Human Rights Concern-Eritrea (HRCE) has issued a press statement accusing President Isaias’ government in Eritrea of direct responsibility for the mass exodus of “60,000 people who escape their country every year, or the 47,000 Eritreans who sought asylum in Europe in 2015”.
It was commenting on the President’s statement on November 8 that migration and the movement of refugees had “become rampant globally” and his call for “the need for the underlying causes and driving factors to be fully and comprehensively addressed.” Human Rights Concern-Eritrea said it was “most certainly relevant and urgent for the world to identify the causes of the mass exodus of refugees from particular countries”. It pointed out, however, that it was especially ironic that President Isaias should say this when he headed a regime which was “currently causing the most extraordinary and most numerous exodus of refugees in Africa” and “prime responsibility rests with the very government which he himself leads.”
The President had laid great emphasis on “human trafficking” and the traffickers as the unaddressed problem, but he never mentioned why the men and women of Eritrea were so vulnerable to such traffickers. Human Rights Concern–Eritrea said “it was essential that attention should be focused on the true cause of their vulnerability: their desperate need to escape the appalling dangers and repression in their own country stemming from the policies and actions of his own government.”
The UN Commission of Inquiry report earlier this year detailed the human rights violations, the lack of rule of law, and the effective policing of human rights which meant that Eritrea was a “country where there is no political or religious freedom, and people are routinely imprisoned and tortured, and may disappear or be executed extra-judicially.”
Human Rights Concern-Eritrea said anyone opposed to government policies was in extreme danger, but “above all other ‘driving factors’ forcing young Eritreans to flee the country and become refugees is the universal and indefinite National Service. Those entering such service can remain quasi slave-labor in the military, the agricultural sector, or mining industries, with no foreseeable end or hope of escaping.”