Policy on the Expedited Processing of Refugee Claims by the Refugee Protection Division: Designation of EritreaFriday, 09 December 2016 03:51 Written by EPDP North America
Effective December 1, 2016, the Acting Deputy Chairperson of the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) has designated refugee claims from Eritrea as eligible for processing under the Policy on the Expedited Processing of Refugee Claims by the Refugee Protection Division.
The purpose of the policy is to enable the RPD to meet its mandate of making refugee status determinations fairly and efficiently by accepting claims without a hearing in appropriate circumstances.
The policy was first issued by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada on September 18, 2015, and since that time, claims from Syria and Iraq have also been designated as eligible for processing under the policy."
| 05 DECEMBER 2016
The Socialist International welcomes the release today of Ousainou Darboe, imprisoned leader of the SI member party, the United Democratic Party, UDP, arrested in April 2016 and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, along with 18 party members and sympathisers, who were jailed following a peaceful protest in Gambia’s capital.
Our International, which called persistently for these prisoners’ release and repeatedly condemned the repression of the opposition by Gambia’s dictator Yahya Jammeh, once again pays tribute to the courageous, civic and committed adherence of the people of Gambia to the principles and values of democracy, whose victory in the elections of 1 December, has brought about the release of these political prisoners and is an example of what will continue to be achieved.
This is a victory for Gambia, for its people and for all those mobilised in support of the struggle for democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in that country and elsewhere. It is also a concrete result of the victory of president-elect Adama Barrow and a sign of the new times that have arrived for Gambia.
The Socialist International will continue with its active campaign to free political prisoners from other jails across the world, wherever those who stand up for rights and freedoms for their peoples are incarcerated.
| 02 DECEMBER 2015
The Socialist International warmly congratulates President-elect Adama Barrow on his decisive victory in the elections of 2 December 2016, finally bringing to an end the dictatorial reign of Yahya Jammeh who originally seized power in a coup in 1994.
Adama Barrow, of the SI member party the United Democratic Party (UDP), was the presidential candidate of an alliance of opposition parties.
This victory for the democratic opposition heralds a new era for democracy and offers hope to the people of Gambia who have for decades suffered the consequences of an authoritarian regime that has deprived them of their rights and freedoms, committed human rights violations, physical abuse and murder of political detainees in custody, denied them freedom of expression, and repressed and harassed members of the opposition.
The Socialist International had repeatedly denounced the actions of the Jammeh regime and called for the liberation of all political prisoners, including UDP leader Ousainou Darboe who was incarcerated last April.
Today we celebrate with the people of Gambia and reaffirm our solidarity with the UDP and all the democratic forces in the country who have waited so long for this day.
Group of 44 children run away from Le Havre reception centre over poor conditions and frustration at delays in processing their claims
Child asylum seekers in France have been left frustrated at the length of time it is taking to have their claims processed. Photograph: Thibault Camus/Associated Press
Child asylum seekers in France have been left frustrated at the length of time it is taking to have their claims processed. Photograph: Thibault Camus/Associated Press
Tuesday 29 November 2016 18.36 GMT
Forty-four child asylum seekers from the demolished refugee camp in Calais have run away from a reception centre in Le Havre over poor conditions, saying they are returning to Calais to try to make their own way to the UK.
The children were among more than a thousand placed into centres around France to be looked after by the authorites after the camp was demolished.
The children left the centre on Tuesday morning after waiting weeks for the Home Office to process their cases and decide whether they were entitled to come to the UK.
One of the children, 16, told the Guardian: “We have very bad conditions in the centre. They don’t give us enough food or clothes. The manager came to speak to us with a Tigrinya interpreter earlier today. She was saying that only 10 children would be going to England and the rest would not be going.
Child refugees forced to work for nothing after leaving Calais
“She said that if we didn’t like living at the centre we could leave. So that’s what we decided to do. There are some children here who are 12 or 13, others like me who are 16. All the children in the centre are Eritrean. The manager didn’t want to listen to our concerns.”
“We went to the station and hoped that we could get a train to Calais even though we don’t have any money to buy a ticket. But the station staff wouldn’t let us get on a train.”
After four hours at the station the children decided to return to the centre. One said: “We were too cold and hungry to continue. When we returned the staff said to us: ‘Welcome back.’”
Three of the boys are represented by Duncan Lewis solicitors and one of them texted his legal representative on Tuesday saying: “By now we are coming back to Calais.”
One of the boys’ caseworkers, Rebecca Carr, spoke to a member of the centre staff in Le Havre about the mass exodus of children and asked them what they were going to do about it. The staff said they could not prevent the children from leaving if they wanted to.
Carr said the member of staff had told her that they were trying to do their best but that it was difficult because the centre did not exist three weeks ago, and it had been difficult to source all the furniture and food for the children. The centre is only given €5 per child per day, she said.
The 16-year-old boy who spoke to the Guardian said that all the children were feeling very bad in the centre and losing hope, especially after they were told that only 10 would be allowed to go to the UK.
“Two of the children, one who is 12 and one is 13, already ran away and managed to get to Holland. We all want to go to the UK but we don’t know what will happen to us. I was interviewed by the Home Office last week and was told I would have to wait for a month before I could get papers to come to the UK to join my uncle who lives there,” he said.
Toufique Hossain, director of public law at Duncan Lewis, had urged the children to return to the centre.
Home Office block on Afghan and Eritrean teen refugees 'a disgrace'
“They are all very fed up and they have had enough but if they leave they will be at risk of exploitation and serious harm. If they do make it to Calais there are no longer any services there to support them. We are representing 37 children who have been placed in different centres across France but this is the first time we have heard of a mass departure like this being staged. The Home Office seem to be dragging their feet. They say they are processing applications but they aren’t doing it quickly enough.”
A spokesman for the French embassy confirmed that the 44 children had left the centre earlier on Tuesday to try to get to Calais. “We checked with local officials who confirmed that conditions in the centre are good. Of course we could not force the children to return to the centre but we encouraged them to return, and they did so,” the spokesman said.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are continuing to work closely with the French government and other partners to identify unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who may be eligible to come to the UK.
“Our priority is transferring these children as soon as possible and ensuring their safe arrival. When transferred to the UK they are reunited with family members or put into the care of local authorities.
“We have made significant progress in improving and speeding up the existing processes since the beginning of the year, but the primary responsibility for unaccompanied children in France lies with the French authorities.”
The writer of this article calls for "national dialogue" before convening of ENCDC second congress that can polarize us in different groups.
Dialogue is the platform that encourages diversity of thoughts and opinions but not suppressing them. It leads to mutual understanding of problems and opportunities and search for common understanding. In practicing dialogue, there is an agreement that one person's concepts or beliefs should not take precedence over those of others, and common agreement should not be sought at the cost of the others. We believe dialogue is the main instrument to discuss the opportunities and problems for democratic transition and to develop strategies to address the issues of common interest. A dialogue to be effective must be built on certain principles that serve to guide and structure the discussions.
We , in the Eritrean opposition struggling from dictatorship to democracy need dialogue within ourselves and listen each other for a deeper awareness and understanding of what is actually taking place nationally, regionally and globally. I think the conflict between the 15 political and 6 political organizations is not about the main issues but of personalities and individuals. Our focus has been on personalities instead of issues
The necessity of dialogue
Since we are in process of democratization , the impact of political dialogue can generate momentum to reinforce the democratic process and enables to assess the pace of the transition. The value of dialogue is to help us the assess/ evaluate the experience of the past 15 years in the opposition camp. ( 1999-2016) Dialogue for reconciliation enables us to identify of issues of priority. It allows us evaluate the impact of external democracy assistance.
Dialogue and conflict
Conflict in itself is not necessarily negative. It is unmanaged conflict, where stakeholders attempt to resolve their disputes through unconstitutional or even violent means, that poses the most complex problems
If we all believe in democracy, democracy is all about managing conflict peacefully. In the Eritrean opposition case, dialogue can also act as a mechanism to help prevent, manage and resolve conflict.
- As a mechanism for the prevention of conflict. By bringing various actors together for structured, critical and constructive discussions on the state of the nation, dialogue can result in consensus on the reforms that are needed to avoid confrontation and conflict.
I urge the leaders of the 15 political organizations avoid confrontations and come with the 6 political organizations round table discussion.
- As a mechanism for the management of conflict. Dialogue can help put in place democratic institutions and procedures that can structure and set the limits of political conflict. Democratic leaders provide mechanisms for political consultation and joint action that can peacefully manage potential conflicts.
- As a mechanism for the resolution of conflict. Political dialogue can defuse potential crises by proposing appropriate peaceful solutions. Democratic institutions and procedures provide a framework to sustain peace settlements and prevent the recurrence of conflict.
What should be the guiding principles for the dialogue in national reconciliation between the opposition forces
I hope all the opposition forces believe in these principles
- Partnership and cooperation promoting democratization.
- Disseminating democratic principles in all areas of the cooperation
- Deepening the dialogue at both national and international level
- Assessing the democratic struggle
- Assisting the democratic development
- We in the Eritrean opposition the capacity and will of the dialogue to identify the challenges, analysing the participants, evaluating available resources.
- Participants: political society, civil society, national and international experts both at the national and inter Eritrean- Ethiopian dialogue.
- Objectives: Analysing the dynamics of the transition, seeking a national consensus on priorities and searching for effective cooperation
- Assessing results and monitoring the implementation.
Who are the actors and their functions at the inter Eritrean- Ethiopian Dialogue
Three key functions to be fulfilled in the dialogue for democratic change at the national level
- Analysis function. By providing a comprehensive analysis of the constraints and opportunities for further democratization, the dialogue contributes to diagnosing the flow of events and experiences at the national and regional level.
- Dialogue function. By providing a platform for change of experiences and lessons learned and a forum for building consensus on the challenges and opportunities for democratic change, the dialogue contributes in itself to the consolidation of democracy. It should ultimately lead articulation a democratic reform agenda with specific policy recommendations primarily defined by the national participants and thus owned by them.
- Brokering function. By providing international institutions and donor agencies involved in and committed to democratization with a reference framework, the dialogue contributes a mechanism to assist the international partners to identify concrete support measures, better target their interventions and co-ordinate their assistance.
The national dialogue for democratic change could be structured around three main groups with specific roles:
1. The Dialogue Group: Composed of prominent national experts and key players in the process of democratic change in Eritrea and Ethiopia, the dialogue group should be sufficiently representative and have legitimacy and leverage to make the dialogue meaningful and sustainable. The members of the dialogue group should hence be carefully selected, based on their professionalism, reputation and willingness to enter into a genuine dialogue.
2. The Expert Group. Composed of international experts with undisputed credentials and reputation, the expert group provides the national participants with comparative experiences and lessons learned in other contexts which could be of assistance in the design of democratic change in Eritrea.
3. The Support Group: (For example the Eritrean Medrek) Composed of representatives of the international community involved in and committed to the democratic process in Eritrea represented as observers of the dialogue. The support group constitutes a structure assisting the democratization process in Eritrea. External partners or facilitators/ Medrek - Sana Forum should not dictate but can only support the process of democratic change.
What the opposition need is not convening ENCDC second congress that could result as the Bet Giorgis Wala polarising the opposition in groups and benefits the dictatorship to get more legitimacy to perpetuate its repression against our people. It is a political maturity to create a political space for a national dialogue that would lead us to reconciliation instead of confrontation.
Ending the conflicts in the opposition camp requires more political courage than simply neglecting each other in minor things.
I urge the 15 and 6 political organizations members of the ENCDC to come to their minds and take responsibility and show political courage postpone the second congress of ENCDC and come to national dialogue for reconciliation before running to a congress that can create more divisions and polarizations.
References and further readings
1. Lijphart, Arend. 1977. Democracy in plural societies. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
2. Horowitz, Donald L. 1985, Ethnic Groups in conflict. Berkeley. CA: University of California.
3. Dialogue for Democratic Development, by IDEA- International Institute Electoral and Assistance
By Fesseha Nair
The Irish MEP, Brian Hayes, hosted a meeting in the European Parliament on Monday for an Eritrean delegation led by the country’s Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel.
Their presence came despite protests from European and Eritrean human rights campaigners, who called for the meeting to be cancelled.
Mr Hayes, Fine Gael representative for Dublin, visited Eritrea in May, producing a distinctly upbeat report about the situation in the country.
“Over the past five years Ireland has committed over a million euro to projects in Eritrea. Over 20,000 Eritrean families have been directly helped.”
“It is great to get the opportunity to visit Eritrea and see first-hand these programmes in action. I believe that enabling sustainable livelihoods is a critical factor in determining Eritrea’s future,” he said.
Ahead of Monday’s meeting in Brussels he wrote: “I believe by bringing everyone together for this conference, positive outcomes can be achieved.”
The meeting was attended by a UNDP representative and the Irish aid agency VITA that has been working inside Eritrea for some time.
The tone of the gathhttps://martinplaut.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/torture-eritrea.jpg?w=760&h=504 760w, https://martinplaut.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/torture-eritrea.jpg?w=150&h=99 150w, https://martinplaut.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/torture-eritrea.jpg?w=300&h=199 300w" sizes="(max-) 100vw, 380px">ering was perhaps best summed up in a tweet which Mr Hayes shared: “Engagement is the key”.
Eritrea’s notorious human rights record was glossed over, dismissing the findings of a United Nations Commission of Inquiry that the government was responsible for crimes against humanity.
As the UN put it: "Crimes of enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, torture, persecution, rape, murder and other inhumane acts – have been committed as part of a widespread and systematic campaign since 1991 aimed at maintaining control over the population and perpetuating the Eritrean leadership’s rule."
The exodus of young Eritreans fleeing the country was put down to a lack of appropriate employment.
Yemane Gebremeskel, speaking for the government described the opportunities for investment there existed for agricultural development and other areas, such as natural resources.
But the views of the panel did not go unchallenged.
Zara - an Eritrean human rights activist from the Stop Slavery in Eritrea Campaign - demanded to know why no mention had been made of the thousands of political prisoners, despite repeated attempts by Mr Hayes to cut her contribution off.
And Daniel, a recently arrived refugee, told the meeting that nothing had changed in Eritrea since he was forced into exile, and called for the situation not to be ignored.
Martin Plaut | 28/11/2016 at 8:54 pm | Tags: Eritrea, European Parliament, European Union, Torture, UN Commission of Inquiry | Categories: Africa, Eritrea, European Union, Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p1OD48-2eM