Norwegian parties send plan to end transnational repression of Eritreans to Parliament

2024-03-13 22:24:19 Written by  Martin Plaut Published in English Articles Read 1006 times

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Martin Plaut

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Martin Plaut

March 8

"The dictatorship in Asmara uses its long arm against Eritreans living in Norway - this cannot be acceptable,"

Ola Elvestuen, Member of Parliament.

Norwegian Members of Parliament have been meeting in committee to decide how to respond to two reports on the way in which repressive regimes around the world have attempted to put pressure on their citizens living in Norway. This includes the Eritrean diaspora, who have been under intense pressure to pay a 2% tax on all their income to Asmara as well as attend 'festivals' that are often contain strong military elements. Even children are indoctrinated in the Eritrean regime's ideologies.

On Friday the Norwegian politicians decided to send an action plan to the full Parliament, or Storting. This is due to be debated on 15th March. "It's a breakthrough" says Ola Elvesteun, a former Minister for Climate and the Environment, and a strong supporter of the Eritrean cause. "The repression of Eritreans is very strong - including the 2% tax, pressure on family members in Eritrea and through the churches."

Mr Elvesteun outlined three forms of action the Norwegian Parliament might take.

·        Halt the 2% tax, which funds Eritrea's repression at home and its military activities abroad. Much of the activity is co-ordinated via the ruling party offices in central Oslo, where the PFDJ operates to put pressure on Norwegian Eritreans. "This must be stopped," says the MP.

·        Act to prevent Norwegian state subsidies being transferred from churches in Norway to Asmara. Mr Elvesteun says 37 or 38 churches are controlled by the Eritrean state. "Anyone who disagrees with President Isaias is locked out," he says. "This must end."

·        The 'festivals' are in reality what he calls "arenas of propaganda" for the dictatorship, and should be recognised as such. Anyone who is critical of President Isaias is excluded. They are dominated by Eritreans wearing pro-regime T-shirts with 4G on then, or Eriblood slogans. This reality needs to be recognised by local authorities and other organisations that make the halls available.

"The Eritrean regime raises at least one-third of its budget from its diaspora abroad - often under pressure. We must work across Europe to deal with this issue," says Mr Elvesteun who is optimistic that their proposals will be adopted when they come before the whole Parliament.

Last modified on Wednesday, 13 March 2024 23:29