Dutch Parliament presses government to close Eritrean embassy

by Martin Plaut The Dutch Parliament is debating how to respond to the latest evidence that the Eritrean government is continuing to lean on members of the Eritrean diaspora community living in the Netherlands. Fresh evidence On Saturday a programme by

by Martin Plaut

The Dutch Parliament is debating how to respond to the latest evidence that the Eritrean government is continuing to lean on members of the Eritrean diaspora community living in the Netherlands.

Fresh evidence

On Saturday a programme by investigative journalists from Argos radio programme will be broadcast showing Eritrean refugees being forced to pay the notorious 2% tax to the Eritrean government – something the Dutch authorities have repeatedly insisted must end.

Portions of the programme have already been released.

The programme, using secretly filmed footage, quotes from a conversation with the head of the Embassy, Solomon Mehari.

In it, an Eritrean asylum seeker is forced to pay the so-called 2% tax and to express his “regret” for having fled from Eritrea.

If he refuses to he will not be issued with the government document he came to the Embassy to request.

From the transcripts of the conversation it appears that the asylum seeker is forced to sign a form in which he repents and accepts he will receive what is called the “correct sentence”.

“Every person that left the country must first sign this. There is no way around it. After that, we can give our services, ” he is told. [Full transcript below]

MPs call for Embassy closure

Anger and frustration was expressed by politicians at the behaviour of the Eritrean Embassy in three motions debated in the Dutch Parliament on Wednesday.

These ranged from calls for the Embassy to be closed, to investigations on whether the 2% tax could be made illegal.

MPs from across the political spectrum expressed their concerns that pressure and intimidation was continuing, despite government calls for the Eritrean embassy to cease acting in this way.

In September the Dutch government promised to act if this didn’t happen. “When firm evidence emerges of intimidation and unlawful coercion in relation to the collection of the Eritrean diaspora tax by the embassy in The Hague, diplomatic measures will not be ruled out,” the government promised in an official statement.

Responding to the debate, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Halbe Zijlstra, described closure of the Eritrean embassy as an extremely serious step, which would require proof.

He said that the Dutch government had called on Eritreans to report the matter to the police and that so far they had received 10 report, but these have yet to lead to a criminal investigation.

Mr Zijlstra offered to discuss possibility of undertaking a formal prosecution with the Prosecutor, and once more offered to discuss the matter with the Eritrean ambassador in Brussels.

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27 COMMENTS
  • amanuel December 23, 2017

    Do not even call these bunch of thugs the govrnment of eritrea. These thugs do not even represent shaebia, but may make sense if we call them the government of shaebia since all of them come from shaebia. The best fit name however is the government of hgdf

  • Meretse December 23, 2017

    Selam Nkulu,
    Tesfamicael at the very end of your second part of your comments you said, ” I am going to continue the discussion hoping that I get mature opinions.
    Mature behavior. You have right?
    Tesfamicael let’s forget about the mature or amateur behaviour for a while. Before u get any herbal or non herbal remedies you ought to follow some steps. Since u said, i am not going anywhere until I get a prescription i for one would like to offer u one. The first question for u is– are you ready to be diagnosed?
    If you are ready to quit your fickle games assenna might a spot for u, otherwise. u better stay where u are, continue whatever u doing, die many times before your final death. That is true nature cowads anyway.
    For now, untill i see u again chew the following gum– “cowards die many times before their deaths ; while the valiant never taste death but once”
    …will tell the source only if u ask for more.

  • TESFALDETABRAHA December 24, 2017

    THIS IS GOOD NEWS WHO NEED THEM DONT THEY SEE ATHER CAUNTRYS ARE RUNNING TO ERITREA INCULDING THE USA SO IT IS NOT BIG DEALE IPAY NY 2% ANY TIME NO BODY STOP ME

    • amanuel December 26, 2017

      Got good news for ya tesfit who can not spel simple word like deal.

      Government shaebia closed 350 hotels and kiosks. That is a mega project in 27 years.

      Ethiopia started another mega project to build two big geothermal plants that will produce 2000 mw electicity.

      Isis is destroying alsisi in egypt. Check out how they are overuning military camps all over egypt.

      Fosia hashim and kahsay are sick- they are your masters- pray for them so that you will have an owner to continue to enslave u.

      • amanuel December 26, 2017

        Ps
        Do not stop paying 2% from your zero income and food stamp. Glad that it is now 200 dollar a year for food stamp collectors like you. Pay it, do not cry- you do not sweat for it (it is given to you by generous (or foolish) americans after all and pray that it is not stoped by smart trump.

        • amanuel December 27, 2017

          Ps
          More good news tesfit

          Ethiopia is officially able to produce and sell mig fighter jets and helicopters to other african and asian countries. Check out videos of african countries chief of stuffs and leaders visifing the plant and signing order deals with ethiopia.

  • Meretse December 24, 2017

    Good day,
    Tesfaldet Abrah,
    Your participation is highly appreciated. Many of us are here and there to exchange ideas, expriences, morals, …
    Sometimes our opinion might sound mean either to the writers or commentators. But that is essence of discussion or dialogue at times.
    For example, at one point if u do not like my idea or what I said, that should not be the end of it. I hope what u understand what I mean by now. Before i jump to my second message, would u be able to extend your idea so we could understand it better. Right now i think it is in the middle of the mist and thank u.

    Also ome might wonder why did he focus on Tesfamicael’s comments so much. My simple answer for that is -Tesfamicael’s comments are represented by many alikes who simply lacks the courage to come out of the woods. By the way, Tesfamicael, i would like to tell u how i appreciate your $.001.00 ( 1 cent ) courage. At least, in day light u came to confess your sins. By now i have u have some charisma to lash out your wicked spirits.

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