Martin Plaut

Sep 6

Source: Neue Zurcher Zeitung

By: Simon Hehli 04.09.2023

They are disturbing images that resemble each other - whether in July in Giessen, Germany, or recently in Tel Aviv, in the Norwegian city of Bergen and in Opfikon: hostile groups of Eritrean refugees beat each other or police officers until blood flows.

For right-wing populists, this is a symbol of the West's failed migration policy. Thus, Roger Köppel says in a variation of Peter Scholl-Latour's bon mot: "Whoever brings half of Eritrea to himself becomes Eritrea himself." For the head of "Weltwoche", this is proof that the image of the "supposedly peaceful" Eritreans is false.

It is true that many of the refugees from the north-east African country are poorly integrated and live on social welfare. But a little differentiation does no harm. The riots are not simply an expression of an archaic joy in scuffles; rather, they have a highly political background. The Eritrean diaspora in Switzerland and elsewhere is deeply divided. On the one side are the supporters of the long-term head of state Isayas Afewerki. They or their parents mostly came to Europe in the 1970s or 1980s, fleeing the brutal secessionist war against Ethiopia. Afewerki, who won this battle and led Eritrea to independence, is a freedom hero for them.

The fact that the country under Afewerki long ago degenerated into a dictatorship in which citizens are conscripted into years of "national service" and opposition figures are arrested and tortured does not concern this group. It is quite different from those compatriots who are on the other side: Since the turn of the millennium, they have fled the repression and lack of prospects in Eritrea.

Foreign currency thanks to blackmail

But the regime does not leave them alone. The dictator sets his agents on the emigrants. They collect a foreign tax of two percent of their income - also with the threat that otherwise something will happen to their relatives back home. These are important sources of foreign currency for Afewerki. There are even informers among the interpreters who translate for Eritreans in the asylum procedure. They intimidate the asylum seekers and manipulate their statements. The federal authorities have been aware of this deplorable state of affairs for years, but so far they have done little about it.

If Afewerki supporters now organise alleged "cultural festivals" at which representatives of the unscrupulous regime perform and collect donations, this is a provocation for the dissidents. Of course, this does not justify violence - those who seek refuge in Switzerland have to abide by the law. But it does explain the anger that is repeatedly unleashed here and in other host countries. And this anger does not diminish in view of the fact that some states show no desire to put a stop to the machinations of the Eritrean government.


Eritrea’s missing Swiss Ambassador tracked down

Sunday, 10 September 2023 21:53 Written by


Martin Plaut

Sep 10

The "NZZ am Sonntag" has tracked down the Eritrean ambassador in Geneva who has allegedly disappeared and gone into hiding. The regime's lack of transparency and dubious information policy repeatedly lead to false reports and rumours.

Source: NZZ Magazine

Eritrea - a dictatorship of rumours

Georg Humbel
09.09.2023, 9.45 pm

How can this be? Various newspapers reported this week that Adem Osman had left the embassy and disappeared. An Eritrean radio station in exile was the first to broadcast the news. Adem Osman is an internationally known figurehead of the regime in Asmara. He has appeared before the UN several times. This makes the news that he has virtually deserted all the more spectacular. The news spread like wildfire in the Eritrean exile community. Bloggers and later Swiss media jumped on the bandwagon and spread the news.

Adem Osman has disappeared! Eritrean ambassador is said to have applied for asylum in Switzerland

Wild stories immediately started to circulate among the Eritreans: Osman had taken a well-paid job at the UN, was one version. Quite wrong, others said: He had applied for asylum and was now living anonymously in a refugee centre in Ticino. Or a third version: Osman had fallen out with the regime. He had to go into hiding and was fleeing in panic.

Osman is still ambassador

Obviously, he is not.

He is standing on the pavement in Geneva's Paquis district at midday on Friday, talking to this newspaper's reporter in a relaxed manner. "I am still working at the embassy," Osman says. Nothing has changed, everything is normal, the Eritrean diplomat emphasises.

There is not enough time for a selfie, Osman says a friendly goodbye and continues walking with his companion towards Lake Geneva.

It is not the first time that there are rumours around the Eritrean embassy in Geneva. What exactly is happening on Rue de Lausanne? Is the embassy collecting funds? Is it spying on the diaspora in Switzerland? Such questions pop up again and again. The fact that they remain unanswered is due to Eritrea's information policy.

The embassy hardly talks to the Swiss media. Telephone calls are pointless, they always lead nowhere. Enquiries by e-mail remain unanswered. The embassy is thus following in the best tradition of the regime in Asmara. Government action in the East African country is highly non-transparent. There is no valid constitution. There are written laws - but they only apply to a limited extent. Unwritten guidelines are just as important. There is a permanent state of uncertainty.

Political scientist Mirjam van Reisen does research on Eritrea at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. She is considered one of the best experts on the country. She says: "There are always a lot of rumours in Eritrea. No one knows anything for sure, so everyone is speculating."

This is typical of a non-transparent dictatorship. The whole thing is fuelled by the fact that Eritrea is a strongly oral society and there is a tradition of drinking coffee and talking. This leads to rumours spreading extremely quickly. For example, rumours about the health of the autocrat Afewerki are constantly circulating. Sometimes he is deathly ill and close to his deathbed, then again he is in the best of health.

Disinformation as a strategy

Van Reisen, however, goes one step further. "The regime is deliberately using a strategy of disinformation," says the professor. The government is working to construct a "grey area". It is definitely in the regime's interest that it remains unclear what is true and what is false. "Even rumours and false reports have an impact if they are spread long enough," van Reisen says.

This grey area surrounds Eritrea as a whole. Since refugee numbers from the East African country skyrocketed in 2006, Federal Berne has been puzzling over how bad the situation in the country really is. Refugees describe the country as hell on earth. As a kind of "North Korea of Africa". Bourgeois asylum politicians have long suspected that the situation in the country is not so bad.

Which is true? As always in the case of Eritrea, it is difficult to find out. The country is isolated, and hardly any reliable information gets out - but all the more rumours.
NZZ am Sonntag, Switzerland


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Martin Plaut posted: " Source: Human Rights Concern - Eritrea 7 September 2023 Over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of Eritreans have fled to escape from severe human rights violations amounting to crimes against humanity, as has been documented by the UN Com" Martin Plaut


Martin Plaut

Sep 8

Source: Human Rights Concern - Eritrea

7 September 2023

Over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of Eritreans have fled to escape from severe human rights violations amounting to crimes against humanity, as has been documented by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea

Eritreans continue to flee indefinite military conscription, religious persecution, and political repression, and seek asylum across the world. 

Those who remain in Eritrea live in a climate of fear, oppression, and with severe restrictions on their daily lives, including on the right to food, to move, and to assemble. 

Those who have managed to flee the country still face intimidation and extortion from the representatives of the Eritrean government abroad. They have family members who are still in Eritrea, and who remain vulnerable. They are directly impacted by the activities of Eritrea’s embassies in the respective countries that they live in. These activities include extortion, and threats and intimidation aimed at preventing mobilized and organized opposition against the draconian policies of the Eritrean Government. 

The Eritrean Government, through its diplomatic missions, has for a long time, engaged in suppressing diaspora activism through transnational repression, aimed at deterring, silencing, and punishing those engaged in the struggle for human rights. 

Most Eritreans in the diaspora are survivors of human rights abuses at the hands of the Eritrean Government who have managed to escape and secure safety in Western democracies. Many are desperate to use their newfound freedom to voice their concerns over the continued human rights abuses affecting their families, and Eritreans in general, including by raising awareness about the Eritrean Government abuses and calling on host countries’ governments and international institutions to pressure the regime in Eritrea to stop these violations.

Meanwhile, the Eritrean Government, through its agencies and embassies abroad, has continued to target diaspora activists, going so far as using their supporters to threaten their physical safety. Eritrean Embassies and other representations abroad have been utilized, predominantly, to surveil and monitor the activities of Eritrean asylum seekers and the regime’s opposers, refusing consular services, controlling, indoctrinating and extorting. 

Crucially, Eritrean Embassies also regularly organize political community events aimed at raising badly needed foreign currency. These regularly held community and cultural events are critical for the Eritrean Government to garner popular and financial support. 

It is worth pointing out that, the money generated from such ‘community and cultural events’ is never used to benefit the communities, but is siphoned off into government’s coffers and used to empower the regime to maintain its grip on power and continue repressing the Eritrean people inside the country.

Many of those who participate in these events are asylum seekers who claim to have escaped repression at the hands of the Eritrean regime and sought protection from their host countries. They are essentially supporting the very regime they sought protection from.

Against this backdrop, many diaspora activists have started working to ensure the so-called ‘community and cultural events’ that are organized by the Eritrean Embassies are stopped. To this end, they have alerted host countries’ governments asking them to reject requests for permits for such ‘community and cultural events’, and in many instances they have succeeded. 

The Eritrean Government has responded to such efforts by Eritrean diaspora activists by encouraging violent response, going as far as to organize and arm its loyalists. 

The recent violence in Tel Aviv, Israel, and the response from the Eritrean Embassy in Israel, has demonstrated that the Eritrean government intends to pour gasoline on the fire by denying that those opposed to it are Eritreans. The truth is that everyone opposing or supporting the Eritrean government in Israel are Eritreans who fled persecution, and who took risks to trek a dangerous and perilous journey from Eritrea to Israel to seek asylum and protection. It is appalling to see those who have claimed persecution supporting the very regime that persecuted them and that continues to violate the rights of the entire Eritreans inside the country.

It is also worth pointing out that the Eritrean Embassy in Israel has hired lawyers to represent its loyalists who partook in the recent violent clashes in Tel Aviv, while calling the activists on the other side ‘hooligans’ and ‘motley group’.

While condemning the violence, it is also imperative to remind host countries, and in this instance the Israeli Government, to appreciate what the root cause is, and who the genuine asylum seekers are. The Eritrean Government through its embassies and agents should not be allowed to intimidate, extort, and threaten Eritreans who have fled its draconian rule in the very places they have sought protection in. 

We also call on host countries to enforce their asylum laws against those who explicitly provide material and political support to the very regime they claim to have fled from. ------
Human Rights Concern - Eritrea (HRCE)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.+44 7958 005 637

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Martin Plaut posted: " Source: Ha'aretz Israel has had diplomatic relations with the autocratic Eritrean regime for three decades. But security ties have been kept secret, and most of what in known about them are due to foreign media reports whose veracity is debatableShare" Martin Plaut


Martin Plaut

Sep 3

Source: Ha'aretz

Israel has had diplomatic relations with the autocratic Eritrean regime for three decades. But security ties have been kept secret, and most of what in known about them are due to foreign media reports whose veracity is debatable Share in FacebookShare in TwitterShare in WhatsApp">Send in e-mailSend in e-mailSaveSave article to reading listZen ReadPrint article

Eritrean protesters clash with Israeli riot police in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Saturday.

Eritrean protesters clash with Israeli riot police in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Saturday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg /APAmir Tibon

Sep 3, 2023 12:26 pm IDT

The violent clashes in Tel Aviv over the weekend between supporters and opponents of the regime in Eritrea, and between many of them and the Israel Police, have pointed a spotlight on the diplomatic and security ties Israel maintains with the African country.

Diplomatic ties between the two countries have existed for three decades and are relatively open and aboveboard. But there is a security element that has been shrouded in secrecy; most of what is known about it is from foreign media reports, whose reliability is debatable.

Eritrean protesters clash with Israeli riot police in Tel Aviv, on Saturday

Eritrea has an embassy in Israel, but does not currently have a permanent ambassador – a temporary appointee fills the role with a small staff at his side. The Israeli embassy in Asmara has been unstaffed for years, among other reasons because Eritrea closed its borders during the COVID pandemic.

“Quite a few foreign embassies are in the same situation,” a Foreign Ministry source knowledgeable about the situation told Haaretz.

The two countries formed diplomatic relations in the 1990s after Eritrea became independent. Since independence, the country has known only one ruler, the dictator Isaias Afewerki, who turned the country into one of the most isolated and totalitarian states in the world today. Nevertheless, Israel maintained ties with Eritrea over the years both on the diplomatic and security planes. At the same time, thousands of Eritreans fled to Israel, many of them trying to avoid being drafted.

In 2019, the Supreme Court rejected a petition calling for the Israeli government to release a Foreign Ministry paper detailing human rights conditions in Eritrea. The paper could have played a role in determining the status of Eritrean refugees in Israel, but the justices accepted the government’s position that making the document public would harm bilateral relations.

The court’s ruling provided a rare peek into the relationship between Israel and the murderous regime in Eritrea, which most Israelis are unaware of.

Reports in the foreign media alleged, among other things, that there was an Israeli base in Eritrea, that the Israeli Navy operated in its Red Sea territorial waters and that Israel has listening posts in the country that provide intelligence on countries in the region. No official Israeli source has ever confirmed those allegations.

In 2017, the Houthi rebels in Yemen threatened to attack “secret bases” that Israel supposedly operated in Eritrea. It should be noted that Israel supported Ethiopia when it was fighting Eritrean rebels seeking independence, but that didn’t stop Israel and Eritrea from cooperating after the latter won its independence.

A U.S. State Department report has described the difficult conditions prevailing in Eritrea, including disappearances, torture and particularly cruel punishment of regime opponents. The country's judicial system is entirely subordinate to Afewerki and its army makes use of child soldiers. The European Union imposed sanctions on the regime in the country in 2021 following its persistent violation of human rights.


Martin Plaut

Sep 2

Around 90 Eritreans have been wounded, with at least 4 in a serious condition, in hospitals in Tel Aviv, following a clash between supporters and opponents of the Eritrean government.

These are some images of the fighting that broke out this morning, with police responding with tear gas, live ammunition and brute force.

The Israeli authorities were warned a week ago by pro-democracy Eritreans that this would happen.

Alert about a mass event that is accompanied by violent threats on social networks



On Saturday 02/09/2023 the Eritrean Embassy in Israel is planning a political event, the planned event accompanied by threats from its supporters, to the same extent a demonstration of opposition is planned by those opposed to the dictatorship,

Such events took place during the month of July and August around the world, such as Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, Canada and the United States, the events mentioned were stopped due to severe violence that endangered the lives of both supporters and opponents as well as civilians.

In Israel there have been such bloody events in the past that got out of control took a heavy toll on people and it took us a long time for the community organizations to calm them down, now following the events around the world and the provocations of the Eritrean ambassador and his supporters the threats of escalation have returned once again and this may lead to unnecessary bloodshed.

There is a threat testimony on Facebook of the organization of men of an organized squad that has only men today, Saturday 08/26/2023, which is intended to scare and threaten explicitly in preparation for the event next week.

In light of the above, we, as a community organization that works for the peaceful life of the community in various fields, express our concern for real fear for human life and ask the Israel Police to act to prevent violence that endangers human life.

Egon team – Eritrean New Hope Organization

Chairman Berhana Nagasi


Eritrean New Hope Organization



Martin Plaut

Sep 2

According to Marina Menzi, media spokeswoman for the St.Gallen cantonal police, the festival was canceled by the organizers: “The organizers have realized that their festival cannot be held.”

Source: Tagblatt

Despite warnings from the authorities, an Eritrea festival to commemorate the beginning of the War of Independence took place in Oberuzwil. Demonstrators came from all over Switzerland. The police were on duty with a large contingent.

By Raphael Rohner September 2nd, 2023, 5:15 p.m

An Eritrea festival was to take place in Oberuzwil on Saturday afternoon. Several dozen people from Eritrea wanted to interrupt and prevent the festival, which brought together supporters of the dictator Afewerkis. They traveled from all over Switzerland to do this.

The festival's landlord tells this newspaper that he was warned by the police in advance, but decided not to do anything about the festival: "These people come every year. Nothing's going to happen." Meanwhile, the man was contacted by several Eritrean experts to urgently cancel the festival. “Now I have a strange feeling and, to be honest, I’m afraid to go and cancel the party.”

According to eyewitnesses, there are several familiar faces on site. Among other things, there are also supporters of a group loyal to the regime that has made the headlines and been the focus of the authorities several times in the past because of violent excesses: “Eri Blood”. Experts consider this group to be very dangerous because it carries out criminal acts on behalf of the government and takes action against opponents of the regime all over Europe. “This group can be compared to Russia’s Wagner troops,” an expert told this newspaper.

The behavior of the police caused great resentment among the people who had traveled: “Why are we being sent away while a genocide is being celebrated?” Many people didn't want to wait at the motorway exit in Uzwil, but wanted to drive to the venue anyway: “We don't believe the police that the festival is canceled! We want to see it for ourselves,” says a young woman.

According to Marina Menzi, media spokeswoman for the St.Gallen cantonal police, the festival was canceled by the organizers: “The organizers have realized that their festival cannot be held.”

It was only on Saturday morning that reports from Israel made headlines: At least four people were injured there during demonstrations against an Eritrean festival.


The 4th Congress of the Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) was successfully conducted in Wiesbaden, Germany, between 23 and 26 July, 2023 in Wiesbaden, Germany. Organized under the party slogan of “We Struggle for Constitutional Governance, Democracy and Progress”, the Congress was attended by EPDP delegates from many parts of the globe.

  • Taking place at a crucial time when the situation in Eritrea is worsening by the day under the dictatorial clique of PFDJ (the so-called People’s Front for “Democracy and Justice”);
  • While destructive wars are raging in our fraternal neighbors of the Sudan and Ethiopia; and
  • While global actors are attempting to reshape world order by alliances,

The 4th EPDP Congress, therefore, had to discuss these developments with all the serious attention they deserved.

During the opening ceremony, warm solidarity speeches were delivered by the newly elected Coordinator of the Eritrean Political Forces (EPF) who is also the Chair of the Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change (ENCDC) and a Representative of the Global Yiakil/Enough/Kifaya Movement. Other fraternal movements, associations and media outlets that could not be present at the venue in Germany sent their heartfelt wishes for the success of the Congress.

After lengthy deliberations over the party’s Political Program, Constitution and report of the EPDP General Auditor, the Congress adopted the drafts as legal party documents. Also scrutinized and finally adopted as party documents were the lengthy four-year reports of the Chairman, reports of the other eight departments of the Executive Committee and Political Resolutions of the Congress.

On the Current Situation of Eritrea:

The 4th Congress expressed full conviction that the relation of the dictatorial regime and the Eritrean people is by now non-existent because of the total betrayal of that clique to the entire nation and to the very flimsy structures it started to establish. Therefore, the Eritrean people are urged to take matters into their own hands and reminded to rally behind this party that vows to continue being at the forefront of the struggle to remove the PFDJ and its system.

On Eritrean Sovereignty:

Encouraged by the treacherous language and policies of the tyranny in Asmara, Ethiopian quarters that never swallowed Eritrea’s attainment to statehood and those misinterpreting the right of access to the sea have lately been engaged in day-dreaming some measures that aim to affect the very unity of the Eritrean people and their sovereign state. The Congress therefore affirms that the territorial integrity of the land, sea and air, and the unity of its people are national issues that shall never be negotiated.

On Process for Joint Work at EPF and other Levels:

The 4th EPDP Congress gave full mandate to the newly elected leadership to take all what is necessary to speed up the now promising stage to agree for joint work with fraternal Eritrean Political Forces (EPF) and also to seriously work on the ongoing dialogues with various other political formations, fronts and movements.

On Mass Uprisings:

In regard to waves of current and future mass uprisings, including the ongoing popular resistance being given the name “Brigade Nhamedu,’  the Congress expressed its full backing and necessary support to such rightful measures that must be conducted within legal frameworks and without earning the dislike of host countries and peoples. 

On the Eritrean Defense Forces:

The Congress condemned the unwarranted involvement of the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) in the recent Tigrai war although it was well known that the EDF members, themselves victims of the regime, had nothing to gain from such conflicts and invasions imposed on them and the Eritrean people. The EDF is now called upon to save itself and the people from the shackles of the regime and be on guard to resist and future involvement in wars which are likely be rekindled by the war-mongering regime.

On Eritrean Refugees:

The 4th Congress took note of the regime’s misguided policies and failure to welcome back and resettle pre-independence refugees as well as the continued waves of Eritrean refugees, and reiterated its call upon the Eritrean people  to coordinate its energies to get rid of this tyrannical regime of Isaias Afeworki. The Congress also paid tribute to all counties and people that have been extending helping hands to our needy refugees.

On Eritrean-Ethiopian Relations:

The Congress reaffirmed the EPDP’s position of continuing the relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia peoples based on policies of non-interference in the internal affairs of the other and the promotion of peace and mutual interests guaranteed by transparent accords and not by those based on the whims of individual leaders. While expressing deep concern about the probability of unnecessary armed conflict between the two because of the renewed chatter over the issues of border and ‘access to the sea’, the Congress condemned PFDJ’s continued meddling to disrupt relations of forces within Ethiopia. At the same time, the Congress called upon Ethiopia to see to it that all relations in regard to Eritrea must make be centered on the Eritrean people.

On Eritrea-Sudan Relations:

Sincerely wishing the fraternal Sudanese people to succeed in their struggle to return to normalcy from the current sad situation, the 4the EPDP Congress strongly appealed on the warring military leaders to cease fighting and settle differences peacefully through dialogue. It also urged the world community to intervene in stopping this war which can severely affect the entire region.

On the Tigrai Region of Ethiopia

The people of Tigrai are not only neighbors but are a fraternal people with many shared traits with the Eritrean people. The 4th Congress, therefore, affirmed EPDP’s resolve to help in healing the wounds afflicted by the war and rebuild normal relations based on cooperation and promotion of mutual interests by fighting and failing the harmful schemes of  Eritrea’s belligerent dictator, Isaias Afeworki.

 On Human Rights in Eritrea:

The Congress expressed its strong wish to see soon actions being taken by those concerned to bring to full accountability the Eritrean tyrant and his accomplices for the egregious crimes they have been committing against Eritrean religious leaders, journalists and political actors in complete violation of international calls and fundamental human rights rules and norms.

Concluding its deliberations, the 4th EPDP Congress democratically elected 35 persons from among candidates submitted by the Nominating Committee to serve as Central Council members for the next four years. Other five reserve members were also elected. 

The Congress also expressed deep gratitude to party members and sympathizers for their devotion and generosity in making the 4th EPDP Congress a resounding success.

Victory to the Just Struggle of the Eritrean People!!

Victory to Joint Work of Eritrean Political Formations and Movements!!

Down with the Tyrant PFDJ Regime in Eritrea!!

26 July, 2023, Wiesbaden, Germany