What do Eritreans abroad have against President Isaias Afwerki?
President Isaias Afwerki, who is currently 72 years of age, has ruled Eritrea for 25 years since the country's independence in 1993. He is credited for ending the 30-year-old Eritrean Independence war from Ethiopia after he led the Eritrean People's Liberation Front to victory in May 1991. He is currently one of the longest serving presidents in Africa.
Well, it appears Eritreans in the diaspora have had enough of him and are currently seeking the help of the European Union (EU) to put an end to Afwerki's regime which they have accused of partnering with top human traffickers in the country.
The representative of a group known as Eritreans in Diaspora have issued a statement tasking the European Union to rescue and protect millions of African political migrants who are suffering in detention camps in Libya - a majority of whom they have accused President Isaias Afwerki of having a hand in their plight.
The statement was signed by over 200 delegates who met in Brussels, Belgium over the weekend.
The conference in Belgium was attended by delegates from Europe, North America and other parts of Africa who called on the European Union to cut its support for governments that had links to criminal human trafficking gangs - a category they were confident their president falls into.
During the conference, they listened to first-hand witness reports from victims who narrated the situation in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Libya, the wider Africa, Israel and Europe, with emphasis on the increased influx of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia.
The victims were trafficked.
Since it's independence, Eritrea has been under the rule of Isaias Afeworki, who rules the country as a one-party state in which national legislative elections have never been held since independence.
A part of the statement by the group read:
"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."
In the same vein, a prominent Eritrea human rights activist and Noble Prize nominee, Mr Mussie Zerai, urged the European Union to stop supporting and financing regimes in northern and eastern Africa, which according to him 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.
“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.”
You will recall that over the weekend, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed withdrew the country’s troops stationed on the Eritrean border to honour his promise made during the peace agreement signed by both countries.
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Header Image Credit: Guardian
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