexperienced. Later, Mr. A told me he had a job for me. He told me I should work for them as a security agent in [city Z]. He said this would only be between him and me. Later, he gave me appointments and said I would always be able to enter the consulate, without needing permission and without having to wait for an appointment. Even the people at the consulate were not allowed to ask us any questions. I received a schedule for the entire week. I was asked to go every day to different hotels or restaurants. There were three shifts per day. We were asked to chat with people who came to those places and report on what we heard. Every day, I had to report back to the consul in person. I believed this was the right thing to do … We had to observe every religious group. Those working in the religious groups are church members and PFDJ members at the same time … We did not know who was an agent and who was not. The work was organised by the consul alone, not with others. Now they have people who don’t trust each other. At the time, it was different … I decided to discontinue my work with them.”

  1. The Commission heard accounts of how spies track individuals who are considered to be political dissidents or engaging in religious activities that are not authorised in Eritrea.[3]

A person told the Commission that: “My brother and my father cannot go back to Eritrea because they belong to the opposition party. There are spies in [a foreign country] who spy on what Eritreans do there.”

Another person told the Commission that: “People cannot speak freely. Even here in [a foreign country], Eritreans cannot speak freely because the Government of Eritrea sends people to spy on those who have fled Eritrea.”

  1. The focus of this espionage also includes political organizations and religious entities. However, more generally the purpose of the surveillance by embassy operatives is for the Government to detect any suspicious and undesirable conduct, namely conduct that is perceived to be against the policies or needs of the Government.[4]
  2. Eritreans in the diaspora, for fear of reprisals, have felt the negative impact of the spying and surveillance on their lives. Many people spoke about the fear of returning to Eritrea to visit because they might have been backlisted due to their political and other activities. Other people told the Commission about how they felt constrained to join organisations in the diaspora or express free opinions regarding the situation in the country. Most importantly, the Commission found that there are legitimate fears among Eritreans in the diaspora that the Eritrean Government engages in phone tapping and email surveillance in Eritrea such that they cannot freely communicate with their relatives in the country.[5]

(c)     Other means to conduct spying and surveillance

(i)     Intimidation and harassment

  1. The Commission gathered information indicating that the spy web of the Government of Eritrea uses intimidation – specifically in the form of threats and retaliation against family members – and harassment to collect information. This is done to put pressure on people within and outside Eritrea.[6]

A witness told the Commission that: “When I left the country, the security forces kept on asking my wife if I was coming back or not. They made frequent visits to the house. They tried to make her their informant so that they could extract information about my activities. They thought that I was involved in political activities. In 2008, due to the visits and harassment, she packed and left the country with the children.

In a submission received by the Commission, a man who was harassed by security agents reported: “The darkest night for me was actually after I was released from jail. Every morning and every evening the national security forces were coming to my family and asking, ‘What did you do? Did your daughter recant? What did you do?’ This happened almost every day. My family kept telling me, ‘If you do not recant, if you do not leave this religion, you are going to send us to prison’.

Another person whose mother was detained for asking questions told the Commission that: “In Asmara, there were always people watching our family. I first began to notice it in 2009. They were always in the same cars, the same people. They just sat outside our apartment when we were home and followed us when we went out. They never said anything to us or touched us. However, on one occasion my mother was stopped on her way home from work. She was asked where she was coming from and she asked who they were. They told her that they were from the security agency. She asked to see their badges. She was not satisfied and told them that she would not respond. She was arrested and detained for a day.

During the conduct of interviews with Eritreans in the diaspora, one witness told the Commission that “A colleague and I have received death threats for the past three weeks from someone in Asmara. My colleague … called back and recorded the conversation. We are told the number is an intelligence number.

A son whose father was arrested and detained for the former’s alleged political activities in the diaspora told the Commission that: “My father was imprisoned for 20 months when he returned from [a foreign country]… We do not know why he was arrested and he was not told the reasons either. But when he returned to Eritrea, before he was arrested, intelligence people asked him about my political activities. He was told to ask me to leave the political organisation I was affiliated to.

Another witness told the Commission that while he was living abroad, his mother was approached by national security officers: “One day when going to work she spoke to a woman in the intelligence unit who said to her ‘Your son is very active in the opposition, why don’t you tell him to just concentrate on his studies?’ to which my mother replied ‘You know today’s children, they don’t listen to their mothers’.”

                             [1]        TAM066, TAM001.

                             [2]        TBA038, TCDP067, TBA094. Also known as “Diaspora Tax”, this tax is levied of Eritrean citizens abroad by the Government of Eritrea, through its local embassies.

                             [3]        S020, TAM065, TBA094, TSH023, TAM001.

                             [4]        TNR046, TCDP067.

                             [5]        TNR023, TNR046, TNR011, TAM065, TBA038, TAM066, TSH037, TBA016, TCDP078-082, TNR10, TRDV003, TSH103, TSH143, TBA040, TSH005, TBA034.

                             [6]        TSH098, TAM072, TAM053, TSH032, S133, TSH023.

Source=https://martinplaut.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/eritreas-sinister-international-network-of-spies-and-thugs/

 

migrants

About 27,500, mostly Nigerians and Eritreans, arrived Italy in October, the European Union’s border agency, Frontex, said.

The agency said nearly 27,500 migrants arrived in Italy in October, an all-time monthly record fuelled by favourable weather conditions.

It said on Wednesday in Rome that the figure was the highest monthly number ever recorded in the Central Mediterranean and more than twice as many as in the previous month.

The agency said that the arrivals surged because, after “relatively poor weather conditions in September, people smugglers loaded more people than usual on unseaworthy vessels before winter makes crossings impossible’’.

It said that it led to a very high number of deaths, reporting that 127 bodies were recovered on the sea stretch between Italy and North Africa and that it was likely that many more persons drowned.

“Tragedies were continuing in November as the Italian coastguard recovered one body and 580 migrants were rescued in Wednesday sea operations.

“This added to seven bodies recovered and almost 900 saved Monday and Tuesday,’’ it said.

Frontex said that most migrants who landed in Italy in October came from Nigeria and Eritrea.

 

It said that the year’s provisional tally of arrivals was nearly 159,500, up 13 per cent compared to the same period in 2015.

The agency noted that Italy became the main entry point for EU-bound migrants in the first half of 2016, after the so-called Balkan route via Greece was closed by an EU-Turkey repatriation deal and tighter border controls.

“Greece recorded 1,700 landings last month, compared to more than 170,000 in October, 2015.

“Migrants mostly came from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq,’’ it said.

The thousands of Nigerians who seek to enter Europe through Italy via the Mediterranean has been a source of concern to both the Nigerian and European governments.

The Nigerians often travel the rough and risky road route via Niger to arrive in war-torn Libya where they join others to try to cross the Mediterranean.

On Tuesday, the Nigerian anti-trafficking agency, NAPTIP, said it intercepted 50 Nigerians who had embarked on the route.

“There are males and females as well as three minors in the group and they all fall within the ages of three and 45 years,” a NAPTIP official said.

Source=http://www.premiumtimesng.com/author/webmaster

 

Campaigners condemn Home Office guidelines on 12- to 15-year-olds issued after demolition of Calais camp

 
Some young migrants wait to leave the Calais camp
Migrants were transferred from the demolished Calais migrant camp all over France. Photograph: Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

Unaccompanied teenagers from Afghanistan, Yemen and Eritrea who had reached the Calais refugee camp will be barred from entering the UK according toHome Office guidelines.

In a decision that was condemned by refugee charities and campaigners, the move will limit the intake of teenagers who do not have family in the UK to those from Syria and Sudan except in exceptional circumstances.

The Home Office’s guidance said it would take children 12 or under of all nationalities, those deemed at high risk of sexual exploitation, and those who “are aged 15 or under and are of Sudanese or Syrian nationality” because people from those countries are already granted asylum in the UK in 75% of cases.

Lady Sheehan, the Liberal Democrat peer, said the new rules, details of which emerged on Tuesday night, were “unacceptable”. Sheehan said they would come as a “horrible shock” to refugees from other countries who had been led to believe they might be able to come to Britain. “It is quite arbitrary. We had no idea they were going to apply this sort of criteria,” she said.

Migrants wait to board buses to leave the Calais camp
Migrants wait to board buses to leave the Calais camp. Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

Sheehan said she feared that teenagers awaiting asylum decisions in reception centres acrossFrancewould now escape and return to Calais to risk their lives jumping on lorries. “People will be just devastated,” she said in relation to some of the refugees she has campaigned for in Calais.

Rabbi Janet Darley, the leader of Citizens UK, accused the government of back-tracking on its promises. “The UK is unforgivably backtracking on its commitment to vulnerable refugee children inEurope. Citizens UK’s safe passage team estimates that around 40% of the children who were in Calais at the time of the demolition are Eritrean or Afghan,” said Darley.

“By ruling out children from these countries, the home secretary is arbitrarily preventing many vulnerable children from being helped by the Dubs amendment, and will make it impossible for her to keep her promise that the UK would take half of the unaccompanied children inCalais.”

Thenew guidelines were issued to Home Office staffon 8 November and have been seen by the Guardian after they were shared on Tuesday with charities which have worked in the Calais migrant camp. They follow claims by some tabloid newspapers that some of the youngsters coming to the UK were over 18.

 
 

The Calais camp was demolished two weeks ago, with an estimated 2,000 children and young adults of 16, 17 and 18 years old now scattered across France in reception centres while their cases are examined by French and Home Office officials. The UK has so far taken about 330 children from the Calais camp.

Unaccompanied children who have a family member in the UK are currently allowed in as part of a “fast transfer” family reunification programme, mandated by EU lawe.

The remainder have no family in the UK, but qualify for entry under an amendment to immigration laws pushed through parliament by Lord Dubs earlier this year.

Citizens UK also said that the Home Office process of transferring children to the UK has virtually ground to a halt. A group of girls aged between 15 and 17 arrived in Scotland under the Dubs amendment at the weekend, but the charity has not been made aware of any others in the past week.

Of the unaccompanied minors who have been brought to the UK from France so far this year, about 250 are part of the “fast transfer” family reunification programme.

Thechaotic clearance of the Calais migrant campcaused bitter tensions between the French and British governments, with France’spresident telling the UK it had to do its “moral duty”and take 1,000 children from the camp.

The Home Office said that “all children who have close family in the UK will be considered for transfer” and those that do not have family ties would be assessed according to the new guidance.

Source=https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/nov/15/migrant-teenagers-without-family-in-uk-barred-except-syrians-and-sudanese

Jeremy Binnie, London- IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

14 November 2016
 
The UAE has deployed Mirage 2000-9 jets to Assab in Eritrea. Source: IHS/Patrick Allen

The United Arab Emirates has deployed a combat air group to Eritrea's Assab airport to support its military operation in southern Yemen, Airbus Defence and Space satellite imagery shows.

There were nine Dassault Mirage 2000 multirole jet fighters at the airport on 20 October, as well as two Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, two Bell 407 helicopters, one Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, and two Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop airliners. This combination of aircraft is only in service with the UAE air force, which has about 40 Mirage 2000-9EAD jets and operates the Northstar Aviation 407MHR armed version of the Bell helicopter.

The construction of 12 hangars at the airbase indicates that the UAE has deployed or intends to deploy more than nine Mirage 2000-9 jets.

The hangars and fighters were not present at the base on 8 May.

Satellite imagery also shows UAE Navy vessels have been using Assab's commercial port since at least September 2015. The 20 October image shows one of the UAE Navy's six Baynunah-class corvettes docked on that day as well as two 64 m landing ships.

The high-speed catamaranSwiftwas also present, proving it was not sunk as claimed by Yemen's rebels when it was hit by an anti-ship missile near the Bab al-Mandab strait on 1 October. Previously operated as a high-speed logistics ship by the US Navy, the UAE saysSwiftis a civilian vessel that was carrying out a humanitarian mission when it was attacked.

Vessels from the UAE National Marine Dredging Company are also building a new port facility next to the airport that is likely to be used as a dedicated naval base once completed. The 20 October image shows the dock's retaining wall under construction.

Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options ihs.com/contact

Source=http://www.janes.com/article/65455/uae-deploys-fast-jets-to-eritrea

Listening is perhaps the most important of all interpersonal skills. It is the combination of intelligently giving undivided attention, hearing and understanding what is being communicated, not just what is being said. We need to remember that hearing is not the same as listening. People may hear the words, but if they do no pay attention, then they will not be able to understand the message correctly. Sometimes, it is easy to hear the words without truly listening in order to grasp the real message. We think that we know what is being said, but we need to clarify and double check the accuracy and our certainty of the situation before jumping to unnecessary and irrational conclusions. At times we are deeply preoccupied in our own thought or affair that we fail to pay attention to what other people say. One time, Aboy Manna, a crop farmer, was planting seeds in his field. Adey Fanna was passing by and said, “Aboy Manna, Good Morning to you.” Aboy Manna replied, “I am planting wheat.” Adey Fanna said again, “I just said Good Morning.” He replied again, “Though we do not have rain, we hope that the wheat will germinate.” In this conversation, Aboy Manna did not at all pay attention nor properly responded to what Adey Fanna was saying. The same thing frequently happens with so many of us because we do not give our full attention to listen and understand to what is said by other people. It is so important that we have interpersonal relationship and communicate properly and appropriately with other people who live around us, if we desire to avoid misunderstandings and confusion. It often happens that we take a certain term, or phrase, or even statement out of its real context from what was said and we make our own interpretation or conclusion which can create misunderstanding and confusion. The story below is a typical example that exhibits confusion due to lack of proper listening to what has been said by another person.

A group of ladies in one Eritrean Orthodox Christian church complained about the sermon given by the priest. The complaint started when the priest preached for two consecutive Sundays about the teachings of Prophet Isaiah (Esayas). The ladies collectively selected three from their group to represent them and confront the priest. They made an appointment to talk to the priest after the church service. At the meeting, the three ladies indicated to the priest that they come to church to learn the gospel and to receive spiritual blessings, not necessarily to learn or to listen to any kind of politics. The priest listened to them with full attention and interest. After they finished expressing their complaints, he asked them if they have a Bible and if they read it. They indicated to him that they have the Bible and they read it sometimes. He asked them to turn to the appropriate chapters and verses on prophet Isaiah. He explained to them that he was actually preaching about Prophet Isaiah from the Bible, not politics. The confusion was created because the ladies took the name ‘Esayas’ out of its context and made the wrong interpretation. 

Most people, most of the time, take listening for granted; it is something that just happens. It is only when we stop to think about listening and what it entails that we begin to realize that listening is in fact an important interpersonal skill that needs to be nurtured and developed. However, it is commonly observed in our Diasporas society that when another person voices an idea that is different than our own, we usually fail to listen with interest to what is said by the other person, or we often fail to acknowledge that the other person may have some truth in what they are saying. Such situation happens because “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” (Stephen Covey). Too often, we forget to listen. Many people in a conversation are not really listening. We are already preparing to respond while somebody is still talking. Listening is requisite for an exchange of ideas. We never learn anything while we are talking. People listen more attentively to those who listen to them. Most people do not seek first to understand because we do not listen with the intent to understand; we usually listen with the intent to reply. We are either speaking or preparing to speak. Consequently, the necessary information will not be conveyed properly in the process of our interpersonal communication. Lack of information will then create misunderstanding and misunderstanding will create conflict. Much of the negative discourse in our conventional interpersonal communication is caused and orchestrated by those people who do not listen and understand what is said by another person. When listening to people with different viewpoints and outlook, we need to put ourselves in their own shoes. Although we may not agree with them, it might help us to better understand their perspective. We have to try to find a common ground; areas in which we all agree, and seek the decency to respect each other’s perspective.

            The funny story narrated below shows how misunderstanding and confusion can happen, if we do not communicate our message properly to another person verbally or in writing.  The story is about a husband Gurja and a wife Gimja, on a shopping trip that went wrong.  Gimja needed some grocery items to make a birthday cake for their ten year-old daughter. Gimja decided to send Gurja to the grocery store to buy them.  By coincidence Gurja was on his way to a sports event, but he agreed to do it on one condition. There would be only a few items to buy so that he could go through the express checkout to save time, so he could still be on time for the game. Gimja told him verbally what she wanted him to buy, but, instead he asked her to list the items for him on a piece of paper. Gurja left and Gimja expected him to return home soon.  However, time passed by and he was not home, so she began to worry.  She picked up her phone and as she was about to call, but she heard him coming in the driveway.  He came into the house with three bags, put them down on the kitchen floor and told her that he would be back in with the rest of the bags. Gimja wondered what he was talking about and she started unpacking the bags.  She was surprised to see so many bags of grocery items. In the first bag there was one pound of butter, 2 bags of icing sugar and 3 bottles of vanilla.  In the second bag there were 4 dozen eggs.  In the third bag there were 5 packages of lard and her grocery list.  She looked at the list and suddenly realized what had happened. When Gurja asked her to make sure he could go through the express checkout, she made a list by numbering the items one through seven. She quickly put the list away before Gurja came in with the rest of the bags and decided not to say anything at all about the confusion between the numbers and the quantities of items bought.   Instead she planned on thanking him for being such a great husband. He brought in several more bags that contained 6 large bags of flour and 7 large cartons of milk.  Then he looked at his wife and said, “I obviously didn’t go through the express checkout because there were too much stuff.  However, when the cashier was ringing up the last item, I realized what I had done wrong and I just wanted to get out of the store as fast as I can because the people in line behind me were laughing.” Originally, the numbers in the list were meant to identify the list of items, not necessarily to indicate the quantities of items to be bought. Apparently, it was Gurja, not Gimja, who was very much confused in this adventurous episode of miscommunication.   

The story clearly indicates that men and women communicate very differently.  When women talk they are also listening carefully to what has been said.  When men talk, they do not listen very well and will miss a lot of details in the process.  In general, women have much better listening skills than men. Most men, unlike women, like to talk, especially about themselves. However, most people, men and women, never listen. That is why many people talk to themselves. One good advantage of talking to themselves is that they know at least somebody is listening. Whether it is a casual interpersonal conversation with friends, or attending a seminar, or talking to somebody on the telephone, there is an underlying trend that we have stopped listening to people who have a different perspective. We are so sure of our rightness that we no longer listen to others. Instead, we are smugly content in our own assumed correctness thinking and believing the same perspective. This intellectual bullying or mere arrogance, especially in men, erodes the sense of connectedness and cooperation in our own Diasporas society. Luckily, it is a blessing that God created women to look after men and harmonize our situations.

 

 Listening is the first rule and initial step of effective interpersonal communication. We usually listen with our ears for meaning, but we also listen with our eyes for behavior and we listen with our hearts for feelings. Learning to listen is a special skill of interpersonal communication. However, it is important to note that listening is not a skill with which we are born. We have to learn how to develop good listening skills, and practice what we learn. There are two choices when it comes to listening. We can listen with positive expectations or we can listen with judgment. How we listen shapes how we think and speak. Listening with judgment is an irrational behavior. Once a judgment is in place, we listen for what we want to hear. If we have judged a person as stupid, we listen for everything about the person that supports this perception. If we have also judged a person as clever, we listen for everything about the person that supports this perception. Thus, learning to listen is a powerful art used to build alliance.

 

 To listen well, we also need to stop talking. It will take patience to let other people talk without interruption or finishing what they have to say. However, listening is well worth the effort. By being genuinely interested in what others have to say, we show them that they are important in the relationship. Listening gives others due respect and validation. To this effect, “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another person has to say” (Bryant McGill). The quality of our relationship with other people depends on our ability to listen well. In reflecting the importance of listening, we are created with two ears and one mouth for a good reason. If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have been created with two mouths and one ear. To become better and more skilled listeners we are expected to listen twice before we speak once. In doing so, we can improve our relationships with each other, we can have a better understanding of each other, and we can reduce any undesirable misunderstanding and confusion among ourselves. For this reason, effective listening is very often the foundation of strong relationships with other people. Without the ability to listen effectively, communication with other people, particularly with our own children, can easily breaks down. Though our children never listen to us, we need to make efforts to inspire them to stop, listen and build a more positive attitude and develop a better perspective. Listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our family members and others with whom we interact. By improving our listening skills, we can be a better parent, spouse, pastor, teacher, friend, leader or follower. People naturally gravitate towards us, and appreciate us, if we listen to them with respect, empathy, and positive attitude. It is our responsibility to work on improving our listening skills. It may take time and effort, but the rewards will be worth it. As Winston Churchill said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. In general, effective listening is one of the most important skills a strong leader can have, and it is the one that our young generation need to develop. Most of the successful people are the ones who do more listening than talking. It is evident that the less we speak, the more we listen and understand each other. Our mouths can put us in trouble for talking rubbish, but our ears will never get us in trouble even for listening to gibberish. As the Turkish proverb says, If speaking is silver, listening is gold.” Clearly, listening is an important skill that we can all benefit from improving. By becoming a better listener, we can improve the quality of our interpersonal relationships and develop the ability to avoid any unnecessary conflict among ourselves. 

 Dr. Tesfa G. Gebremedhin, West Virginia University

Key Members Differ over Neighbour’s Support for Al-Shabaab Terror Group, Release of Djibouti Prisoners Taken during 2008 Border Clashes

The Security Council today extended the arms embargo on Somalia until 15 November 2017, while reaffirming that country’s sovereignty over its natural resources.  It also reaffirmed its arms embargo on Eritrea.

Adopting resolution 2317 (2016) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter — by a vote of 10 in favour none against, with 5 -abstentions (Angola, China, Egypt, Russian Federation, Venezuela) — the Council also extended the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group until 15 December 2017, and urged the Government of Eritrea to facilitate the Group’s entry into that country.

By terms of the text, the Council underlined the need for Member States to follow strictly the notification procedures for providing the assistance needed to develop Somalia’s security sector institutions, and urged increased cooperation by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in documenting and registering all military equipment captured as part of offensive operations.

Reiterating concerns that the petroleum sector could be driving increased conflict, the Council underlined the vital importance of the Federal Government of Somalia putting a resource-sharing agreement and a credible legal framework in place.  It also expressed serious concern about the Al-Shabaab terrorist group’s increasing reliance on revenues derived from natural resources, including taxes on the illicit sugar trade, agricultural production and livestock.  The Council reaffirmed the ban on the import and export of charcoal into or out of Somalia, and requested that AMISOM support and help the Federal authorities implement a total ban.

Further by the text, it expressed serious concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation and condemned, in the strongest terms, increased attacks against humanitarian actors.  The Council also demanded that all parties allow and facilitate unhindered access for the timely delivery of aid to persons in need across the country, encouraging the Federal Government to improve the regulatory environment for aid donors.

The Council also expressed concern about continued reports of corruption, diversion of public resources and financial impropriety involving members of the Federal Government Administration and the Federal Parliament, underlining that individuals engaged in acts that threatened Somalia’s peace and reconciliation process might be listed for targeted sanctions.

Also by the text, the Council demanded that the Government of Eritrea allow access or provide information, including to the Monitoring Group, on the Djiboutian prisoners missing in action since clashes between the two countries between 10 and 12 June 2008.

Following the vote, a number of countries expressed their support for the resolution, which targeted causes of instability in the Horn of Africa.  The United Kingdom’s representative said the renewal of the sanctions regime would cut off Al-Shabaab’s funding and protect Somalia’s natural resources.  Regarding Eritrea, he declared: “We don’t welcome the progress because nothing has changed,” while emphasizing that the lack of cooperation on the part of the country’s authorities had “tied the international community’s hands”.  The representative of the United States echoed that sentiment, stressing that non-cooperation was not the path to getting the sanctions lifted.  While no evidence had been found that Eritrea supported Al-Shabaab, that was difficult to corroborate because the Monitoring Group had not been allowed into the country, she said.

The Russian Federation’s representative noted the Monitoring Group’s affirmation that there was no evidence of Eritrean support for Al-Shabaab, and that its support for regional armed groups no longer existed.

Similarly, Angola’s representative said that, while a constructive proposed roadmap for changing the sanctions regime would encourage Eritrea to engage with the international community, that proposal had not been considered.

Djibouti’s representative said it was regrettable that, although Eritrea’s release of prisoners in March had raised hope, its past practices continued.  Djibouti supported extending the sanctions regime, he added.

Also speaking today were representatives of China, Egypt, and Venezuela.

The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 10:50 a.m.

Statements

MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom) said Al-Shabaab continued to pose a serious threat to peace and stability in the region, and the sanctions regime’s renewal would cut off the group’s funding and protect Somalia’s natural resources.  Turning to Eritrea, he said the lack of cooperation by that country’s authorities had tied the international community’s hands.  “We don’t welcome the progress because nothing has changed,” he declared, adding that the Council had engaged with regional stakeholders in order to balance views on the text.

WU HAITAO (China) said his country would continue to help Somalia’s State-building efforts.  Encouraging countries in the region to take the “big picture” into account, he called on them to strengthen neighbourly relationships and avoid confrontation.  China hoped that the Security Council would pay close attention to changes on the ground and make timely adjustments, while remaining responsive to the legitimate concerns of States, he said.

JULIO HELDER MOURA LUCAS (Angola) said his delegation had abstained from the vote because the Monitoring Group had found no evidence of Eritrea’s support for Al-Shabaab.  While a constructive proposed roadmap towards changing the sanctions regime would encourage the Government of Eritrea to engage with the international community, that proposal had not been considered, he noted.

ISOBEL COLEMAN (United States), emphasizing her strong support for the resolution, which targeted causes of instability in the Horn of Africa, said that sanctions regimes were an important part of the international community’s response to the situation there.  Eritrea had called for an end to the sanctions but its lack of cooperation was not the path to lifting them, she said.  While no evidence had been found that Eritrea supported Al-Shabaab, that was difficult to corroborate because the Monitoring Group had not been allowed to visit the country.  No information had been provided on the fate of Djiboutian prisoners of war.  Somalia, however, had transitioned from being a failed State to building a State, she said.

PETR V. ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) said his delegation had been forced to abstain from the vote because the Monitoring Group had affirmed that there was no evidence of Eritrean support for Al-Shabaab in Somalia.  The allegations of its support for regional armed groups simply did not exist anymore, he emphasized, suggesting that a roadmap be drawn up on the matter.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) emphasized that the resolution’s wording should have been more balanced.  Acknowledging positive developments, including the absence of support for Al-Shabaab, he called upon Council members to use clear criteria when determining sanctions, adding that it should be done in such a way as to promote peace and security, while resolving regional concerns.  Stressing that sanctions must not continue forever, he said they must be flexible enough to be responsive to changes on the ground.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said he had abstained from voting on the resolution because the section on Eritrea was unfair.  The Sanctions Committee’s workings were a clear example of imposing sanctions as an end in itself, he said, speaking in his capacity as Chair of that subsidiary body.  Such measures should not be used for the collective punishment of a country, he said, emphasizing that the sanctions imposed on Eritrea had no further political purpose beyond serving the national interests of permanent members.  The Monitoring Group had submitted a professional opinion that pointed to the case for lifting the sanctions, he said, pointing out that for three years in a row, no evidence had been found of Eritrea lending support to Al-Shabaab.  Qatar was working to obtain the release of a number of prisoners of war and to settle the dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti, and a roadmap was needed for lifting the sanctions.  China’s proposal to address that issue had won the support of five members, but the penholder seemed to believe it was not appropriate, he noted.  Venezuela supported the resolution’s elements on Somalia, he added.

AMANUEL GIORGIO (Eritrea) said the Council had committed a grave injustice against his country’s people, declaring:  “There is no reason to maintain sanctions against Eritrea.”  The Monitoring Group had proven the justification for the measures non-existent, he pointed out, emphasizing that the sanctions had been detrimental not only to Eritrea, but also to the wider Horn of Africa region.  Sanctions encouraged zero-sum approaches and imparted a sense of impunity on the part of some countries, he said.  Turning to Djibouti, he said Eritrea supported the State of Qatar’s mediation, which had resulted in the release of all prisoners of war.

MOHAMED SIAD DOUALEH (Djibouti) expressed concern about his country’s combatants missing in action since the 2008 clashes with Eritrea.  That country’s release of prisoners in March had raised hope, but unfortunately, its past practices continued.  Furthermore, Al-Shabaab continued to pose a serious threat to peace and stability in Somalia, he noted, expressing support for extending the sanctions regime.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 2317 (2016) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling all its previous resolutions and statements of its President on the situation in Somalia and Eritrea, in particular resolutions 733 (1992), 1844 (2008), 1907 (2009), 2036 (2012), 2023 (2011), 2093 (2013), 2111 (2013), 2124 (2013), 2125 (2013), 2142 (2014), 2182 (2014), and 2244 (2015),

Taking note of the final reports of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (the SEMG) on Somalia (S/2016/919) and Eritrea (S/2016/920) and their conclusions on the situations in both Somalia and Eritrea,

Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea respectively,

Condemning any flows of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia in violation of the arms embargo on Somalia and to Eritrea in violation of the arms embargo on Eritrea, as a serious threat to peace and stability in the region,

Expressing concern that Al-Shabaab continues to pose a serious threat to the peace and stability of Somalia and the region,

Welcoming the further improved relationship between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), regional administrations, and the SEMG, and underlining the importance of these relationships improving further and strengthening in the future,

Welcoming the efforts of the FGS to improve its notifications to the Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea (‘the Committee’), looking forward to further progress in the future, particularly in relation to post-delivery notifications, and recalling that improved arms and ammunition management in Somalia is a fundamental component of greater peace and stability for the region,

Taking note of the preliminary efforts of the FGS to restore key economic and financial institutions and progress achieved on financial governance and structural reforms; and welcoming the passing of anti-money-laundering legislation and the establishment of a Financial Reporting Centre;

Underlining the importance of financial propriety in the run-up to, and conduct of, elections in Somalia in 2016, and stressing the need for further efforts to fight corruption, promote transparency and increase mutual accountability in Somalia,

Expressing serious concern at reports of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in waters where Somalia has jurisdiction, underlining the importance of refraining from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, welcoming further reporting on the matter, and encouraging the FGS, with the support of the international community, to ensure that fishing licenses are issued in a responsible manner and in line with the appropriate Somali legal framework,

Expressing serious concern at the ongoing difficulties in delivering humanitarian aid in Somalia, and condemning in the strongest terms any party obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance, as well as the misappropriation or diversion of any humanitarian funds or supplies,

Recalling that the FGS has the primary responsibility to protect its population, and recognizing the FGS’ responsibility, working with the regional administrations to build the capacity of its own national security forces, as a matter of priority,

Taking note of the two meetings and six letters between the representative of the Government of Eritrea and the SEMG, expressing concern that the SEMG has not been able to visit Eritrea since 2011 and fully discharge its mandate, and underlining that deepened cooperation will help the Security Council be better informed about Eritrea’s compliance with the relevant Security Council resolutions,

Taking note that during the course of its current and two previous mandates the SEMG has not found any evidence that the Government of Eritrea is supporting Al‑Shabaab,

Expressing concern over reports by the SEMG of ongoing Eritrean support for certain regional armed groups, and encouraging the SEMG to provide further detailed reporting and evidence on this issue,

Expressing serious concern at ongoing reports of Djiboutian combatants missing in action since the clashes in 2008, urging Eritrea to share any available detailed information pertaining to the combatants, including to the SEMG,

Welcoming the release of four prisoners of war by Eritrea in March 2016, expressing support for mediation efforts by the State of Qatar and encouraging further mediation efforts by the State of Qatar in order to reach a final and binding solution to resolve this issue as well as the border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea,

Underlining the importance it attaches to all Member States complying with the terms of the arms embargo imposed on Eritrea by resolution 1907 (2009),

Determining that the situation in Somalia, as well as the dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea, continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

Arms Embargo

“1.   Reaffirms the arms embargo on Somalia, imposed by paragraph 5 of resolution 733 (1992) and further elaborated upon in paragraphs 1 and 2 of resolution 1425 (2002) and modified by paragraphs 33 to 38 of resolution 2093 (2013) and paragraphs 4 to 17 of resolution 2111 (2013), paragraph 14 of resolution 2125 (2013), paragraph 2 of resolution 2142 (2014), and paragraphs 2 to 10 of resolution 2244 (2015) (hereafter referred to as ‘the arms embargo on Somalia’);

“2.   Decides to renew the provisions set out in paragraph 2 of resolution 2142 (2014) until 15 November 2017, and in that context reiterates that the arms embargo on Somalia shall not apply to deliveries of weapons, ammunition or military equipment or the provision of advice, assistance or training, intended solely for the development of the Somali National Security Forces , to provide security for the Somali people, except in relation to deliveries of the items set out in the annex of resolution 2111 (2013);

“3.   Reaffirms that the entry into Somali ports for temporary visits of vessels carrying arms and related materiel for defensive purposes does not amount to a delivery of such items in violation of the arms embargo on Somalia, provided that such items remain at all times aboard such vessels;

“4.   Reiterates that weapons or military equipment sold or supplied solely for the development of the Somali National Security Forces may not be resold to, transferred to, or made available for use by, any individual or entity not in the service of the Somali National Security Forces, and underlines the responsibility of the FGS to ensure the safe and effective management, storage and security of their stockpiles;

“5.   Welcomes in this regard the commencement, by the FGS, of a more rigorous weapons registration, recording and marking procedure, expresses concern at reports of continued weapons diversion from within the FGS, notes that further improved weapons management is vital in order to prevent the diversion of weapons, welcomes the efforts of the FGS to develop detailed Standard Operating Procedures for weapons and ammunition management, and urges the FGS to finalize and implement these procedures as soon as possible;

“6.   Further welcomes the efforts of the FGS in establishing the Joint Verification Team (JVT) and urges Member States to support improved weapons and ammunition management to improve the capacity of the FGS to manage weapons and ammunition;

“7.   Welcomes the improvement in FGS reporting to the Security Council pursuant to paragraph 9 of resolution 2182 (2014) and as requested in paragraph 7 of resolution 2244 (2015), calls on the FGS and regional administrations to prioritize a sustainable and comprehensive agreement on the composition of the Somali Security Forces based on the National Security Policy and requests the FGS to report to the Security Council in accordance with paragraph 9 of resolution 2182 (2014) and as requested in paragraph 7 of resolution 2244 (2015) on the structure, composition, strength and disposition of its Security Forces, including the status of regional and militia forces by 30 March 2017 and then by 30 September 2017;

“8.   Recalls that the FGS has the primary responsibility to notify the Committee, pursuant to paragraphs 3 to 8 of resolution 2142 (2014), welcomes the efforts of the FGS in improving its notifications to the Committee;

“9.   Calls upon the FGS to improve the timeliness and content of notifications regarding the completion of deliveries, as set out in paragraph 6 of resolution 2142 (2014) and the destination unit upon distribution of imported arms and ammunition, as set out by paragraph 7 of resolution 2142 (2014);

“10.  Stresses Member States’ obligations pursuant to the notification procedures set out in paragraph 11 (a) of resolution 2111 (2013), underlines the need for Member States to strictly follow the notification procedures for providing assistance to develop Somali security sector institutions, and encourages Member States to consider the Implementation Assistance Notice of 14 March 2016 as a guide;

“11.  Recalls paragraph 2 of resolution 2142 (2014) and notes that support for the development of the Somali National Security Forces may include, inter alia, building infrastructure and provision of salaries and stipends solely provided to the Somali National Security Forces;

“12.  Urges increased cooperation by Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as set out in paragraph 6 of resolution 2182 (2014), to document and register all military equipment captured as part of offensive operations or in the course of carrying out their mandates, involving other Somali National Security Forces as appropriate;

“13.  Calls upon the FGS and regional administrations to enhance civilian oversight of its Security Forces, to adopt and implement appropriate vetting procedures of all defence and security personnel, including human rights vetting, in particular through investigation and prosecuting individuals responsible for violations of international humanitarian law, and in this context recalls the importance of the Secretary-General’s Human Rights and Due Diligence Policy in relation to the support provided by the United Nations to the Somali National Army;

“14.  Underlines the importance of timely and predictable payment of salaries to the Somali security forces and calls on the FGS to implement systems to improve the timeliness and accountability of payments and supply of provisions to the Somali security forces;

“15.  Recalls the need to build the capacities of the Somali National Security Forces, in particular the provision of equipment, training and mentoring, in order to build credible, professional security forces to enable the gradual handing-over of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali security forces, and encourages further donor support in this regard;

“16.  Further reaffirms the arms embargo on Eritrea imposed by paragraphs 5 and 6 of resolution 1907 (2009) (hereafter referred to as ‘the arms embargo on Eritrea’);

Threats to Peace and Security

“17.  Expresses concern at the continued reports of corruption and diversion of public resources which pose a risk to State-building efforts, expresses serious concern at reports of financial impropriety involving members of the FGS, regional administrations, Federal Member States and Federal Parliament, which pose a risk to State-building efforts, and in this context underlines that individuals engaged in acts which threaten the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia may be listed for targeted measures;

“18.  Welcomes the efforts which the FGS has made in order to improve its financial management procedures including continued engagement between the FGS and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), encourages the Somali authorities to maintain the pace of reform and continue the implementation of IMF-recommended reforms to support the continuation of a Staff Monitored Programme and increased transparency, accountability, comprehensiveness and predictability in revenue collection and budget allocations, and expresses concern at the generation and distribution of counterfeit Somali currency;

“19.  Reaffirms Somalia’s sovereignty over its natural resources;

“20.  Reiterates its serious concern that the petroleum sector in Somalia could be a driver for increased conflict, and in that context underlines the vital importance of the FGS putting in place, without undue delay, resource-sharing arrangements and a credible legal framework to ensure that the petroleum sector in Somalia does not become a source of increased tension;

“21.  Expresses serious concern at Al-Shabaab’s increasing reliance on revenue from natural resources including the taxing of illicit sugar trade, agricultural production, and livestock and looks forward to further SEMG reporting on this issue;

Charcoal Ban

“22.  Reaffirms the ban on the import and export of Somali charcoal, as set out in paragraph 22 of resolution 2036 (2012) (‘the charcoal ban’), welcomes the decrease in exports of charcoal from Somalia and increased efforts of Member States to prevent the import of charcoal of Somali origin, reiterates that the Somali authorities shall take the necessary measures to prevent the export of charcoal from Somalia, and urges Member States to continue their efforts to ensure full implementation of the ban;

“23.  Reiterates its requests in paragraph 18 of resolution 2111 (2013), that AMISOM support and assist the Somali authorities in implementing the total ban on the export of charcoal from Somalia and calls upon AMISOM to facilitate regular access for the SEMG to charcoal exporting ports;

“24.  Welcomes the efforts of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in their efforts to disrupt the export and import of charcoal to and from Somalia, and further welcomes the cooperation between the SEMG and CMF in keeping the Committee informed on the charcoal trade;

“25.  Expresses concern that the charcoal trade provides funding for Al‑Shabaab, and in that context reiterates paragraphs 11 to 21 of resolution 2182 (2014), and further decides to renew the provisions set out in paragraph 15 of resolution 2182 (2014) until 15 November 2017;

“26.  Encourages the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to continue its work, within its current mandate, under the Indian Ocean Forum on Maritime Crime to bring together relevant Member States and international organizations to develop strategies to disrupt the trade in Somali charcoal;

Humanitarian Access

“27.  Expresses serious concern at the acute humanitarian situation in Somalia, condemns in the strongest terms increased attacks against humanitarian actors and any misuse of donor assistance and the obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian aid, and reiterates its demand that all parties allow and facilitate full, safe and unhindered access for the timely delivery of aid to persons in need across Somalia and encourages the FGS to improve the regulatory environment for aid donors;

“28.  Decides that until 15 November 2017 and without prejudice to humanitarian assistance programmes conducted elsewhere, the measures imposed by paragraph 3 of resolution 1844 (2008) shall not apply to the payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources necessary to ensure the timely delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Somalia, by the United Nations, its specialized agencies or programmes, humanitarian organizations having observer status with the United Nations General Assembly that provide humanitarian assistance, and their implementing partners including bilaterally or multilaterally funded non-governmental organizations participating in the United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia;

“29.  Requests the Emergency Relief Coordinator to report to the Security Council by 15 October 2017 on the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia and on any impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia, and requests relevant United Nations agencies and humanitarian organizations having observer status with the United Nations General Assembly and their implementing partners that provide humanitarian assistance in Somalia to increase their cooperation and willingness to share information with the United Nations;

Eritrea

“30.  Welcomes the SEMG’s ongoing and significant efforts to engage with the Government of Eritrea, in that context recalls the two meetings between the Representative of the Government of Eritrea and the SEMG, reiterates its expectation that the Government of Eritrea will facilitate the entry of the SEMG to Eritrea, to discharge fully its mandate, in line with its repeated requests, including in paragraph 52 of resolution 2182 (2014); and underlines that deepened cooperation will help the Security Council be better informed about Eritrea’s compliance with the relevant Security Council resolutions;

“31.  Urges the Government of Eritrea to facilitate a visit of the SEMG to Eritrea, and thereafter to support regular visits to Eritrea by the SEMG;

“32.  Calls on Eritrea to cooperate fully with the SEMG, in accordance with the SEMG’s mandate contained in paragraph 13 of resolution 2060 (2012) and updated in paragraph 41 of resolution 2093 (2013);

“33.  Stresses its demand that the Government of Eritrea allow access and make available any detailed information, including to the SEMG, pertaining to the Djiboutian combatants missing in action since the clashes of 2008 so that those concerned may ascertain the presence and conditions of any remaining Djiboutian prisoners of war;

“34.  Expresses its intention to review measures on Eritrea in light of the upcoming midterm update by the SEMG due by 30 April 2017, and taking into account relevant Security Council resolutions;

Somalia

“35.  Recalls resolution 1844 (2008) which imposed targeted sanctions and resolutions 2002 (2011) and 2093 (2013) which expanded the listing criteria, and notes one of the listing criteria under resolution 1844 (2008) is engaging in acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia;

“36.  Reiterates its willingness to adopt targeted measures against individuals and entities on the basis of the above-mentioned criteria;

“37.  Reiterates its request for Member States to assist the SEMG in their investigations, reiterates that obstructing the investigations or work of the SEMG is a criterion for listing under paragraph 15(e) of resolution 1907 (2009) and further requests the FGS, regional authorities and AMISOM to share information with the SEMG regarding Al-Shabaab activities;

“38.  Decides to extend until 15 December 2017 the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea SEMG as set out in paragraph 13 of resolution 2060 (2012) and updated in paragraph 41 of resolution 2093 (2013), and expresses its intention to review the mandate and take appropriate action regarding the further extension no later than 15 November 2017;

“39.  Requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary administrative measures as expeditiously as possible to re-establish the SEMG, in consultation with the Committee, until 15 December 2017, drawing, as appropriate, on the expertise of the members of the SEMG established pursuant to previous resolutions, and further requests that administrative support to the SEMG be adjusted, within existing resources, to facilitate the delivery of their mandate;

“40.  Requests the SEMG to provide monthly updates to the Committee, and a comprehensive midterm update, as well as to submit, for the Security Council’s consideration, through the Committee, two final reports; one focusing on Somalia, the other on Eritrea by 15 October 2017, covering all the tasks set out in paragraph 13 of resolution 2060 (2012) and updated in paragraph 41 of resolution 2093 (2013) and paragraph 15 of resolution 2182 (2014);

“41.  Requests the Committee, in accordance with its mandate and in consultation with the SEMG and other relevant United Nations entities to consider the recommendations contained in the reports of the SEMG and recommend to the Security Council ways to improve the implementation of and compliance with the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes, the measures regarding the import and export of charcoal from Somalia, as well as implementation of the measures imposed by paragraphs 1, 3 and 7 of resolutions 1844 (2008) and paragraphs 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 13 of resolution 1907 (2009) in response to continuing violations;

“42.  Requests the Committee to consider, where and when appropriate, visits to selected countries by the Chair and/or Committee members to enhance the full and effective implementation of the measures above, with a view to encouraging States to comply fully with this resolution;

“43.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

For information media. Not an official record.
 
 

 

Eritrea's Ghirmay Ghebreslassie wins NYC marathon

Monday, 07 November 2016 22:46 Written by

 

Ghirmay GhebreslassieGhirmay Ghebreslassie |Photo: AP.

 

November 06, 2016 06:39 PM

NEW YORK (AP) - Eritrea's Ghirmay Ghebreslassie has won the New York City Marathon in the men's field.

Ghebreslassie finished his debut in New York with an unofficial time of 2 hours, 7 minutes, 51 seconds.

For most of the course, the men's field was a three-man race between Ghebreslassie, Kenya's Lucas Rotich and Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa. By mile 20, Ghebreslassie gradually began pulling away.

The 20-year-old beat Rotich by 62 seconds and became the youngest male winner in New York. The previous youngest male winners were Alberto Salazar in 1980 and Tom Fleming in 1973, who won as 22-year-olds.

Defending champion Stanley Biwott withdrew at the 10-mile mark with a right calf injury. He also dropped out in the Rio Olympics after getting sick.

American Abdi Abdirahman placed third.

Desisa, who was the runner-up in New York in 2014 and a two-time Boston Marathon winner, dropped out at the 22nd mile.

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This story has been corrected to show that the winner's last name is spelled Ghebreslassie, not Ghebresiassie, and that he's 20 years old, not 19.

Source=http://wnyt.com/sports/eritreas-ghirmay-ghebresiassie-wins-nyc-marathon/4311589/?cat=256

Eritreans face repression

Monday, 07 November 2016 22:40 Written by

 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Eritrea marked 25 years of independence from Ethiopia this year, but its citizens remain victimised by one of the world’s most repressive governments.

They suffer arbitrary and indefinite detention; torture; inhumane conditions of confinement; restrictions on freedom of speech, movement, and belief; and indefinite conscription and forced labour in national service.

People from all walks of life —government officials, leaders of government-controlled labour unions, business people, journalists, and national service evaders or escapees — have been jailed for explicit or inferred opposition to the ugly brutal President Isaias Afwerki and his policies.

The number of Eritreans jailed for such opposition is difficult to confirm, but ranges from 10,000 to 20,000, excluding national service evaders and deserters, who may number tens of thousands more. More than numerous prominent critics and journalists have been held in incommunicado isolation for a decade — most of which are feared to be dead.

Prisoners are often held indefinitely without access to family members, prison monitors or lawyers. There are no public trials and no appeals. Those inquiring about a relative’s whereabouts risk being jailed themselves, or disappeared.

Families are punished for the acts of one of its members, especially for draft evasion or desertion. The family is given no opportunity to defend itself. Families are fined for evasion or desertion. Those who do not or cannot pay are jailed and may have property confiscated, in addition to the forced labour and other abuses faced by those who do national service.

Therefore, we urge the United Nations to take the required immediate strict action against the criminal government so that it might be a good lesson to the other dictators.

Source=https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/eritreans-face-repression