Source: Exile

Diplomats and representatives of international aid organizations who were posted in Eritrea in the 1990s will remember Berhane Abrehe as the stern head of the Macro Policy and International Cooperation department. Mr. Abehe later served as finance minister until his mysterious fadeout in 2014. It is not uncommon in Eritrea, indeed rather the norm, for senior officials to be fired or simply sidelined, and for new ones to replace them, without any official announcement. It was soon revealed that Mr. Abrehe had for some time been at odds with the leader of the Eritrean regime, president Isaias Afwerki, over key aspects of economic policy and broader governance issues. He had, especially, made it clear that he could not be accountable for policies for which he had increasingly been only nominally in charge. Particularly at issue was revenues from the new gold operations and other mining activities, as well as a range of public enterprises, which are controlled, not by the Ministry of Finance, but the economic affairs office of the ruling PFDJ party, and hence, not subject to regular government oversight. The PFDJ economic affairs office is headed by Hagos (Kisha) Gebrehiwet, a member of the President’s inner circle.

In the last couple of weeks, Eritrean social media has been abuzz with news about a new two-part book that the former minister has authored, in which he severely criticises Isaias’ one-man rule. And just two days ago, Mr. Abrehe, who still lives in Asmara, released an audio message confirming his authorship of the book and reiterating his views on Isaias Afwerki and the general conditions of his country. He did not mince words!

Mr. Abrehe had messages for both the Eritrean public and Isaias Afwerki. Addressing Eritreans within the country and outside, he stated that the dire conditions they find themselves in because of Isaias’ repressive and dictatorial rule should change; and reminded them that only they can bring about that change.

He called on Mr. Afwerki to convene urgently the National Assembly [parliament] “for there are many important issues that we need to address” without delay. “You have no reason to dilly-dally anymore.” Even if several members of the legislature have died, and many others are behind bars or forced to flee the country, he told the President, it’s incumbent on you to do the only sensible thing and call all remaining members to meet immediately.

He further called on Isaias to stop, until proper National Assembly authorization is obtained, the ongoing non-transparent and haphazard diplomatic contacts, sanctioned by no authority but Isaias himself, and about which the Eritrean public has been kept in the dark, as well as the signing of hasty agreements that could potentially compromise Eritrea’s national strategic interests.

Mr. Abrehe also invited Isaias Afwerki to a public debate between them proposing a range of topics including the past, present and the prospects of Eritrea’s political, economic, social and cultural realities.

He reminded Mr. Afwerki that, once convened, the National Assembly is bound to take key decisions, including: 1. in a peaceful, legal and civilized manner remove Mr. Afwerki from his position as head of state and chairman of the National Assembly and replace him with a new leader; 2. holding of national parliamentary elections at the earliest possible time; and 3. pass other important and timely resolutions.

Mr. Abrehe concluded by reiterating that the owners of the coming change are Eritreans themselves, and not Isaias or any other individual or group; and those who would try to stop the coming wave will fail, as they would be faced with the wrath of the Eritrean youth.

Source=https://eritreahub.org/former-eritrean-minister-of-finance-challenges-isaias-afwerki-to-step-down

Eritrean and Ethiopian commanders meet at Zalanbessa as defensive positions are removed ahead of New Year celebrationsEritrean and Ethiopian commanders meet at Zalanbessa as defensive positions are removed ahead of New Year celebrations

Source: Human Rights Concern Eritrea

Eritrea: Hopes for Democratic Change and Reform of National Service?

Following the recent rapprochement between Eritrea and Ethiopia dated 7 July 2018, a number of media commentators, diplomats and foreign government officials have expressed hope that the political situation in Eritrea would be normalised soon. Attention must be given to the system of arbitrary and indefinite national military service programme of the government of Eritrea.

The National Service programme is characterised by forced conscription, persistent human rights violations and slavery. It is the main reason behind Eritrean migrant exodus witnessed over the course of the last two decades. (See the findings of the UN Commission Of Inquiry).

The hope is that the programme would cease to be indefinite and that the period of service would be limited to 18 months. For Germany’s development minister, Gerd Mueller, who personally met President Isaias Afewerki on 24 August, his hopes go further and he predicts the introduction of “democratic structures” in Eritrea soon.

This far, there is no material evidence to justify the hopes expressed by media commentators and foreign government officials like Minister Gerd Mueller. Their hopes appear to be based merely on their personal encounters with Eritrean officials, or perhaps on the contents of the series of interviews made by Eritrean officials with international media outlets.

From long experience, Eritreans do not take statements made by Eritrean officials seriously, simply because of the constant inconsistencies and discrepancies between words and actions. Above all, the promises they make normally do not materialise.

Nevertheless, in so far as they appear to draw the attention of international media and foreign government officials, perhaps it is important to review the statements made by Eritrean officials over the course of the last four years.

Statements of Eritrean Officials

Concerning  a transition to a constitutional governance in Eritrea, in May 2014, in an interview with local media, President Isaias Aferwerki announced the “death” of the 1997 constitution – a constitution that was ratified in 1997 but never  implemented.  Instead he promised the drafting of a brand-new constitution.

Two years later, in February 2016, a Presidential Adviser, Yemane Gebreab, informed the UN Commission of Inquiry that a committee was established to consider the drafting of a new constitution. Four years since this initial announcement, what happened to this “new” constitution?  Or is there any “new” constitution at all?

With regard to the programme of national military service, in April 2015, in an interview with the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialog, Yemane Gebreab stated that Eritrea would limit national service to 18 months, in line with the provisions of the 1995 decree. He also added that “the challenge is to be able to find jobs, skills, training and business opportunities when conscripts are released”, indicating that the problem is mostly an economic issue.

However, after one month, Yemane Gebreab’s assertions were contradicted by a Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ press statement released in June 2015, which made it clear that there are no plans to limit the period of National Service to 18 months, owing to Ethiopia’s refusal to abide by the decision of the Border Commission.

Similar assertions were made by the Information Minister, Yemane Gebremeskel, in February 2016, in an interview with Reuters in which he stated that there were no plans to limit national service, and that “demobilisation is predicated on removal of main threat”, that threat being Ethiopia’s refusal to withdraw its troops from Eritrean territories. In the same month, President Isaias made an announcement of salary increases to conscripts. It is important here to note the pattern – “we-will-limit, we-won’t-limit, and salary-increase”.

With peace declared between Eritrea and Ethiopia in July this year, similar statements are once again emerging from Eritrean officials, and following the same pattern observed in 2015/16.Immediately after President Isaias announced his impending visit to Ethiopia, it was reported that officials at Sawa military training camp informed new conscripts that National Service will be limited to 18 months. The news found its way to international media and produced some level of jubilation.

Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel was aware of the reports, and he stated that “an official announcement has not been made so far”, suggesting that such an announcement would be imminent.

Later in August, Yemane Gebremeskel told Bloomberg that “work on the constitution would begin soon”, indicating that whatever the President and his Adviser had said about a “new” constitution thus far had been nothing but another empty public relations exercise.

On 25 August 2018, the Eritrean Foreign Minister, Osman Saleh Mohammed, met with the German minster, Gerd Mueller. Mohammed appeared so emboldened that after the meeting with Minister Mueller, he held an interview with the Germany radio service (Deutsche Welle). In the interview, he blandly stated that his government was not the cause of the Eritrean migrant exodus, as if the national service decree has been implemented in Eritrea by the German government! Implicitly indicating that the political situation of Eritrea is back to normalcy (or national service is limited to 18 months), he also called for Eritrean migrants to come back home.

A new addition to the “discourse” (a discourse normally carried out by the president, the Minsters of Information and Foreign Affairs, and the presidential adviser) is the Minister of Labour and Human Welfare, Mrs. Luul Gebreab. On 2 September, Mrs. Gebreab told Bloomberg that Eritrea will cut its army numbers and that the remaining conscripts “will concentrate on developmental work”. Like the excuses presented by Yemane Gebreab in 2015, she also stated that the government is studying the “economic effects of demobilization”, i.e. issues concerning to availability of employment for conscripts.

At the same time, Yemane Gebremeskel asserted (also to Bloomberg)that at the moment there is no  prospect of returning to “statutory” terms of 18 months national service.  Instead he raised the matter of reviewing and considering salary increases for conscripts. It is important to note that conscripts are normally deployed (with no more than nominal pay) in every sector where labour is needed – be it in the army, construction companies or civilian administration.

Bloomberg has learned that Eritrean officials maintain the position that “demobilisation depends on Ethiopia concluding its parts of the peace deal and withdrawing its troops from Eritrean territories”. This means that conscripts will not be free until such time as Ethiopia acts in a specific way. In this way, the officials are determined to convince everyone that the “Ethiopian threat” persists. With the issue of “salary increases” again raised, the repeated pattern of delay and excuse becomes complete.

The National Service: what is it?

For nearly three decades, Eritrea has indeed faced a human tragedy of epic proportions where thousands were subjected to a practice of slavery and servitude, many lost their lives in wars, and a significant proportion of its population was forced to flee the country at great cost to preserve their lives. Central to all of these tragedies is the programme of national military service, and as such it is quite normal to see the issue receiving constant international coverage.

However, there appears a flawed understanding of what exactly the programme is, especially among those who report it; a misconception that appears to exist among diplomats and government officials, such as Gerd Mueller, who therefore simply propagate unrealistic hopes.

The National Service programme started in 1994 with a different proclamation from that of 1995. The first proclamation (71/94) strictly limited the period of national service to 18 months. Supported by the then dominant narrative of “liberation struggle”, it was warmly accepted by the Eritrean society without any noticeable form of resistance. But by the end of 1995, that decree had been quietly rescinded and replaced by the infamous 1995 proclamation (82/95).

By incorporating a provision known as “special obligation” (Article 21(1)), the 1995 decree subjects every adult citizen to its draconian administration, where everyone is duty bound to “serve as a volunteer” for the whole of his/her adult life. To use a more precise definition, for Eritreans the decree effectively stripped their citizenship status from them and turned them into stateless slaves.

One can thus see that the process of building an institution of forced conscription and slavery started long before the “border war” with Ethiopia, with the quiet implementation of the 1995 decree. Slowly over the years, it ensured a Master-Slave relationship in which Eritreans have effectively become the personal property of the president that can be sent to different wars and whose labour can be exploited at a whim for the benefit of the president and his loyal lieutenants. Additionally, it provides the president with a political tool that ensures effective crowd control. (One has only to refer to the list of testimonies submitted to the UN Commission of Inquiry to learn how a certain lieutenants or administrative office-bearers personally benefit from having conscripts under their command).

Parallel with the institution of slavery, a culture of terror has also been established to silence any voices and/ or to curb any actions that appear to resist the system of institutionalised slavery. This system is propagated through a network of national security agents, and a franchise of torture and imprisonment of hundreds at concentration sites countrywide.

A whole list of abuses and crimes against humanity continue to be committed under such institutions of terror and slavery. The Eritrean migrant exodus which the world has witnessed over the last decades is fundamentally a result of such inhumane practices.

We now hear Eritrean officials and international commentators suggesting the return to “statutory” terms of 18-month national service. One wonders whether this means a return to the original 1994 decree or a partial implementation of the 1995 decree? Most importantly, is that truly a solution for the tragedy?

Again, there are persist statements which indicate the economic challenges the government is facing as far as demobilisation of conscripts is concerned. For the outside world, this presents an image of a caring government that is concerned about the future of the conscripts once they are free. But for those who are going or have gone through the institutions of slavery and terror, now only too well that the president and his military commanders are worried about the loss of personal, political and economic benefits as a result of the loss of slave or conscript labour.

One may be tempted to present question to Minister Gerd Mueller and others who are propagating hopes of democratic change in Eritrea: “Why would a Master opt to free his slaves when the consequence of doing so is a loss of personal political and economic benefits? Would appeasing such a slave-master, giving tax payers’ money to him, and providing material and political incentives to that Master, help to free the slaves? Wouldn’t it be much more appropriate to support and empower the slaves to free themselves, or to support those who are fleeing persecution as refugees in Europe and elsewhere?”

In the end, it is perhaps important to recognise that the pressing political issue in Eritrea is a question of citizenship status, which can only be addressed by the introduction of a truly democratic constitutional system that guarantees the enjoyment of citizenship rights. The first step is therefore to put such a constitution in place. To put it in simple terms, the slave must be upgraded to a citizen.

Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE)

Source=https://eritreahub.org/eritreas-promises-of-internal-reform-but-what-about-delivery

Eritrea: Promises of More of the Same

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New post on Eritrea Hub

 
 

Eritrea: Promises of More of the Same

by Martin Plaut

Source: Eritrea DigestSeptember 9, 2018

Eritrea’s Charge d’Affaires to the United States is Berhane G Solomon.

A protege of Yemane Gebreab, the ruling party’s Director of Political Affairs, Berhane even has Yemane’s body language: the exaggerated hand movements, the awkward smile and, of course, flashes of brilliance. In short, he is very good at his job, a job that requires him to be bad. To lie, to obfuscate, to stall, to confound and to confuse.

This prowess was brought to bear on Eritreans assembled for the Scandinavia Festival, held every summer in Sweden. These particular set of skills were particularly in high demand since the festival coincided with the period of time that a new line of Isaias Afwerki was launched by President Isaias Afwerki; and because there hadn’t been any preview of the new product, people were confused.

The new version of Isaias Afwerki was very deferential to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (a man he barely knows); appeared to settle for a secondary role not just for himself (unusual for such an alpha male) but the country he leads (a country that fought for decades not to be subservient to, or part of, Ethiopia); and, for a man who had shown his people an austere, stoic image for decades, he was very touchy-feely: blowing kisses and tugging his heart. Nerves were rattled among the faithful; the unfaithful didn’t help by reminding them that the man’s loyalty to Eritrea is suspect, he had always been rumored to be a stalking horse, either because of his lineage (yawn) or that Eritrea was too small for his ambitions.

This short speech by Berhane G. Solomon was a rebuttal and it has six arguments, presented in less than five minutes (I told you he is good):

1.     Singular to Collective: Remove the focus from Isaias Afwerki to the leadership. Instead of the singular, talk about the collective;

2.     Absurdity of Freedom Fighter Being A Betrayer: Present the “obvious” absurdity of the argument that those who fought the hardest and longest to bring about Eritrea’s independence would surrender it;

3.     Place Isaias Afwerki’s Speech Within Cultural Context: Re-define the sentence Isaias made to Abiy Ahmed in Addis (“you will lead us”) as consistent with Eritrea’s traditions of village assemblies (the romanticized bayto under a tree) where each able person presents the other as more able.  Have no worries,  the real agreements will be in writing and will be reviewed by lawyers, he said;

4.     Consider the Source: the same people who are criticizing us for being too energetic in the peace effort are the ones who (with Weyane) were accusing us of being isolationists and anti-peace;

5.     We Won: We long ago decided that change in Eritrea and the region cannot come about unless there is change in Ethiopia, so this is the fulfillment of our hard labor;

6.     No Time To Talk But Work: Our leaders are racing to bring about the fruits of their hard labor. This is not the time to demand they speak to us: “hard to talk when you are racing.”

Let’s listen to it, and view the reaction of the audience here. The counter argument to Mr. Berhane G Solomon will follow, point-by-point:

1. Collective to Singular:Nobody is accusing Yemane Gebreab or Osman Saleh of betraying Eritrea. Nobody is saying they long harbored intent to surrender Eritrea to Ethiopia. Nobody is saying that they were so ambitious they wanted to lead something much bigger than Eritrea. At least, I am not.  All the allegations have been against Isaias Afwerki and him only. Berhane Solomon unconsciously (or consciously) concedes this point when he rhetorically asks, “if selling out Eritrea was their goal, why didn’t they do it in 1992?” Of course, Eritrea became an independent country in 1991 and not in 1992, and he knows there is 1991 (post independence) literature of Isaias Afwerki trying and failing to convince Eritreans to prepare them for confederation with Ethiopia.  Thus, the reference to 1992.

But moving on: let’s get more testimony. And they are not all “allegations”: some are just presented as a matter of fact. And who are the ones making them? They are (A) Mesfin Hagos, one of the founders of Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (now PFDJ), a 25 year veteran of the 30-year armed struggle (member of G-15, now exiled); (B) Dr. Dima Negewo, one of the founders of the Oromo Liberation Fronts (OLF), and in charge of its Foreign Office (who represented his front during the negotiations the Tripatriate meetings regarding post-Mengistu government.) Additionally, two Ethiopians testify that Isaias Afwerki was open to the idea of being in charge of a unified Ethiopia: he was thwarted by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) ambitions to dominate Ethiopian politics and they are (C) Dawit Woldegiorgis, the administrator of Eritrea for the Derg regime and (D) Andargachew Tsige, the leader of Ginbot-7, one of the Eritrea-based armed Ethiopian opposition groups. Links for all the interviews mentioned are provided below, with time set to the relevant part:

(A)

(B)

(C)

(D)

2. Absurd To Call Freedom Fighters “Traitors”: Well, that’s rich coming from a spokesperson for PFDJ which has accused long-serving freedom fighters like Petros Solomon, Mahmoud Ahmed Sherifo, Haile Woldense, Mesfin Hagos, Ogbe Abraha, Hamid Himid, Saleh Idris Kekya, Estifanos Seyoum, Berhane Ghebrezgabiher, Astier Fesehazion, Germano Nati, Beraki Gebreselassie, Adhanom Ghebremariam, Mohammed Ali Omaro, Omer Tewil, Abdella Jaber, Mustapha Nurhussein and many others FROM ITS OWN LEADERSHIP as traitors and made them disappear.  We won’t even count the thousands of patriots accused of being fifth columnists from outside the EPLF/PFDJ.  The accusation that one individual (Isaias Afwerki) is a betrayer makes more sense than the claim that everybody who opposes him, literally in the thousands, are. In any event, the allegation of “betrayal” here, at least from my perspective, is not that he wants to surrender Eritrea to Ethiopia. The betrayal is that he is doing whatever it is he is doing in secret without consulting the people, or their elected spokespersons in a parliament. Heck, he is not even consulting with the rubber stamp cabinet of ministers.  He is betraying the cause of the armed struggle, as he has done for the last 17 years.

3. Isaias Afwerki & Cultural Context: The speeches of Isaias Afwerki that people have an objection to are (a) his delegation of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as a leader to deal with all issues Eritrean and (b) his claim that, henceforth, it is incorrect to call Eritreans and Ethiopians as two people. What is the flaw in Berhane G. Solomon’s argument that was just “polite talk” “reconciliation talk” consistent with the Eritrean culture of humility and diffidence, specially in public service? Two things: first, President Isaias Afwerki went out of his way to iterate that, no, this wasn’t just idle talk or flattery: he really, really means it. Second, there is nothing in the history of Isaias Afwerki that shows he has any respect for Eritrean culture, chief among them being, “do not pass a judgement before you give the accused an opportunity for self-defense.” Or, “get the consent of the governed to govern.”  In fact, if there is one thing that will come to define the Isaias Afwerki regime long after it is gone is that it was a very unjust and cruel system, indifferent to the voices of the people or their culture.

As for his claim that we shouldn’t be anxious because all agreements will be in writing, which will be reviewed by lawyers: sorry to say but it rings hollow. The most glaring example of it was that following the outbreak of war between Eritrea and Ethiopia in 1998, what became apparent was that the two governments had no written agreement to refer to and they were reduced to sharing with us private correspondence between Isaias Afwerki and Meles Zenawi.  That and “colonial treaties” signed by Europeans over a century ago.

4. The “Consider the source” Argument:and other tricks of guilt-by-association will boomerang on the Isaias Afwerki administration because those he associates with, and those who consider him as their personal hero, just happen to be ardent One EthiopiaEthiopians who either don’t accept Eritrea’s sovereignty or question the entire basis of its armed struggle. The point here is that: the Isaias Afwerki regime was wrong to stumble Eritrea into a war (in 1998); it was wrong to escalate Ethiopia’s refusal to accept the final/binding ruling by miring Eritrea in Somalia and getting the country sanctioned; and now it is wrong in pursuing secret deals with Ethiopia without consulting the stakeholders, ie: the people. The “you are accidentally agreeing with people we don’t like” may work on the weaker supporters of the PFDJ but it can’t work on all of them.

5. The “we won” argument: is something the PFDJ uses without ever considering the price that was paid. Firstly, how much did the Isaias Afwerki regime contribute to the downfall of the TPLF from the leadership of the EPRDF-coalition? 100%? 75%? 50%? 25%? Ethiopians will have to answer that, not the “humble” PFDJ.  And whatever the answer was, was it worth the hundreds of thousands of Eritreans exiled, sanctions, and an entire generation of Eritreans who wasted their lives to guard a border because dialogue was not possible prior to their demobilization and now demobilization is not possible even after dialogue that wasn’t supposed to happen before demarcation? Was it worth it for them to hear their chief commanding officer saying, “we lost nothing”? Was it worth it for them to hear a veteran of the armed struggle tearfully saying, to Ethiopia’s tearful Jossy “now that there is peace, when I look back at the 40 years I spent in the armed struggle, I regret it?” video hereWhen is the Isaias Afwerki administration going to face the people not to “lecture them”, but to listen and to be accountable for its actions: what was paid for this win, was it worth it, were there other wins forfeited?

6. Too Busy To Talk:Between 2001 and 2018 (17 years), the Isaias Afwerki government was too busy to talk to the people and be accountable to them because it is too busy protecting the nation from imminent danger. Now that there is peace, the Isaias Afwerki government is too busy to talk because it is too busy catching up for opportunities it didn’t lose because we lost nothing. Busy, busy, busy. It is the same “heads I win, tails you lose” trick. But if there is one lesson it should have drawn from all its former allies–Muammar Kaddafi, Robert Mugabe, Hosni Mubarek,  Meles Zenawi—is that you can fool the people for some time, but not indefinitely. At some point, people will no longer be persuaded by their “trust us, just be patient” reasoning.  This, I think, is what Former Finance Minister and now author Berhane Abrehe is trying to warn them with this message:

Will they listen? Judging from the reaction of their uberfans, there is little hope to be optimistic: first they denied he wrote the books; now they are doing “voice analysis” to prove it is not him sending his message from Asmara on September 1. But the message of Berhane Abrehe is the same one made by General Bitweded Abraha two decades ago: listen to your people, try reconciliation, and be accountable. And we know what they did to him: disappear because he was another freedom fighter who was a traitor, apparently.

The PFDJ is still relying on its “revolutionary legitimacy”: Berhane says that when we question the PFDJ leadership’s commitment to Eritrea, we are claiming that we care for the country more than they do. Well, no; firstly, some of us are not sayingtheybut him.  Secondly, all of us are saying that they are servants of the people and they are accountable to the people and the people, via their national assembly, have the right and duty to express their confidence in them or fire them.

The PFDJ continues to give the people an impossible choice: to get your freedom, you must first topple us; and to topple us, you must be prepared for civil war. Or, if that doesn’t look attractive to you, wait for it on our schedule. Hating both options, the people continue to latch on to people like Berhane Abrehe: that change will come from within and it will come with little or no bloodshed by coordinating with the opposition. Twenty seven years after Eritrea’s independence, you can’t continuously come up with reasons and justifications as to why you don’t have a constitution; you are not accountable to any institution; you have our youth in indefinite conscription; you have political prisoners; you have no independent press; refuse to reconcile with anyone; ignore the hundreds of thousands of your people in exile and close up all political space.  And when a critical mass of them rise up, because there is no constitution, no institutions, no civil society–nothing but PFDJ–there will be nothing to save them from the wrath of the people.


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Martin Plaut | September 10, 2018 at 6:37 am | Tags: Berhane G Solomon, Eritrea, USA | Categories: News | URL: https://wp.me/p9mKWT-lJ

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There has been growing concern about the fate of refugees trapped in Libya. Now there is a call for action.

Eritrea Libya

Here is a report from the Irish Times.

For refugees and migrants in Libyan detention centres, a phone marks the difference between life and death. They’re carefully hidden, topped up by contacts in other parts ofLibya, and charged in secret, wherever electricity can be found.

At no time has this been more obvious than since fighting broke out 10 days ago.

As a state of emergency continues in Tripoli, and fighting escalates quickly, thousands of migrants and refugees previously held in detention centres have been scattered across the city, all desperate to stay alive.

The Irish Times is in touch with at least five groups, who have used smartphones to message about everything from a lack of food, to looters, bomb blasts and attacks by armed men, to how they feel they’ve been abandoned by the United Nationsand other international organisations.

Since fighting erupted on August 26th, between rival armed militias vying for control of Tripoli, many of the estimated 8,000 refugees and migrants in official detention centres have been “released”, moved to different locations, or have escaped and are now sleeping on the streets.

Many were never registered by the UN – despite regularly asking for it – and detention centre managers say they have no lists of who exactly was in their centres. This means it is impossible to know the number that have already disappeared.

Some aid workers suggest detention centres obscure this information deliberately. Migrants and refugees have been known to pay their way out (the going rate is $20,000 [€17,000]said one Eritrean) or they’ve been sold to traffickers or to rich Libyans as slaves. A migrant can be sold as forced labour for as much as $600, said a Libyan aid worker. Now the fighting is fierce, consequences can prove deadly.

Source=https://eritreahub.org/eritreans-trapped-in-libya-join-the-london-call-for-action

Yemane Gebremeskel – Eritrea’s Minister of Information – has tweeted that this visit is under way.

Horn Peace

The decision to send the ministers comes after the signing of a tripartite agreement between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. [See below]

And after the Ethiopians and Somalis urged Eritrea to make peace with Djibouti.

The background to the Djibouti mission is the conflict between Eritrea and Djibouti that erupted in 2008.

For many years it has been a source of tension in the region and was an outstanding issue, after Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace deal earlier this year.

The Djibouti-Eritrea question was also the reason why UN military sanctions against Eritrea were not lifted – despite UN monitors declaring that Eritrea was no longer aiding the Somali Islamist group, Al-Shabaab.


Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Cooperation Between Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea

Considering that the peoples of Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea share close ties of geography, history, culture and religion as well as vital common interests;

Respecting each other’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity;

Desiring to bolster their historical ties to achieve their lofty objectives;

The Governments of Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea have reached the following agreement that reflects the aspirations of their peoples:-

1. The three countries shall foster comprehensive cooperation that advances the goals of their peoples.

2. The three countries shall build close political, economic, social, cultural and security ties.

3. The three countries shall work in coordination to promote regional peace and security.

4. The three governments hereby establish a Joint High-Level Committee to coordinate their efforts in the framework of this Joint Declaration.

Done in Asmara, September 5, 2018

For the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

For the Federal Republic of Somalia
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed

For the State of Eritrea
President Isaias Afwerki

Source=https://eritreahub.org/last-piece-in-the-horn-of-africa-peace-puzzle-eritrea-ethiopia-and-somalia-send-foreign-ministers-to-djibouti

Liberty Magazine Issue # 52

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The leaders of Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to initiate dialogue as they seek to resolve a border dispute between the latter and Djibouti, according to Abdinur Mohamed, the communications director in the office of the Somali president.

 

Djibouti in July petitionedthe United Nation’s security council, asking the body to ‘facilitate an agreement between them upon a mutually acceptable means of peaceful dispute settlement’.

The disputed land in question is the Dumeira mountain and Dumeira island which Djibouti claims is being illegally occupied by Eritrea.

Both Somalia and Ethiopia have been actively working to achieve the normalisation of relations between Djibouti and Eritrea.

Takeda Alemu, Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United Nations told the security council in July, that Addis Ababa had conducted fruitful and useful discussionswith the Djibouti foreign minister.

Somalia’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo, also travelled to Djiboutiin August to discuss his own country’s normalisation of relations with Eritrea after he was criticised for calling on the United Nations to lift sanctions on Eritrea.

An arms embargo imposed on Eritrea since 2009 was chiefly to do with its alleged support for Somali insurgent group Al-Shabaab but also because of its agression against Djibouti and refusal to enter any form of mediation over the disputed regions.

Calls for the 2009 Eritrean sanctions to be lifted has been strong in recent months following the peace deal between the country and Ethiopia.

The Djibouti – Eritrea standoff is seen by most political and security analysts as the final rift needed to be solved to restore durable peace to the Horn of Africa region.

Source=https://eritreahub.org/ethiopia-and-somalia-urge-eritrea-to-end-border-dispute-with-djibouti

The leaders of Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to initiate dialogue as they seek to resolve a border dispute between the latter and Djibouti, according to Abdinur Mohamed, the communications director in the office of the Somali president.

 

Djibouti in July petitionedthe United Nation’s security council, asking the body to ‘facilitate an agreement between them upon a mutually acceptable means of peaceful dispute settlement’.

The disputed land in question is the Dumeira mountain and Dumeira island which Djibouti claims is being illegally occupied by Eritrea.

Both Somalia and Ethiopia have been actively working to achieve the normalisation of relations between Djibouti and Eritrea.

Takeda Alemu, Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United Nations told the security council in July, that Addis Ababa had conducted fruitful and useful discussionswith the Djibouti foreign minister.

Somalia’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo, also travelled to Djiboutiin August to discuss his own country’s normalisation of relations with Eritrea after he was criticised for calling on the United Nations to lift sanctions on Eritrea.

An arms embargo imposed on Eritrea since 2009 was chiefly to do with its alleged support for Somali insurgent group Al-Shabaab but also because of its agression against Djibouti and refusal to enter any form of mediation over the disputed regions.

Calls for the 2009 Eritrean sanctions to be lifted has been strong in recent months following the peace deal between the country and Ethiopia.

The Djibouti – Eritrea standoff is seen by most political and security analysts as the final rift needed to be solved to restore durable peace to the Horn of Africa region.

The leaders of Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to initiate dialogue as they seek to resolve a border dispute between the latter and Djibouti, according to Abdinur Mohamed, the communications director in the office of the Somali president.

 

Djibouti in July petitionedthe United Nation’s security council, asking the body to ‘facilitate an agreement between them upon a mutually acceptable means of peaceful dispute settlement’.

The disputed land in question is the Dumeira mountain and Dumeira island which Djibouti claims is being illegally occupied by Eritrea.

Both Somalia and Ethiopia have been actively working to achieve the normalisation of relations between Djibouti and Eritrea.

Takeda Alemu, Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United Nations told the security council in July, that Addis Ababa had conducted fruitful and useful discussionswith the Djibouti foreign minister.

Somalia’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo, also travelled to Djiboutiin August to discuss his own country’s normalisation of relations with Eritrea after he was criticised for calling on the United Nations to lift sanctions on Eritrea.

An arms embargo imposed on Eritrea since 2009 was chiefly to do with its alleged support for Somali insurgent group Al-Shabaab but also because of its agression against Djibouti and refusal to enter any form of mediation over the disputed regions.

Calls for the 2009 Eritrean sanctions to be lifted has been strong in recent months following the peace deal between the country and Ethiopia.

The Djibouti – Eritrea standoff is seen by most political and security analysts as the final rift needed to be solved to restore durable peace to the Horn of Africa region.

The leaders of Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to initiate dialogue as they seek to resolve a border dispute between the latter and Djibouti, according to Abdinur Mohamed, the communications director in the office of the Somali president.

 

Djibouti in July petitionedthe United Nation’s security council, asking the body to ‘facilitate an agreement between them upon a mutually acceptable means of peaceful dispute settlement’.

The disputed land in question is the Dumeira mountain and Dumeira island which Djibouti claims is being illegally occupied by Eritrea.

Both Somalia and Ethiopia have been actively working to achieve the normalisation of relations between Djibouti and Eritrea.

Takeda Alemu, Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United Nations told the security council in July, that Addis Ababa had conducted fruitful and useful discussionswith the Djibouti foreign minister.

Somalia’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo, also travelled to Djiboutiin August to discuss his own country’s normalisation of relations with Eritrea after he was criticised for calling on the United Nations to lift sanctions on Eritrea.

An arms embargo imposed on Eritrea since 2009 was chiefly to do with its alleged support for Somali insurgent group Al-Shabaab but also because of its agression against Djibouti and refusal to enter any form of mediation over the disputed regions.

Calls for the 2009 Eritrean sanctions to be lifted has been strong in recent months following the peace deal between the country and Ethiopia.

The Djibouti – Eritrea standoff is seen by most political and security analysts as the final rift needed to be solved to restore durable peace to the Horn of Africa region.