Call to EU to sanction Eritrean dictatorship

Tuesday December 18 2018

Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The Eritreans in diaspora have appealed to the European Union (EU) to end support for the Asmara regime accused of colluding with human traffickers.

The representatives of the Eritrean diaspora, in a statement, challenged the EU to fulfil its duty and protect African political migrants who were suffering in detention camps in Libya.

The over 200 delegates issued the statement following last weekend's conference in Brussels, Belgium.

The conference, also attended by delegates from Europe, North America and other African countries, called on the EU to stop supporting governments that were complicit with criminal human trafficking gangs.

Witness reports

It heard first-hand witness reports of the situation in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Libya, the wider Africa, Israel and Europe, with emphasis on the increased influx of Eritrean refugees into Ethiopia, and for many the onward movement to other countries while in the hands of human traffickers.


Formerly a province of Ethiopia, Eritrea declared independence in 1991 after 30 years' liberation war. The country that has since then been under the firm control of Isaias Afeworki, is a one-party state in which national legislative elections have never been held since independence.

The Brussels conference considered the evidence of the involvement of Eritrean officials in the human trafficking of its people and the protection of those involved in the crime, and welcomed the UN and EU sanctions adopted in June 2018 on those found culpable.

Political support

"Proper mechanisms must be created that will allow those being persecuted to be evacuated, protected, supported and resettled in a dignified way and the EU must take its fair share," read the Eritrean diaspora statement.

A prominent Eritrea human rights defender and Noble Prize nominee, Mr Mussie Zerai, appealed to EU to stop providing political support and finance to regimes in northern and eastern Africa, which were colluding with human traffickers.

“We are asking the EU to stop providing political support and finance to regimes in Northern and Eastern Africa which are colluding with human traffickers. This is well documented and is leading to the torture, extortion and even murder of refugees who are fleeing repression,” he said.

“Europe can’t close its eyes to the refugees who are stranded in Libya’s detention centres, and who are at constant risk. A solution needs to be found to immediately evacuate the more than 10,000 Eritrean’s refugees, many of whom are unaccompanied children, and bring them to places of safety and dignity.”