“We must be there because they are here.” David Matas, September 18, 2011.
On September 18th, 2011, a Seminar entitled ‘Enough 20 Years of Tyranny: A Seminar in Commemoration of political prisoners of Eritrea” was held at the Convocation Hall at the University of Winnipeg, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
By every measure, the Seminar was huge success. More than 120 people, from various Winnipeg institutions and communities, have attended the seminar.
The keynote Speaker, Mr. Dan Connell, was impressive in exposing the untold human rights violations in Eritrea. Mr. Connell, who is one of the most prominent Western experts on Eritrea, dubbed the Eritrean regime, ‘a very sophisticated tyranny’ that has become very effective in controlling the Eritrean populace in mainland Eritrea and the Diaspora. The speaker, in his recommendations, called upon the Canadian government and the public to take due notice of the massive violations of human rights in Eritrea and help the human rights cause by putting “smart” sanctions on the Eritrean regime and by using other means at their disposal.
The event also included testimonials of victims of human rights abuses in Eritrea. Fourteen year old, Meaza Petros Solomon told, through Skype, of her heartbreaking experience of growing up without her parents since both her parents were kept in detention centers since September 2001.
Moreover, the Order of Canada recipient, and Nobel Prize nominee, Mr. David Matas, in his concluding remarks noted, “crimes against humanity are crimes against us all. When crimes against humanity are committed, we are all victims. We must not be silent in the face of our own victimization, when part of our human family suffers from grave abuses.”
In a call to support the Eritrean human rights cause, Mr. Matas further noted, “we must be there because they are here. “
The Seminar was followed by ‘Question and Answer’ period. Finally, the guests were invited to join at the reception where Eritrean cultural food was served. The organizers awarded Plaques and gifts to Mr. Dan Connell and others. The Seminar was ably and smoothly moderated by Belle Millo, the chair at Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education Centre.
All the books Mr. Dan Connell brought were sold out and more orders were made. The organizers wore T-shirts in commemoration of Eritrean prisoners and were selling them to the audience.
We again thank these who help to make the event successful. We intend to publish the lectures and testimonials of the Seminar soon.
‘Hidmona’ Eritrean-Canadians Human Rights Group of Manitoba