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Ethiopia announces arrest of '98 Eritrea sponsored' rebels in last 2 months

Ethiopia’s security forces have disclosed the arrest of 98 ‘Eritrean sponsored anti-peace elements’ in the past two months alone, the state-run FANA Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) reported on Friday.

According to FBC, the west Tigray zonal administration confirmed that the arrested persons were trying to cross into Ethiopia after having received training to execute a mission by Eritrean-based terrorist organizations, Ginbot 7 and Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).

A senior security official of the zone, is reported to have disclosed that the ‘anti-peace elements’ were arrested as a result of coordinated efforts of the defense force and local residents.

‘‘According to him, 15 of them were arrested this week while attempting to enter into the central part of the country to attack socio-economic institutions,’‘ the FBC report added.

Tensions between the two countries have been simmering with the most recent being claims by Ethiopia that Eritrea-backed rebels were behind an attempt to attack the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project.

Ethiopia has also accused Eritrea of accommodating persons behind the Amhara and Oromia protests that have swept through the country since November 2015. Ethiopia is currently under a state of emergency which was imposed to quell the unrest.

Eritrea achieved independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after decades of armed struggle. In 1998, the two neighbouring countries fought a two-year long war over their disputed border which has claimed the lives of at least 70,000.

The two countries have had tense relations as a peace deal signed in 2000 to end the war has never been fully implemented.

Source=http://www.africanews.com/2017/04/22/ethiopia-announces-arrest-of-98-eritrea-sponsored-rebels-in-last-2-months//

By Selam Kidane and Martin Plaut
 

A devastating famine has hit the Horn of Africa. El Nino has taken a terrible toll on the people across the region and Eritrea is no exception. The coming famine across the Horn was covered by the New Statesman a year ago, with predictions of its severity which have tragically come true.

An appeal by the UK’s Disaster Emergency Appeal has raised over £54m four weeks after it was launched. But unlike the victims in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, the people of Eritrea are unable to benefit from this generosity.

The reason for this tragedy is simple: the Eritrean regime, led by the dictatorial Isaias Afewerki, is refusing all outside help. Denial is official government policy. Quoting the President the official media declared in January 2016: “The country will not face any crisis in spite of reduced agricultural output.”

But evidence of the scale of the suffering, particularly among the children, is now filtering out. It is being smuggled out by men and women of the “Freedom Friday” resistance network, at great personal risk. If they are discovered they will be jailed, indefinitely, and almost certainly tortured.

Nurses and carers working in clinics across the country have been banned from using their cell-phones, but some have dared to take the images below, and sent them abroad, in a desperate attempt to make the plight of these children know.

Picture1

 

These photographs are from the town of Mendefera. Normally a bustling market town, in the fertile Southern region of Eritrea, it has a range of small scale factories that provide employment and an income.

 

But villagers in the vicinity, including Areza, Mai Dima, Awha, Adi Quala, Mai Mine, Enda Gergis, Adi Felesti, have been badly hit by the drought. These pictures are from the clinic in Mendefera, to which the children have been brought. The pictures and the information has been anonymized, for their security.

 

Since January this year 66 children, many of them babies, have been brought into the clinic suffering from acute forms of malnutrition the clinics were unable to cope with. Many revived, but two died and a further four children were sent to Asmara for specialist treatment.

Picture 2They suffered from the swollen bellies typical of kwashiorkor, a severe type of malnutrition – the result of an extreme shortage of protein in their diet.

The symptoms include swollen abdomens, skin disorders (hypo and hyper pigmented skin) and excessive fluid retention throughout the body.

 

Health workers believe they are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Most children are simply not being brought to the clinics and the actual scale of the crisis is much more severe.

A national crisis

In other areas of the country the situation is, if anything, more dangerous.

There are reports of cholera in the area around the western town of Barentu. Villagers are having to draw water from pits dug into the Mereb river.

More than 1,300 patients were registered at one makeshift clinic when these images were smuggled out of the country in October last year. Thirteen deaths had been registered by the health workers. Teams of doctors were sent into the area to try to halt the spread of the cholera while roads were closed, transport halted and movement into and out of the effected areas has been tightly controlled. Members of the local militia, the police and the army were closely restricting movement.

Picture 4

There were reports of medical teams being sent to attend the cholera outbreak in remote areas, leaving their the patients in hospital unattended.

The medics said there is constant pressure from security agents, who warn them warn them not to take any photos not and tell any one about what is taking place.

An aid worker operating inside Sudan described families crossing the border to seek aid. He said that those who arrived spoke of acute shortages of food and water. These people come from the remote regions of western Eritrea where villagers are used to some of the most challenging of circumstances. If they believe it is time to pack up and leave the situation must be very serious indeed.

 

Government in denial

Obtaining accurate information from Eritrea is extremely difficult, since the government prevents aid agencies and many UN organisations from operating.

As one crisis warning system put it: “The Eritrean government severely restricts the access of humanitarian actors inside the country. Very little is known about humanitarian needs: Unicef estimates that the total affected population is 1.5 million.”

The UN’s children’s agency, Unicef, reported that: “Data from the Nutrition Sentinel Site Surveillance system indicates an increase in malnutrition rates over the past few years in four out of six regions of the country, with 22,700 children under five projected to be affected by severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2017.

This crisis was not unforeseen.

Picture5

A year ago, aid agencies were already warning that the situation was looking bleak.

Satellite imagery showed the scale of the looming drought.

Current maps of the region now show no information for Eritrea: it is almost as if the country has vanished from the face of the earth.

Eritreans have become the silent victims of their President’s unwillingness to call for aid, and the inability of the international community to come to their aid.

Source=https://martinplaut.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/the-famine-the-eritrean-government-doesnt-want-you-to-know-about/

Africa, Eritrea,

H

By Selam Kidane and Martin Plaut
 

A devastating famine has hit the Horn of Africa. El Nino has taken a terrible toll on the people across the region and Eritrea is no exception. The coming famine across the Horn was covered by the New Statesman a year ago, with predictions of its severity which have tragically come true.

An appeal by the UK’s Disaster Emergency Appeal has raised over £54m four weeks after it was launched. But unlike the victims in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, the people of Eritrea are unable to benefit from this generosity.

The reason for this tragedy is simple: the Eritrean regime, led by the dictatorial Isaias Afewerki, is refusing all outside help. Denial is official government policy. Quoting the President the official media declared in January 2016: “The country will not face any crisis in spite of reduced agricultural output.”

But evidence of the scale of the suffering, particularly among the children, is now filtering out. It is being smuggled out by men and women of the “Freedom Friday” resistance network, at great personal risk. If they are discovered they will be jailed, indefinitely, and almost certainly tortured.

Nurses and carers working in clinics across the country have been banned from using their cell-phones, but some have dared to take the images below, and sent them abroad, in a desperate attempt to make the plight of these children know.

Picture1

 

These photographs are from the town of Mendefera. Normally a bustling market town, in the fertile Southern region of Eritrea, it has a range of small scale factories that provide employment and an income.

 

But villagers in the vicinity, including Areza, Mai Dima, Awha, Adi Quala, Mai Mine, Enda Gergis, Adi Felesti, have been badly hit by the drought. These pictures are from the clinic in Mendefera, to which the children have been brought. The pictures and the information has been anonymized, for their security.

 

Since January this year 66 children, many of them babies, have been brought into the clinic suffering from acute forms of malnutrition the clinics were unable to cope with. Many revived, but two died and a further four children were sent to Asmara for specialist treatment.

Picture 2They suffered from the swollen bellies typical of kwashiorkor, a severe type of malnutrition – the result of an extreme shortage of protein in their diet.

The symptoms include swollen abdomens, skin disorders (hypo and hyper pigmented skin) and excessive fluid retention throughout the body.

 

Health workers believe they are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Most children are simply not being brought to the clinics and the actual scale of the crisis is much more severe.

A national crisis

In other areas of the country the situation is, if anything, more dangerous.

There are reports of cholera in the area around the western town of Barentu. Villagers are having to draw water from pits dug into the Mereb river.

More than 1,300 patients were registered at one makeshift clinic when these images were smuggled out of the country in October last year. Thirteen deaths had been registered by the health workers. Teams of doctors were sent into the area to try to halt the spread of the cholera while roads were closed, transport halted and movement into and out of the effected areas has been tightly controlled. Members of the local militia, the police and the army were closely restricting movement.

Picture 4

There were reports of medical teams being sent to attend the cholera outbreak in remote areas, leaving their the patients in hospital unattended.

The medics said there is constant pressure from security agents, who warn them warn them not to take any photos not and tell any one about what is taking place.

An aid worker operating inside Sudan described families crossing the border to seek aid. He said that those who arrived spoke of acute shortages of food and water. These people come from the remote regions of western Eritrea where villagers are used to some of the most challenging of circumstances. If they believe it is time to pack up and leave the situation must be very serious indeed.

 

Government in denial

Obtaining accurate information from Eritrea is extremely difficult, since the government prevents aid agencies and many UN organisations from operating.

As one crisis warning system put it: “The Eritrean government severely restricts the access of humanitarian actors inside the country. Very little is known about humanitarian needs: Unicef estimates that the total affected population is 1.5 million.”

The UN’s children’s agency, Unicef, reported that: “Data from the Nutrition Sentinel Site Surveillance system indicates an increase in malnutrition rates over the past few years in four out of six regions of the country, with 22,700 children under five projected to be affected by severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2017.

This crisis was not unforeseen.

Picture5

A year ago, aid agencies were already warning that the situation was looking bleak.

Satellite imagery showed the scale of the looming drought.

Current maps of the region now show no information for Eritrea: it is almost as if the country has vanished from the face of the earth.

Eritreans have become the silent victims of their President’s unwillingness to call for aid, and the inability of the international community to come to their aid.

orn of Africa

The famine the Eritrean government doesn’t want you to know about

By Selam Kidane and Martin Plaut
 

A devastating famine has hit the Horn of Africa. El Nino has taken a terrible toll on the people across the region and Eritrea is no exception. The coming famine across the Horn was covered by the New Statesman a year ago, with predictions of its severity which have tragically come true.

An appeal by the UK’s Disaster Emergency Appeal has raised over £54m four weeks after it was launched. But unlike the victims in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, the people of Eritrea are unable to benefit from this generosity.

The reason for this tragedy is simple: the Eritrean regime, led by the dictatorial Isaias Afewerki, is refusing all outside help. Denial is official government policy. Quoting the President the official media declared in January 2016: “The country will not face any crisis in spite of reduced agricultural output.”

But evidence of the scale of the suffering, particularly among the children, is now filtering out. It is being smuggled out by men and women of the “Freedom Friday” resistance network, at great personal risk. If they are discovered they will be jailed, indefinitely, and almost certainly tortured.

Nurses and carers working in clinics across the country have been banned from using their cell-phones, but some have dared to take the images below, and sent them abroad, in a desperate attempt to make the plight of these children know.

Picture1

 

These photographs are from the town of Mendefera. Normally a bustling market town, in the fertile Southern region of Eritrea, it has a range of small scale factories that provide employment and an income.

 

But villagers in the vicinity, including Areza, Mai Dima, Awha, Adi Quala, Mai Mine, Enda Gergis, Adi Felesti, have been badly hit by the drought. These pictures are from the clinic in Mendefera, to which the children have been brought. The pictures and the information has been anonymized, for their security.

 

Since January this year 66 children, many of them babies, have been brought into the clinic suffering from acute forms of malnutrition the clinics were unable to cope with. Many revived, but two died and a further four children were sent to Asmara for specialist treatment.

Picture 2They suffered from the swollen bellies typical of kwashiorkor, a severe type of malnutrition – the result of an extreme shortage of protein in their diet.

The symptoms include swollen abdomens, skin disorders (hypo and hyper pigmented skin) and excessive fluid retention throughout the body.

 

Health workers believe they are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Most children are simply not being brought to the clinics and the actual scale of the crisis is much more severe.

A national crisis

In other areas of the country the situation is, if anything, more dangerous.

There are reports of cholera in the area around the western town of Barentu. Villagers are having to draw water from pits dug into the Mereb river.

More than 1,300 patients were registered at one makeshift clinic when these images were smuggled out of the country in October last year. Thirteen deaths had been registered by the health workers. Teams of doctors were sent into the area to try to halt the spread of the cholera while roads were closed, transport halted and movement into and out of the effected areas has been tightly controlled. Members of the local militia, the police and the army were closely restricting movement.

Picture 4

There were reports of medical teams being sent to attend the cholera outbreak in remote areas, leaving their the patients in hospital unattended.

The medics said there is constant pressure from security agents, who warn them warn them not to take any photos not and tell any one about what is taking place.

An aid worker operating inside Sudan described families crossing the border to seek aid. He said that those who arrived spoke of acute shortages of food and water. These people come from the remote regions of western Eritrea where villagers are used to some of the most challenging of circumstances. If they believe it is time to pack up and leave the situation must be very serious indeed.

 

Government in denial

Obtaining accurate information from Eritrea is extremely difficult, since the government prevents aid agencies and many UN organisations from operating.

As one crisis warning system put it: “The Eritrean government severely restricts the access of humanitarian actors inside the country. Very little is known about humanitarian needs: Unicef estimates that the total affected population is 1.5 million.”

The UN’s children’s agency, Unicef, reported that: “Data from the Nutrition Sentinel Site Surveillance system indicates an increase in malnutrition rates over the past few years in four out of six regions of the country, with 22,700 children under five projected to be affected by severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2017.

This crisis was not unforeseen.

Picture5

A year ago, aid agencies were already warning that the situation was looking bleak.

Satellite imagery showed the scale of the looming drought.

Current maps of the region now show no information for Eritrea: it is almost as if the country has vanished from the face of the earth.

Eritreans have become the silent victims of their President’s unwillingness to call for aid, and the inability of the international community to come to their aid.

Will the Dutch close the Eritrean embassy?

Tuesday, 18 April 2017 09:08 Written by

Africa, Eritrea, European Union, Horn of Africa, Netherlands

Dutch Protest 5

Martin Plaut

There is mounting concern in the Netherland about the behaviour of the Eritrean embassy and its staff. Last Friday’s abortive conference, held by the Eritrean regime in the Dutch town of Veldhoven, may prove to be the final straw.

The four-day conference was abandoned after a Dutch court backed the mayor of the town in closing the gathering, arguing that it was detrimental to safety and security of local residents.

Spokesmen for the majority of Dutch political parties had called for action even before the  conference opened.

News of the event, to be attended by President Isaias Afwerki’s senior adviser, Yemane Gebreab was broken last Tuesday by the Dutch website, One World.

On hearing the news of his imminent arrival Dutch MPs reacted with dismay.

“When the Turkish minister wanted to come here, public order was at stake,” said Attje Kuiken of the Dutch Labour Party. “The question is: what will the speaker (Yemane Gebreab) do at this congress? And will it be within our law?”

The Dutch cabinet also expressed its reservations about the gathering.

A statement was issued declaring that the government was “uneasy” about the conference going ahead, but could not prevent Yemane Gebreab from attending since he had an EU-wide Schengen visa.

Kubrom Dafla Hosabay, a former deputy minister of finance in Eritrea, now resident in the Netherlands, warned what would take place if the meeting took place.

He accused members of Eritrea’s ruling party of threatening anyone who refused to cooperate. “This is the message that will come from the conference,” he said. [See full statement below]

At previous European-wide conferences of the Eritrean ruling party Yemane had called for the opposition to be “destroyed.”

Fearing a repetition, members of the Eritrean community opposed to the regime protested outside the hotel in Veldhoven at which the conference was being held.

Dutch protest 1There followed a confrontation with the police and running clashes, with a number of protesters being arrested.

The mayor of Veldhoven – hearing that a further 2,500 protesters would arrive from across Europe to oppose the event, decided that it should be cancelled.

The youth wing of the ruling party (the YPFDJ) which had organised the event, challenged the ruling in court, but lost, and on Friday the four-day conference was abandoned.

Dutch politicians demand action

A number of political parties in the Netherlands had previously expressed their concern about the activities of the Eritrean government in their country and its extortion of funds from the refugee community.

They had called for action against the Embassy unless it was halted.

Last June the question was debated in Parliament.

A resolution was adopted suggesting that the Embassy should be closed if it continued to use threats and pressure to extract taxes and financial contributions from the Eritrean diaspora.

It soon became clear that the warning had not been heeded. Evidence of what was taking place was gathered by journalists Huub Jaspers and Sanne Terlingen for a radio programme – ‘The long arm of Eritrea’, produced for One World and Argos.

The journalists had gathered testimonies and documentation showing how Eritrean Embassy staff went around the Eritrean community in Rotterdam, and several other cities.  Since last December they had been going door to door among the diaspora collecting funds.

The approach of the Embassy was anything but friendly.

They demanded EU50 per person as a donation to fund the conference. Anyone who refused was warned that they would have a cross placed after their names – a clear sign of intimidation by representatives of Eritrea’s brutal regime.

Receipts for the funds were signed by Isaac Menassi – the Embassy Finance officer, using a commercial receipt book. But his signature was clear.

A handwriting expert testified that having examined the receipts, and comparing them with official Embassy receipts, he was confident that they had been signed by the same person.

When the One World journalists broke the story Dutch politicians were furious, declaring that such behaviour was completely unacceptable.

Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, from Democrats 66 said: “We no longer accept this tax collection.” “The parliament was very clear about this, after pressure from our parties. If Eritrea doesn’t listen, this could lead to the closure of the Embassy.”

These views were echoed by Attje Kuiken of the Labour Party. “This means that once again we will have to open a debate with the government on how to stop these kind of practices. We will do this unanimously: with all members of parliament.”

A year in the planning

YPFJD busses leaveThe abandoned conference was the 13th in a series of meetings held to bolster support for the Eritrean regime across Europe. Around 500 YPFDJ supporters had come to hear their leader’s message.

It had been – the organisers claimed – a year in the planning. But members of the Eritrean opposition were determined that a regime which tolerates no free speech at home should not be given a platform from which to put forward its propaganda.

When an Eritrean diplomatic car drew up the protesters staged a sit-down demonstration, preventing its progress. There were clashes with the Dutch police and over 100 protesters were briefly arrested.

Opponents of the Eritrean government informed the authorities that up to 2,500 demonstrators would arrive on Saturday, as members of the diaspora mobilised across Europe. In the light of this the mayor ordered the conference to be halted.

His decision was upheld by a court, which ordered supporters of the YPFDJ – to leave the hotel by 8.00 pm that evening.

This took place, with busses removing them from the venue. The YPFDJ put out a statement attacking those who had prevented the gathering from taking place.


An Appeal to The Dutch-Eritrean Community

Action to Foil the YPFDJ European Conference in Holland

Source: Facebook

From next Thu, 13/4 to Sun 17/.4/17, the Isaias regime has organized a European wide conference for Youth-Pfdj, its daughter organization. The Dutch authorities, including the media, are wary of this conference because it has elements inviting antagonism, that pose danger to peace and order of the Dutch public.
This is a call to all Dutch-Eritreans, whether or not, we are citizens, residents, and refugees, to use our rights, to formally register, with the police, a declaration (‘aangifte’) that the Ypfdj, poses danger to our personal safety. Because what should worry us, also worries Dutch authorities, including several parliament members (2de Kamer), and the security. Issues about the Ypfdj may cause harm to Eritreans and the Dutch.
1. That Ypfdj thugs are going door-to-door, forcing Eritreans to pay money for this conference and for 2%.
2. That they are issuing false “receipts” without legal details, means they are hiding their actions from public.
3. That they are putting on a black list and intimidating those Eritreans that refuse to pay;
4. That the infamous “Eri-Blood” gang, which is feared to be armed, is capable of physically harming anyone;
5. That a Dutch court, established last year, that Ypfdj, as a possible ‘intelligence arm” of Isaias; the public speech of Yemane G/Ab, at Ypfdj conference in Germany, being the major evidence of it.
6. That all of this has been organized, in December 2016, by high ranking officials of the regime.
Etc., etc., because of all the above, is this Ypfdj conference, is a threat to, us, Dutch-Eritreans.
That is why, we should, go and declare this facts to the police. We are being threatened by phone and in person as “traitors”. The reasons are laid down above. Let us exercise this right of ours immediately, but in any case, before the conference commences. Let us support the effort of the Dutch authorities by coming out to register officially our fear of the situation.
Your brother, Kubrom Dafla Hosabay,

Source=https://martinplaut.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/will-the-dutch-close-the-eritrean-embassy/
 

The conference would start this evening 13 of April 2017, but the demonstration at the conference venue ran out of hand and tens of demonstrators are arrested. The demonstrators are the opponents of the regime president Afewerki. A top advisor of him would had spoken tomorrow against the wishes of the demonstrators.

The Youth department of the only party in Eritrea had organized the conference. This afternoon began punches and later became fiercely.

A question by the journalist to Mayor  Jack Mikkers of Veld Hoven

Journalist: In Veldhoven is Mayor Mikkers, good evening Mr Mikkers

Major Jack Mikkers: Good evening

Journalist: What has given you the breakdown why this decides

Mayor Jack Mikkers: After recent days seems that this conference would take place. I think it is important to have freedom of assembly in the Netherlands and also of expression. That's why I saw no reason to ban the conference. But  afterwards I saw the reason indeed if public order would be endangered and at the last hours and the indication for the coming days would has indeed lead to public order being at risk and that has also lead to tonight at 19.50 that I have to take the decision .

Journalist : That's already known to the people who demonstrated today that somehow went wrong, then don`t  you gave them what they wanted with such  decision  ?

Mayor Jack Mikkers: It is not all the result of the demonstrators' activities but also of the indication for the coming days. My interest is security and public order in Veldhoven. It has been compromised by the past hours and days and that has led to a decision I have taken and that is unfortunate because, on the other hand, in the Netherlands I have the right to organize a meeting and to have freedom of expression that I also find valuable, however, above all which concern is  the interest .

Journalist:There are a lot of people sleeping there who would be at the conference hotel, do those people have to leave?

Mayor Jack Mikkers: Yes. We are currently working on, working arrangements with the Koningshof hotelconference and the organization to ensure that no one in the street does not have to sleep, we are looking for a workable solution for the coming hours, next night Possibly also the day after.

What Clear, is the conference will start tomorrow at 7.30 and that conference will not more continue on the basis of the ban that I have issued.

 

Journalist: Clear, Mayor Jack Mikkers Thank you very much for your explanation this evening.

Source=http://nos.nl/uitzending/23906-nieuwsuur.html

Opponents of the conference demonstrate on Thursday. Photo: Bram Saeys v HH

The decision by Veldhoven’s mayor to ban a conference by the only political party permitted in Eritrea was upheld by a court in Den Bosch on Friday afternoon.

The organisers of the conference went to court to have the ban against their meeting at a conference centre in Veldhoven lifted.

Mayor Jack Mikkers said on Thursday evening he would not allow the meeting to go ahead, after police arrested over 100 demonstrators who had gathered outside the conference centre where the gathering was due to be held.

The 128 people arrested were all released from custody on Friday morning and the public prosecution department has yet to decide if any of them should face charges, broadcaster NOS said.

The People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, the only political party permitted in Eritrea, had planned to hold its annual youth European conference in the Netherlands this weekend.

Despite the ban, local broadcaster Omroep Brabant said the meeting had started on Friday afternoon. According to the conference Facebook page, some 500 people are in attendance.

However, a spokeswoman for the conference centre told the broadcaster that an alternative programme of music is taking place instead.

Provocation

Many Eritrean refugees in the Netherlands regard the conference as an act of provocation, Tilburg University professor Mirjam van Reisen told NOS earlier this week. ‘The government wants to show the Eritrean community that it still rules in the Netherlands,’ she said.

Eritrea has been condemned by the UN for crimes against humanity and the UN estimates hundreds of thousands of Eritreans have fled the country in recent years.

Dutch government ministers said earlier this week they were unhappy about the meeting being held on Dutch soil but that there were no grounds to ban it in advance.

Source=http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2017/04/eritrean-conference-organisers-appeal-ban-in-dutch-court/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork

Part 2

 

By Fesseha Nair

Assessing and reassessing these conferences, dialogues, seminars and workshops that have been held in Ethiopia in the past 20 years are important requirements as experiences of bringing together the stakeholders. The aim of the meetings held in Ethiopia to unite the forces for democratic change in Eritrea to go forward and renew energy to those who really struggle for democratic change in Eritrea. They were instruments but not ends in themselves.

 

This article is part 2 of the article titled, " Do the Eritrean Opposition Political Organizations own the struggle from Dictatorship to Democracy in Eritrea?"

 

This article will delve on addressing the real causes of conflict in the Eritrean political life. The kind of conflict inside the Eritrean Opposition is a deep -rooted conflict based on identities This deep-rooted conflict has never got the right solution from the very beginning of Eritrean political struggle for self-determination and later during the armed liberation struggle and now at this time of struggle from dictatorship to democracy.

 

Eritrean leaders have inherited violent and destructive conflict management and this authoritarian and totalitarian culture of excluding, ignoring or attempting to eliminate others has never brought peace inside and outside Eritrea.

 

Developing a national awareness requires objectivity, tolerance of cultural difference and knowledge of the diverse Eritrean people's history and their struggle for independence and freedom. Tolerance is understanding cultural differences inside Eritreans and accepting and working with them. No culture is better or worse. The discussions going on in the social media are harming the Eritrean diversity. The arguments by some elements have no historical traces but oral defamations by some retarded individuals. Arguments such as Muslims cannot lead or such persons from lowland or other places in Eritrea cannot lead or come to leadership is not objective and realistic.

 

Leadership or management skills have no relationship with your religion or ethnicity.

 

Such arguments simply coming from those who in desperation living in the western world are not from the reality and objectivity of living together does not mean that you must have the same culture and religion. Human beings live together by respecting each others diversity at national and global level. Let us tell these irredentists that the Eritrean Independence and territorial integrity is irreversible. Eritrean people has lived together in peace before the birth of Eritrean nationhood even before the world's nations were formed.

 

The Eritrean conflict is deep-rooted conflict and deep-rooted conflict demand deep-rooted conflict management. What we need is not leaders but leadership- management who have the knowledge of managing conflicts whether they are internal or external.

 

What we see inside the Eritrean Opposition leaders as incapable of solving their internal conflict reminds us that still they lack the skills of managing conflicts. What can we the grass-roots do in order to help them come together. What we need is open mind and heart and discuss the issues of conflict in the Eritrean political arena.

 

What we see and experience in the opposition camp is the same campaign that was during the political struggle of the 1941-1952 between the pro-independence of Eritrea and union with Ethiopia. There are two elements often combined in the Eritrean conflict. One is identity. What is now going is a mobilization of the people in their communal identity groups based on race, religion, culture, language and so on. The other is distribution of sharing the political , economic social and cultural resources. It is the unjust combination of these two that are the main causes of the Eritrean conflict. We failed to build an "shared Eritrean identity" in the past, and now at the present. The leaders have been manipulating and exploiting these elements of identity for their narrow benefits, this is the main issue of conflict we as the victims of such politics must give a lesson to such leaders to change their destructive attitude of conflict management and search new tools for conflict management suitable to our case in Eritrea. We must say now enough is enough no more walls of hate and disintegration but building bridges for peace and harmony to win the dictatorship inside Eritrea and transfer the power to its owner the Eritrean people.

 

Tools for conflict management in the opposition camp

 

The Eritrean internal conflict is identity-driven and emotionally charged mobilized to violence instead of building trust and harmony. It has gone far beyond its borders. Several examples can be given since the Eritrean nationhood.

 

Foreign Saviours

 

Here  I would like to quote from Gene Sharps studies on foreign reliance:

" Some foreign states will act against a dictatorship only to gain their own economic, political, or military control over the country"

Neighbouring governments with their own interests can escalate such internal conflicts for destabilization or stabilization. Such beyond border connections have been experienced in many nations of the world and resulted with destruction and cleansing of people.

 

In such political situation it is difficult to identify the parties in conflict how much they independent from reliance on foreign country. The situation of the Eritrean Political organizations is more confused as some facts are being seen by the sponsor country, kin state operating in support of one group against the majority, such intervention can reduce the possibility of the conflicting parties to resolve their conflicts. It makes the conflict management process prone to abuse and disruption.

 

Freezing such deep-rooted conflicts or leave them latent is not sustainable solution. What we need is a new range of flexible and adoptable tools that can take consideration of the interests that helps us solve the identity-related conflict. The aim of this article is to concentrate on developing the resources and materials by assisting the construction of the process of negotiation and its outcome. Designing good conflict management based on the democratic values is criteria to come together and negotiate. Democracy itself is not a panacea itself but if we in the opposition camp believe in democratic principles we must first resolve our internal conflicts peacefully without external intervention. We must own the process. An imposed solution cannot resolve our internal conflict, such imposed or coerced conflict management failed in the post world war and even after the post cold war era.

 

In this article I would like to propose that negotiation is the only possibility and in this case we must assist the Opposition forces

- enter the process of negotiating a political settlement by helping them generate creative scenarios for progress towards an acceptable outcome.

- provide them with a wide range of political options both for designing the most appropriate negotiations process for them and selecting the democratic structure suitable to our situation

- assisting them in developing solutions which are acceptable and appropriate with our situation

- provide information on the range of varied approaches to building sustainable democracy inside the Opposition camp to gain the people's trust and legitimacy.

 

In conclusion, I would like to remind all the internal and external stakeholders both success or failure to peace building in Eritrea should first owned by us before siding with external kin or neighbouring governments. Let us keep it inside the border instead crossing borders that never benefits the Eritreans or its neighbours.

                                                      

References:

1. Gene Sharp, " From Dictatorship to democracy" A Conceptual Framework for Liberation.

2. International Institute For Democracy and Electoral Assistance IDEA, " Dialogue for Democratic Development, Policy Options."

3. IDEA, " Dialogue in Pursuit of Development."

4. IDEA,  Democracy and Deep- Rooted Conflict, Policy Options

Is the Eritrean ruling party holding a four day conference in the Dutch town of Veldhoven or not?

Yesterday, protests by Eritrean refugees living in the Netherlands resulted in the mayor banning the event.

But there is now contradictory information about whether the meeting – organised by the young with the Eritrea’s sole authorised political party (the YPFDJ) – is going ahead.

A spokesman for the NH Hotel Group, Jeroen Schaling, says it is not.

“We are co-operating with the authorities following the mayor’s order and with the conference organisers to resolve the situation,” he said. He said there were many Eritreans inside the hotel, but that following the ban the meeting did not continue.

But other sources suggest it is taking place, despite the mayor’s instructions.

Maria Burger, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said it is their understanding that the conference is still under way.

Pictures have emerged on social media suggesting that this is indeed the case.

Dutch protest 6

Dutch protest 7

The YPFDJ is taking the matter to court, with an urgent application to have the injunction lifted.

The hearing will take place at 2.00 pm this afternoon. The mayor of Veldhoven, Jack Mikkers, will be in court to defend his decision.

Below is the background to this developing story.

Martin


A carefully planned European wide conference was organised by the Eritrean government’s only authorised political party.  The mayor of the town of Veldhoven, where the conference was to be held, said security and public order could not be guaranteed, and ordered that it be halted.

The conference, called by the youth wing of Eritrea’s ruling party – the YPFDJ – was the 13th such pan-European event, designed to drum up support for the Eritrean regime.

But determined there was picketing by Eritrean refugees who had made their homes in the Netherlands to try to prevent the gathering from taking place.

In a series of protests members of the opposition chanted slogans and sat down in the road.

Politie grijpt in bij betoging EritreeërsThis was the report of these events by the Volkskrant – one of the Netherland’s main newspapers.

“The mayor of Veldhoven, Jack Mikkers, has banned the meeting of the youth movement of the Eritrean regime. The reason given were “two incidents” involving opponents of the conference. Security and public order, according to the mayor, public prosecutor and police could not be guaranteed.

This fear of the government that the conference, which was due to last until Sunday, might provoke unrest had come true. Dozens of protesters gathered on Thursday to protest against the meeting. They gathered at conference center Koningshof where Yermane Gebreab, a confidant of President Isaias Afewerki, was due to speak.

Some demonstrators threw himself in front of a car in which an Eritrean diplomat would arrive. The police intervene after protesters received blows. The demonstrators then left. But some refused and there were about forty arrests. They were taken by bus to the police  bureau in Eindhoven. How many of them were held, is not known.

Kubrom Dafla Hosabay, former secretary of state in Eritrea, who fled to the Netherlands in 2010 because he no longer felt safe, organised the protest. He too was arrested. “We have been arrested, but I do not know why. We are registered and all our belongings are taken,” he said from the police station in Eindhoven.”

Of some skirmishes at the rally Hosabay said he knew nothing. He described the cancellation of the conference as a ‘success’. ‘The municipality has cancelled the conference, which is a good thing, its what we wanted.'”

Warnings and official concern

There had been plenty of warning of the danger that this conference presented. There were allegations that members of the YPFDJ were going house to house in the Eritrean refugee community demanding support for the Veldhoven event.

As the Volkskrant put it: “’We know where you live … Such expression is often regarded in the Netherlands as a threat and under certain circumstances, a criminal offense. Difficult to prove, but serious and certainly undesirable. Therefore, the commotion that has arisen over the coming of Yemane Gebreab – a senior Eritrean official, direct from Eritrea’s dictatorial President Isaias Afewerki, is not difficult to understand.”

Dutch government put out a statement on Tuesday, expressing its concern.

The Eritrean embassy in Brussels has informed the Dutch authorities by diplomatic note that Mr. Gebreab, an employee of the Eritrean President, wants to come to the Netherlands to speak to Eritrean youth at a youth conference. The government is concerned about the Human rights situation in Eritrea. The Cabinet is uncomfortable with the visit of Gebreab for this reason, because the high Eritrean official will speak to Eritreans that have left their country. The visit of Gebreab will therefore not be facilitated and will be treated as a private visit. This means that he will not be received by the Dutch government or high officials here. Because Mr. Gebreab already has a Schengen-visa the government has not been confronted with the question whether a visa should or should not be issued.

Many Dutch MPs and most of the country’s political parties called for the conference to be called off. But still the PFDJ pressed on, insisting that Yemane Gebreab should speak. The Eritrean diaspora was left with little alternative but to take to the streets to halt the regime’s propaganda.

Not the first setback for the Eritrean president

This is the latest in a series of reversals for President Isaias.

In June 2016 thousands of Eritreans from across Europe came to support the UN Commission of Inquiry report being presented to the UN in Geneva. Although the regime’s supporters were also present, they were dramatically outnumbered by those supporting the Commission’s findings that the Eritrean government was responsible for “crimes against humanity.”

Selam Kidane, one of the organisers of the protests had travelled from the UK to demand justice. “We sincerely hope that the world will see how bad things are in Eritrea and how determined Eritreans are to ensure accountability,” she said.

Then in October last year Yemane Gebreab was prevented from attending a meeting arranged by the Atlantic Council. The State Department had invoked an executive order, signed by President Obama, which listed Yemane as among those who were being sanctioned.

The Eritrean government was furious, denouncing this as “a denial of the right of assembly.”

Source=https://martinplaut.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/confusion-surrounds-eritrean-conference-in-netherlands/

 

by Martin Plaut

Eri bloodThe YPFDJ - the youth wing of Eritrea's ruling party - is planning to hold a European wide conference in the Netherlands from the 13th to 17th of April.

The local Eritrean community is worried - previous YPFDJ rallies have been marked by violence and intimidation.

The regime has deployed thugs from 'Eri-blood' to attack dissenters in the past.

An appeal has been launched to appeal for the Dutch authorities to halt the gathering [see below]

Martin

An Appeal to The Dutch-Eritrean Community

Action to Foil the YPFDJ European Conference in Holland

Source:Facebook

From next Thu, 13/4 to Sun 17/.4/17, the Isaias regime has organized a European wide conference for Youth-Pfdj, its daughter organization. The Dutch authorities, including the media, are wary of this conference because it has elements inviting antagonism, that pose danger to peace and order of the Dutch public.

 

This is a call to all Dutch-Eritreans, whether or not, we are citizens, residents, and refugees, to use our rights, to formally register, with the police, a declaration (‘aangifte’) that the Ypfdj, poses danger to our personal safety. Because what should worry us, also worries Dutch authorities, including several parliament members (2de Kamer), and the security. Issues about the Ypfdj may cause harm to Eritreans and the Dutch.

1. That Ypfdj thugs are going door-to-door, forcing Eritreans to pay money for this conference and for 2%.

2. That they are issuing false “receipts” without legal details, means they are hiding their actions from public.

3. That they are putting on a black list and intimidating those Eritreans that refuse to pay;

4. That the infamous “Eri-Blood” gang, which is feared to be armed, is capable of physically harming anyone;

5. That a Dutch court, established last year, that Ypfdj, as a possible ‘intelligence arm” of Isaias; the public speech of Yemane G/Ab, at Ypfdj conference in Germany, being the major evidence of it.

6. That all of this has been organized, in December 2016, by high ranking officials of the regime.

Etc., etc., because of all the above, is this Ypfdj conference, is a threat to, us, Dutch-Eritreans.

That is why, we should, go and declare this facts to the police. We are being threatened by phone and in person as “traitors”. The reasons are laid down above. Let us exercise this right of ours immediately, but in any case, before the conference commences. Let us support the effort of the Dutch authorities by coming out to register officially our fear of the situation.

Your brother, Kubrom Dafla Hosabay,

Nb. if for any reason, the police refuse to receive your declaration (“aangifte”), please let us know as we have, legal help by our side. Contact: +31-6-8534-1768, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Best Regards

Paulos Michael

This email is confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Acolom Networks. If you are not the intended recipient, be advised that you have received this email in error and that any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing, or copying of this email is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error please notify the Acolom Networks Helpdesk on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Janene Pieters

on April 11, 2017 - 10:15

Eritrean Flag

Eritrean flag. Photo: Achim Raschka / Wikimedia Commons

 

A number of politicians in The Hague are concerned about a conference for supporters of the Eritrean dictatorial regime that is planned for the Netherlands, NOS reports based on information from OneWorld.

The gathering will be the annual European conference for youth wing of the only party allowed in Eritrea. It is not yet clear when and where the conference will be held. But according to the broadcaster, it will be in the Netherlands and in the next couple of days. Around 650 people are expected to attend. 

OneWorld has "strong indications" that one of the attendees will be the right hand man of Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki. He often attends this type of gathering, during which he informs people about how they can serve their country. 

Some 20 thousand Eritreans live in the Netherlands. Last year people from Eritrea formed the second largest group of asylum seekers in our country. According to the UN, the Eritrean government violates human rights on a large scale.

A number of parliamentarians are concerned about this conference, wondering whether the presence of Afwerki's right hand man will constitute a treat to public order in the Netherlands, NOS reports. A number compared this situation to Turkish ministers who wanted to campaign in the Netherlands for a Turkish referendum a few weeks ago. The Dutch government denied them access to the country, resulting in a diplomatic fallout between the Netherlands and Turkey.