September 21, 2011 – Eritrean Youth Solidarity for Change (EYSC), a world-wide network of pro-democracy Eritreans, today announced that it will join several advocacy groups to denounce Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki during his New York visit to attend the United Nations General Assembly. Plans are underway for protest demonstrations to be held at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on Monday September 26, 2011 starting at 10:00 AM.
Known for his brutality and his totalitarian system that has rendered the young nation of Eritrea into Africa’s North Korea, Afwerki is also known for causing instability and havoc in the Horn of Africa by supporting Al-Qaeda linked extremists in the region. After repeated warning, the United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution in December 2009 (Resolution 1907) to sanction the regime, which for all intents and purposes remains the same to this day.
In April 2010, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13536, in which Eritrea’s top presidential advisor Yemane Ghebreab was among those who were sanctioned for financing terrorism. Yemane Ghebreab is also the founder of YPFDJ, a radical group which espouses anti-democracy and anti-American sentiments in Europe and the United States.
In Eritrea, Afwerki rules without constitution, parliament and rule of law. The private press has been banned since 2001; and tens of thousands of citizens remain in secret prisons under extremely harsh conditions for simply exercising their right to speak or worship. Hundreds of thousands of the country’s youth have also fled the country to escape extended period of forced labor without pay.
EYSC and their fellow Eritrean-Americans find it particularly disturbing that the dictator is planning to hold a meeting for his radicalized disciples in New York City on Sunday, September 25th. Given his heinous track record and his absolute stance against freedom of expression, lack of respect for human rights and his overt support of terrorist elements, we believe Isaias Afwerki’s presence in this great city is unwelcome. As we somberly remember the victims of September 11 or 9/11, it is particularly offensive for New York to play host to a despot who trounces liberty and freedom. New Yorkers should treat this tyrant exactly as they treated Ahmadinejad of Iran and Gadhafi of Libya with whom Isaias Afwerki is a close friend.
To add insult to an injury, Isaias Afwerki has also asked to meet with President Obama. EYSC believes that the United States should continue to isolate this brutal dictator and should not reward his despicable behavior, which is duly documented by the US State Department, the UN Monitoring Group and Human Rights Watch.
Eritrean Youth Solidarity for Change (EYSC)