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Fishermen transport fish from their boats in the southern city of Aden, situated at the mouth of the Red Sea, Aug. 22, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamed al-Sayaghi Photo))

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

October 15, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – An Eritrean opposition group on Friday alleged that scores of Ethnic Afar Eritrean civilians in small vessels have been Killed by Saudi-led coalition off the Coast of Yemen.

Citing to several reliable sources the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) affirmed to Sudan Tribune that the Saudi -led coalition planes have “indiscriminately” and “deliberately” hit Eritrean Afar small fishers’ boats near the Mokha port of Bab Al-Mandab strait off Yemen.

According to opposition officials the fishing boats were carrying livestock and civilians.

The boats had left for Yemen from the Dankalia Region of Eritrea to import basic food commodities, household items, clothing and footwear to meet their basic needs.

“At least 5 civilians were indiscriminately killed and 10 other people injured, including women, children and elderly people,” said Ibrahim Haron, leader of RSADO, an armed opposition movement based in Ethiopia.

This type of air attack against a civilian boat the opposition leader said is "a serious violation of international humanitarian law".

RSADO deplored the attacks by the coalition forces saying it was indiscriminate air strikes with foreknowledge of their indiscriminate effect.

“RSADO unequivocally condemns in the strongest terms possible this indiscriminate air strike attack directed at the Eritrean Afar civilian population by the Arab Coalition Forces” said the rebel group.

Sudan Tribune could not independently confirm this account and a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition forces could not immediately be reached for comment.

In October 2015, Yemeni fishermen accused the coalition helicopters and warships of killing 40 people, including several fishermen during an attack on military locations belonging to the Houthis and forces loyal to Saleh on Aqban and Kadman islands on 24 October 2015.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading an military coalition to restore Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government, forced into exile by an advance of Houthi fighters allied to Iran.

Reports last month revealed that Saudi Arabia has transferred some 5,000 Yemeni militants to Eritrea for military training in the Red Sea country.

According to the report, Riyadh was transferring the militants from Aden to Eritrea’s Assab port to go under military trainings and then be sent to the Saudi provinces bordering Yemen.

The Eritrean government at the time dismissed the report saying “a preposterous lie”.

“The allegation by Farsi News Agency represents a preposterous lie peddled for some ulterior motives,” said a statement then issued by Asmara.

However, RSADO Friday confirmed that the Arab Coalitions Forces were stationed in Eritrea’s Dankalia region since November 2, 2015.

Since their deployment, RSADO said thousands of Afar families have been made homeless, forcibly evicted from their traditional land and homes.
“Internally displaced, children and families are deliberately kept in destitute or unhealthy conditions by the regime” Ibrahim said.

He added that “They [Afars] were forced from their homes and off their grazing lands and fishing areas violently, without compensation and without Free, Prior and Informed consent (FPIC) in order to make Afar land available for the Saudi Arabia-led Alliance”

According to the opposition official, on November 2, 2015 the State of Eritrea leased the Port of Assab to the UAE for 30 years and it has allowed the Saudi Arabia-led Gulf Alliance to use the Hanish islands to conduct military operations against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Allies have established their military presence in Afar Land in Eritrea in return for financial aid and fuel supplies for the Eritrean government, the group calimed.

Eritrean right groups say, the military base of the Saudi -led alliance in Dankalia (Afar Land) has already had a devastating impact on the indigenous Afar because their economic, social and cultural survival is deeply linked to their traditional land, fishing, and commercial and business activities between Eritrea and Yemen.

RSADO alleges the Eritrean regime is responsible for committing crimes and human rights violations against Afar people.

The group accused Isaias Afewerki regime in Asmara of deliberately leasing Afar lands to the Saudi coalition forces in order to systematically remove the Afars from their traditional lands in the name of development.

“We may otherwise suppose that the Eritrean regime hopes that the solution to the ’Afar Problem’ is to allow Saudi-led coalition forces and Houthi rebels-Salih Forces to collaterally eradicate the Afar people in the crossfire”.

“We think that equating or nullifying this incident with fighting international terrorism which were targeting the International Maritime Routes in the Bab-el-Mandeb route is an additional insult to injury,” the group said.

RSADO urged the Saudi-led coalition forces to immediately withdraw from their traditional territory (Dankalia) and to allow the Afar people live in their land peacefully.

It also called upon the international community, U.S., EU, UK, Russa, and human rights groups to urge and pressure the Saudi–led coalition to abide and comply with international humanitarian and human rights laws, and to immediately halt targeting innocent Eritrean Afar fishermen and civilians in Eritrean and international waters near the Bab al-Mandab strait off Yemen.



Eritrean Women’s Center in crisis appeals for donations

Saturday, 15 October 2016 12:05 Written by
Enrichment courses provided by the center to enhance skills. Eritrean W.C.Enrichment courses provided by the center to enhance skills. Eritrean W.C.

OCTOBER 15, 2016,,,,,,,

After the partly withdrawal of funds by a key donor coincided with an increase in the number of Eritrean women in desperate need of help, the Eritrean Women’s Center in Israel is appealing for donations.

Helen Kidane, the Director of the Eritrean Women’s Community Center in Tel Aviv, said that the organization which is the only place in Israel run by refugee women for refugee women is in a crisis.

“In the last three months, an unprecedented number of women, especially single mothers, have come to us for help. At the same time, one of our key donors just informed us that they are no longer able to fund us at the same level,”Kidane said.

Since the opening in 2012, the Eritrean Women’s Community Center has become a fixture for refugee women from Eritrea in Israel. The activities and services include language and computer courses, vocational training, peer groups for adolescent girls, psychosocial support groups, one-on-one counselling, referral services and other enrichment.

Theorganization reaches about 200 women and their families each month, according to the center.

“Eritrean women in Israel are survivors. We’ve gone through harsh treatment in our home country, sexual abuse and torture in the Sinai desert and a lack of legal status and restricted access to services in Israel,” Kidane said“We have built this organization from the ground up and we are determined to keep going. Please consider donating to keep our dream real, for us and for our children.”

Caperi News in support of the efforts by Eritrean women to help Eritrean women in Israel appeals to its readership to help and donate for the organization by visiting Donation Site.


Respect is honoring the worth, dignity and integrity in a person. If we have respect, nothing else matters in our life. Respect is merited particularly by those (our elders) who have gained many years of life experience and by those (our scholars) who are highly educated, because knowledge, insight and wisdom often are hard won through a lifetime of discipline and constant learning. Cultivating respect as a virtue does not necessarily mean insisting that all ideas, beliefs, or actions of people are respect-worthy. It does mean that we have to recognize and consider the basic human dignity of others, even when their ideas or values are different from our own. Respect in our own community or religious institution means not targeting fellow Eritreans and others for hatred or animosity and not for creating turmoil or violence in our society. A general attitude of respect ascertains peace and harmony among us. It also assumes that each person has something to offer or teach us, if we are willing to listen and learn with respect.

Home sweet home is the primary and best school where our character is molded and our perspectives is shaped by learning the fundamental moral principles and manners from our parents in a family setting. Respect is a faithful character attached to ethical values and norms that we develop at home. If we lose our wealth, which can be replaced any time, we lose nothing. However, if we lose our character, which is reflected by respect, we lose everything. We can only love and respect others when we love and respect ourselves. Respecting ourselves guides our moral, while respecting other people guides our manners. It is wise and noble to respect every person, if we want to have true friends. People who are disrespectful often have few friends and alliances and other people do not enjoy being near them. If we ever want to be respected in life, we have to respect other people without distinction to age, ethnicity, gender, or religion. Every person should be respected as a person irrespective of his or her economic status, religious belief, social affiliation, or political ideology. By respecting another person we respect ourselves. Self-respect leads to self-discipline and self-discipline leads to understanding the feelings of other people. We need to respect other people’s feelings even if it does not mean anything to us; it could mean everything to the other person. Obviously showing other people due respect is a critical part of maintaining decent personal relationships. The following interesting short story narrates the essence and value of respecting oneself and others.

Once upon a time, a frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the dining table, but the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess made by the old man. “We must do something about my father,” said the son. “I have had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.”  So the husband and wife set a small Table in the corner of the dining room. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner together at the family table. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.  When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometime he had tears in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork, or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with some wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?”  Just as sweetly as his father’s words, the boy responded, “Oh, I am just making a little bowl for you and Mama from which you will eat your food when I grow up.” The four-year-old smiled and went back to work. The words so struck the parents hard so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family Table. For the remainder of his lifetime Grandfather ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the Tablecloth spoiled. The moral lesson of the story above is that we reap what we sow. Regardless of our relationship with our parents, we miss them even when they are gone from our life. We always cherish their good deeds and wisdom and remember them with respect. If we always respect and care for our children now, they will respect and care for us when we become old and feeble like the old man in the story above. It is evident that if we acquire knowledge, it gives us the opportunity to secure professional power. Likewise, if we establish good character, it gives us the opportunity to develop respect. Our elders had good moral because they had good character. They had good character because they had wonderful wisdom.  However, our moral and ethical values gradually started to deteriorate in Eritrea when some individuals disrespected our elders by addressing them ‘ata sebay’ and ‘anti sebeyti’ instead of politely and respectfully addressing them ‘atum aboy’ and ‘aten adey’. Those of us in Diasporas somehow have helped to accelerate the erosion and downturn of the decent moral and ethical values of our elders when we came to live in foreign countries which have cultural practices and values different from ours. We have seriously failed in transferring all the proper moral values and appropriate character practices we have learned from our elders to our young generation. We have failed to understand that respect is a deep admiration for good deeds. We may not notice it keenly, but every evil deed we do to another person adversely affects us in retrospect. The evil deeds that we accumulate over time will haunt us later in life and will turn us to be the most disgusting creatures on earth.

We seem to observe an outbreak of moral breakdown in our society in Diasporas. The walls of our cultural heritage and traditional practices are shattered by undesirable changes of our character. We have dismantled communities, divided religious institutions and broken homes. Our society is falling apart tragically claiming many divorces of families and separation of children from their parents. Some of our own children have gone off track to drop out of school and have even become drug dealers and members of street gangs in major cities. We have problems with our children because our communities and religious institutions are infested and infected by the opium of politics and as the result they are not able to bring us together and support one another. Politics in the true sense of the word, is decent and noble and it can be peaceful and progressive, if it is played safe and handled with good understanding. The problem in our situation is that we do not understood and practice politics legitimately with proper framework. Many evil deeds are undertaken in the name of politics. Consequently, politics have taken the center stage in many of our current issues within our Diaspora society because politics is misunderstood and misused, and in many instances it is twisted and abused. It has become the cancer of our society; at least cancer kills you only one time, but dirty politics kills you every day. We need to stop the bleeding of our society because the lingering effect of our politics in Diasporas has become a deadly practice at family and individual levels. The story narrated below can serve as an exhibit to our evil deeds in politics in our Diaspora society.

The story of Demas and Debas is a typical example to illustrate the impact of unhealthy politics in our Diaspora society. Demas and Debas were best friends for a long time. They went to the same high school in Eritrea and came to the United States as refugees at the same time. They both live in the same city with their big families.  Demas has a wife and six children while Debas has a wife and five children. Both Demas and Debas drive taxis and both their spouses work in the same Nursing Home. Their children grew up as best friends sharing and exchanging toys and video games, attending the same schools, participating in the same kinds of sports, and having the same common friends. The two families were just like one big family living in two separate households. They used to attend in all types of school activities and social events together as one family. They used to go for picnic at the nearby beach and visit Eritrea together. Every day Demas and Debas used to meet for a coffee break at Starbucks. They talked about their children, family, church, and especially politics. Every time they talked politics their heated argument created a hostile and unbearable situation between them. This unpleasant and annoying relationship gradually developed into hatred and animosity between the two sick headed parents. After a while, their regular meeting for a coffee break was discontinued due to their conflict in politics. Eventually, Demas declared to be a member of the so-called Pro-Government Group and Debas became a member of the so-called Opposition Group. It was unfortunate that their longtime friendship was compromised and they look at each other like enemies. It is a pity that they do not tolerate and respect each other. They do not volunteer to greet each other, even if they happen to meet in a household of a common friend. The two spouses and their children from both families are strictly prohibited by Demas and Debas not to associate, or make any kind of social contact with their former friends anywhere and at any time. It is really shameful to create such uncomfortable and unpleasant situation between the two innocent families.

In addition, the spillover effect of politics is commonly observed in the lives of our children. Dehab, the daughter of Demas and Dejen, the son pf Debas, were engaged when they were seniors in high school. The engagement was initially encouraged and supported by the two parents.  The political episode between Demas and Debas started when Dehab and Dejen were finishing college. The two pigheaded parents wanted to terminate the engagement of their children because of their own political difference. However, Dehab and Dejen got married without the consent of their parents in a court house of a certain town far away from home.  They said to their parents, “Your politics is your own business; our marriage is our own business. We love you and respect you as our parents, but we do not have respect for the way you handle your political differences and divide the two innocent families. One day, we hope that you will come back to you humane senses.” Dehab and Dejen now have two lovely children: Adam and Adiam. The couple live and work in a big city not far away from their respective families. At least the two grandmothers are able to come sometimes and visit with their grandchildren and spoil them with holiday presents and birthday gifts. Having learned about the horrible experience of their parents, Adam and Adiam would never be interested to listen or read the politics of any nation when they grew up. Fortunately, Dehab and Dejen were able to stand up firm and strong to reach their goals despite the crazy ideas of their parents. However, there are still many of our children who could not break down the walls of cruelty and ignorance of their parents. In fact, it is ridiculous to observe that some of our children are not allowed to get married to their fellow Eritreans, if their respective parents are not from the same region (awraja), or if the parents do not belong to the same political group.  In other words, it seems that we have actually declared to wage a civil war without guns between families and among individuals in our own society in Diaspora for the unreasonable excuse of conflicts and differences in politics.

Politics has also made its ruinous stride into the Eritrean Orthodox Christian church with the intention to regulate the church affairs and monitor the activities of its congregation. As we are well aware, the Eritrean Orthodox Christian church is divided into two separate dioceses in Diasporas: one group of churches support the government and the second group of churches oppose the government with regard to the decision made in Eritrea to remove Abune Antonios from his leadership position. The story of Wodaje and Woreja is a typical example to illustrate the impact of this division in the Eritrean families.  Wodaje and Woreja were married for over 40 years with five adult children and four grandchildren. They used to worship in the same Eritrean Orthodox church before it split into two separate churches. Wodaje and Woreja were highly respected and well-liked by friends and relatives until they were overtaken by the church politics. A few years ago, Wodaje decided to worship at the church opposing the government. While Woreja decided to worship at the church supporting the government. The separation of churches created irreconcilable difference and major disagreement between the two of them. Each heated argument led to a hostile situation which escalated the level of disagreement and the magnitude of animosity in their household. The reality is that both of them did not have respect for each other. Soon enough their marriage was in trouble. This couple was either confused or disillusioned to put their marriage in such great jeopardy.  Finally, they decided to end their union in marriage.  The elders and the priests in both churches did not make any effort to save the marriage and to create peace and harmony in their households. Their children have tried and done their best to bring their father and mother back together in peace and to have an everlasting union. However, the two parents were too stubborn to listen to their children. The essence and purpose of going to church was either ignored or forgotten. It meant nothing to these two hard-headed parents. In other words, politics overrides and overrules the teaching of the gospel. To their children’s indignation, Wodaje and Woreja remained separated into their old age. Thus, the story of Wodaje and Woreja and the story of Demas and Debas are not unique and different among Eritrean families in Diaspora. It is sad to observe that the same dreadful and disgusting situation is still harboring in many Eritrean households in Diasporas.      

Respect is important because it shows that one values another as an individual, and honors the personal rights and dignity of the person as a fellow human being.Respect usually goes a long way in developing a harmonious home and peaceful social environment. Communication has to be clear and appropriate among individuals who respect each other in order to keep the integrity and security of their mutual relationships. Respect is usually given for those who deserve it, but we need to show respect to people even to those who do not deserve it, not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of our own character. We came from a diverse nation made up of many different cultures, languages, ethnicity, and religious backgrounds. That kind of diversity can make all our lives interesting and challenging only if we treat each other with respect irrespective of our social and political differences. Social relationship like personal friendship and church affairs have nothing to do with politics at an individual level as it happened between Demas and Debas and between Wodaje and Woreja. If we respect one another and stick together as friends and relatives, we should be able to establish viable communities, vibrant religious institutions, and lively families. Of course, we need to remember that respect is the foundation of our common understanding and finding our common solutions for our common challenges. The basic lesson of our childhood years that we learned from our elders who have walked gracefully the path before us guided by their faith and fear of God, is to march together respecting the human dignity and integrity. Their wisdom reminds us that it is a blessing being a human being before being a person. So also, some day sooner than we could ever imagine we are going to be old too. Our children depend on us to teach them those moral principles and ethical values we acquired and learned from our elder. We are all different, but at the end of the day, we are all Eritrean brothers and sisters, who must treat each other with respect. If we do not respect each other, nobody else will respect us. Thus, if we give respect, we get respect. Subsequently, we receive the grace of our Almighty God for our humble deeds.

Ethiopia blames Egypt and Eritrea over unrest

Tuesday, 11 October 2016 12:21 Written by


Police fire tear gas to disperse protesters during Irreecha, the thanks giving festival of the Oromo people in Bishoftu town of Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2Image copyrightREUTERSImage captionEthiopia's security forces have been accused of using excessive force to quell unrest

Ethiopia's information minister says groups in Eritrea and Egypt are contributing to the unrest, which has led to a six-month state of emergency.

Getachew Reda said the foreign elements are arming and financing opposition groups, but not necessarily with the formal backing of their governments.

Under the state of emergency troops will be deployed to quell protests.

It follows months of anti-government demonstrations by members of the country's two largest ethnic groups.

Violence has intensified since the beginning of the month when at least 55 people were killed during a protests at an Oromo religious festival.

The state of emergency, which was announced on Sunday, will last for six months.

Mr Getachew told journalists in the Ethiopian, capital, Addis Ababa, that "all kinds of elements in the Egyptian political establishment" are involved but they were "not necessarily directly linked with the Egyptian government", the AP news agency quotes him as saying.

The minister also pointed the finger at Eritrea, with which Ethiopia has a long-standing border dispute.

There has also been a long-running row with Egypt over Ethiopia's decision to build a dam on the Nile, one of the river's sources of which flows from Ethiopia to Egypt.

Map of protests and violence in Ethiopia in 2016

Mr Getachew earlier told the BBC that the state of emergency could involve banning protests.

"For the sake of maintaining public order the government believes that [the] temporary suspension of certain expression rights is warranted," he explained.

"Armed violence that has been perpetrated by those organised gangs has been targeting civilians, has been targeting government installations, critical infrastructure.

"We have ample evidence that it is orchestrated by people who are in the business of not [just] dismantling the Ethiopian government but also dismantling the Ethiopian state in its entirety," he said.

bus that was torched during protests in the town of Sebeta, Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 8, 2016Image copyrightREUTERSImage captionVehicles were torched in Sebeta, the Oromia region in protests last weekResidents of Bishoftu cross their wrists above their heads as a symbol for the Oromo anti-government protesting movement during the Oromo new year holiday Irreechaa in Bishoftu on October 2, 2016 showsImage copyrightAFPImage captionCrossing hands across the head has become a symbol of Oromo anti-government protest

Mr Getachew also promised that the Ethiopian authorities would investigate claims that "off-grid" police officers had killed civilians.

BBC World Service Africa editor Mary Harper says the violent protests are the most serious threat to Ethiopian stability in a quarter of a century.

The protests in recent months have been over a series of frustrations including attempts by the governments to reallocate land in the Oromo region.

Rights groups say that more than 500 people have died following clashes between police and protesters.

Activists among the Oromo and Amhara communities complain that they are being politically excluded.

The Oromo and the Amhara make up about 60% of the population. They complain power is held by a small Tigrayan elite.


Ethiopia unrestPlaying the victim. Ethiopia accused Eritrea and Egypt for arming, training and financing groups that it blames for a wave of protests and violence in regions around its capital Addis Ababa.

By TesfaNews,

Ethiopia on Monday accused elements in Eritrea and Egypt for arming, training and funding groups that it blames for a wave of protests and violence in regions around its capital Addis Ababa, where protesters have targeted factories and accused the government land grabs.

The government declared a state of emergency on Sunday after more than a year of unrest in Oromia and Amhara regions, where protesters say the government has trampled on their rights in pursuit of development.


Speaking at a press conference in the capital, Addis Ababa, Information Minister Getachew Reda said that “there are countries which are directly involved in arming, financing and training these elements.”

“We have to be very careful not to necessarily blame one government or another. There are all kinds of elements in the Egyptian political establishment which may or may not necessarily be directly linked with the Egyptian government,” Getachew said.

He also said that “armed gangs” were receiving backing from Eritrea, though not necessarily have formal government support acting rather than “state actors”, AFP quotes him as saying.

Eritrea has a long-running border dispute with Ethiopia and Egypt has embroiled in a row with Addis Ababa over sharing Nile waters.

Egypt has dismissed previous accusations that it was meddling in Ethiopian affairs. “Egypt firmly respects the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries,” a Foreign Ministry statement said last week.

Eritrea routinely dismisses charges that it wants to destabilize its neighbour and instead accuses Addis Ababa of stoking unrest on its own soil.

>> ALSO READ : Ethiopia ‘ready to help Eritreans topple regime’

Defending the declaration of a state of emergency, the minister added:

“The kind of threats we are facing, the kind of attacks that are now targeting civilians, targeting civilian infrastructures, targeting investment cannot be handled through ordinary law enforcement procedures.”

Ethiopia has been ruled by the the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition since the overthrow of long-serving ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991.

It won all the seats in the May 2015 parliamentary elections which were denounced as a sham by the main opposition parties.




Iranian-backed Houthi rebels fired two missiles at a U.S. Navy destroyer operating off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea on Sunday -- though neither missile hit the ship, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Though the American warship wasn't struck, the ship was definitely targeted, a U.S. defense official told Fox News. This dramatic escalation comes a week after the U.S. Navy sent warships to the area when a United Arab Emirates flagged auxiliary ship was destroyed off the coast of Yemen by the Houthis.

"We assess the missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen," Pentagon spokesman Capt Jeff Davis said. "The United States remains committed to ensuring freedom of navigation everywhere in the world, and we will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of our ships and our servicemembers."

It was not immediately clear how close the missiles came to the destroyer.


"In the first instance USS Mason employed onboard defensive measures, although it is unclear whether this led to the missile striking the water or whether it would have struck the water anyway," a defense official told Fox News.

The official said the American ship was in international waters when the missiles were fired, but didn't provide an exact location.

"Beyond that, the incident is under investigation, and we hope to have more details for you in the coming days," the official said. "We take this very seriously. We will protect our people."

U.S. officials have long accused Iran of supplying missiles and other weapons to the Houthis.

The U.S. supports a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's civil war, which began in 2015. The U.S. embassy was closed in Yemen over a year ago.

Fox News first reported last week that U.S. warships were sent to Yemen's coast after a United Arab Emirates ship was recently targeted by the Houthis. That ship used to be owned by a U.S. company, but was contracted to UAE at the time.


Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews

Vancouver court clears way for slave labour lawsuit against Canadian mining company to go to trial

Vancouver, October 6, 2016. The Supreme Court of British Columbia today rejected efforts by Vancouver-based Nevsun Resources Limited (TSX: NSU / NYSE MKT: NSU) to dismiss a lawsuit brought by three Eritrean men who allege they were forced to work at Nevsun’s Bisha Mine.

This marks the first time that a mass tort claim for modern slavery will go forward in a Canadian court, and the first time a case against a mining company for alleged abuses in overseas operations has been allowed to proceed in British Columbia.

Mr. Justice Patrice Abrioux rejected Nevsun’s position that the case should be dismissed in Canada and instead heard in Eritrea. Justice Abrioux ruled, “There is sufficient cogent evidence from which I can conclude that there is a real risk that the plaintiffs could not be provided with justice in Eritrea.” Justice Abrioux continued, “This is particularly the case if they then chose to commence legal proceedings in which they … call into question the actions of a commercial enterprise which is the primary economic generator in one of the poorest countries in the world.”

In prevailing on this issue, the plaintiffs overcame an argument that has permitted other companies accused of abuses to have Canadian cases dismissed in favour of foreign courts.

In another groundbreaking decision, Justice Abrioux determined that claims of crimes against humanity, slavery, forced labour and torture can go forward against Nevsun. It is the first time that a Canadian court has recognized that a corporation can be taken to trial for alleged violations of customary international law.

“Today’s historic judgment allows the case to move forward to a trial on the merits,” said Joe Fiorante, Q.C., of Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman, lead counsel for the plaintiffs. “We now intend to use the court’s discovery processes to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the truth of what Nevsun really knew about the human rights situation at the mine.”

The lawsuit filed in November 2014 alleges that Nevsun engaged two Eritrean state-run contractors and the Eritrean military to build the mine’s facilities and that the companies and military deployed forced labour under abhorrent conditions.

In the judgment, Justice Abrioux cited to the conclusions of a recent United Nations Commission of Inquiry into the human rights situation in Eritrea. In June 2016, the commission found that the Eritrean government has been responsible for crimes against humanity, including its nationwide system of indefinite conscription, for twenty-five years. The commission concluded that the government of Eritrea employs “totalitarian practices” and that “[e]nslavement has been committed on an on-going, large-scale and methodical basis.”

“Nevsun’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy says that the company is unequivocally committed to responsible practices at the Bisha Mine, based on international standards of human rights,” said James Yap, a member of the plaintiffs’ legal team. “The Eritreans forced to work there will now have the opportunity to test that position in a court of law.”

With this ruling, there are now cases advancing in multiple Canadian jurisdictions against companies accused of responsibility for severe human rights abuses. Three lawsuits in Ontario alleging that Hudbay Minerals is liable for killing and gang rapes in Guatemala are also moving toward trial.

“Canadian courts appear to be increasingly open to survivors of abuses linked to the operations of mining companies abroad,” said Matt Eisenbrandt, Legal Director of the Canadian Centre for International Justice and a member of the plaintiffs’ legal team. “Survivors want Canadian companies held accountable in Canada, and today’s judgment is an important step toward making that a reality.”

The claimants are supported in Canada by a legal team comprised of Vancouver law firm Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman (CFM); Ontario law firm Siskinds LLP [Nick Baker]; Toronto lawyer James Yap; and the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ). This victory would not have been possible without the support of Human Rights Concern Eritrea and the tireless efforts of Elsa Chyrum.



  • Joe Fiorante, CFM, +1-604-689-7555, (English)
  • Matt Eisenbrandt, CCIJ, +1-604-569-1778, (English)

For general comment:

  • François Larocque, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, +1-613-894-4783,  (French, English)
  • Professor Audrey Macklin, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, +1-647-403-5170, (English)
  • Penelope Simons, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, +1-613-614-0749, (English)

For more information:

CCIJ website

CCIJ on Facebook

CCIJ on Twitter: @CCIJ_CCJI


In more than 70 Italian coastguard-led operations, 28 bodies have reportedly been recovered and three babies have been born

A child is rescued from a vessel in the Mediterranean, north of Libya, on 3 October

A child is rescued from a vessel in the Mediterranean, north of Libya, by a member of the Proactiva Open Arms NGO on 3 October. Photograph: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome
Wednesday 5 October 2016 11.40 BST
Last modified on Wednesday 5 October 2016 12.31 BST

More than 10,000 refugees bound for Italy have been rescued in the Mediterranean in the last 48 hours in a series of more than 70 operations led by the Italian coastguard and navy.
It was reported that 28 bodies had been recovered. Meanwhile, Italian officials said three babies had been born on a ship heading to Catania, Sicily, delivered with the assistance of doctors from the Order of Malta’s Italian Relief Corp. All three were in good health.

The most recent rescue mission, in which 4,655 migrants were brought to safety, took place in the Strait of Sicily, and comprised 33 separate operations involving 27 rubber boats, one barge and five small boats.

The operations were led by the coastguard, and officials said Frontex, the EU rescue mission, and an Irish navy ship were involved as well as the aid groups Moas, Life Boat, Proactiva Open Arms and Watch the Med.

Earlier this week 6,055 people were rescued over a 24-hour period as the coastguard, navy and humanitarian groups came to the aid of 32 rubber dinghies, five large wooden boats and two rafts that were spotted 30 miles (48km) north of Libya.

Italy’s neighbours to the north – Austria, France and Switzerland – have essentially closed off their borders to new migrants, creating political tensions and forcing Italy to process and possibly relocate asylum seekers on its own.

Previously, the vast majority of migrants landing in Italy chose not to stay in and traveled north, often with Germany as a final destination.



Several news sources affirmed that the Saudi Arabian-led Coalition planes have indiscriminately and deliberately hit Eritrean Afar civilian small fishers’ men's boats near the ports of Mokha near Bab al-Mandab strait off Yemen. The Fishing boat was carrying livestock and civilians. The civilian boat had left for Yemen from the Dankalia Region of Eritrea to import basic food commodities, household items, clothing and footwear to meet their basic needs. At least 5 civilians were indiscriminately killed and 10 other people injured, including women, children and elderly people.  This type of air attack against a civilian boat is a serious violation of international humanitarian law. RSADO has therefore found that the Arab Coalition Forces appear to have carried out indiscriminate air strikes with foreknowledge of their indiscriminate effect. 


RSADO unequivocally condemns in the strongest terms possible this indiscriminate air strike attack directed at the Eritrean Afar civilian population by the Arab Coalition Forces. RSADO expresses its sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to the victims and their families and to the Afar People in the Dankalia Region of Eritrea.  


We can confirm the Arab Coalitions Forces stationed in Dankalia that since November 2, 2015 thousands of Afar families have been made homeless, forcibly evicted from their traditional land and homes. Internally displaced, children and families are deliberately kept in destitute or unhealthy conditions by the regime. They were forced from their homes and off their grazing lands and fishing areas violently, without compensation and without Free, Prior and Informed consent (FPIC) in order to make Afar land available for the Saudi Arabia-led Alliance. On November 2, 2015 the State of Eritrea leased the Port of Assab to the UAE for 30 years and it has allowed the Saudi Arabia-led Gulf Alliance to use the Hanish islands to conduct military operations against Houthi rebels in Yemen.  

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Allies have established their military presence in Afar Land in Eritrea in return for monetary compensation and fuel supplies for the brutal Eritrean regime.  Forcibly removing the Indigenous Afar People in Eritrea from their traditional homes and territories is against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007 (UNDRIP), Islamic law and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. 

The Saudi Arabian-led Alliance Military Base in Dankalia (Afar Land) has already had a devastating impact on the indigenous Afar because their economic, social and cultural survival is deeply linked to their traditional lands, the fishing of the Red Sea Coastal, and commercial and business activities between Eritrea and Yemen. RSADO alleges the Eritrean regime is fully responsible for committing crimes and human rights violations against Afar people. The regime has deliberately leased Afar Land to the Saudi and UAE Coalition Forces in order to systematically remove the Afar from their traditional lands in the name of development. We may otherwise suppose that the Eritrean regime hopes that the solution to the 'Afar Problem' is to allow Saudi Arabia-led Coalition Forces and Houthi rebels- Salih Forces to collaterally eradicate the Afar people in the crossfire. Additionally, we think that equating or nullifying this incident with fighting international terrorism which were targeting the International Maritime Routes in the Bab-el-Mandeb route is adding insult to injury.


RSADO strongly calls on and urges the Saudi Arabian led Coalition to immediately withdraw from our traditional territory (Dankalia) to let the Afar people live in their land peacefully. Otherwise, an  internationalization of Bab-el-Mandeb route will set in when the Afar small boat owners will be forced to team with Houthis and their far away allies.


RSADO calls upon the international community, USA, EU, UK, Human Rights Organisations and the Russian Federations to urge and pressure Saudi–led Coalition Forces (Saudi Arabia and UAE) to abide and comply with the Law of War and International Humanitarian and Human Rights Laws and to immediately halt military operations targeting innocent Eritrean Afar Fishermen and civilians in Eritrean National waters and International waters near the Bab al-Mandab strait off Yemen.


Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation (RSADO)

Centre Committee (CC)