Eritrea pledges not to harm citizens who fled conscription if they return

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle January 9, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) - Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki has said that he will guarantee the safety of tens of thousands of young people who fled the country to avoid forced conscription

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

January 9, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) – Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki has said that he will guarantee the safety of tens of thousands of young people who fled the country to avoid forced conscription in the military, should they chose to return to the East African nation.

In an interview with state TV, the President said any citizen willing to return home is highly welcomed. He further assured that no Eritrean upon return home will be subjected to any harm.

Political repression and military conscription have pushed thousands of young Eritreans to flee their country. Eritrean national service is mandatory for all citizens both male and female aged between 18 and 48 years.

Every month thousands of young Eritreans risk their lives attempting to sneak across the country’s heavily militarised border into neighboring Ethiopia and Sudan. With many more arriving on daily basis, currently Ethiopia hosts over 60,000 Eritreans in four camps.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimated in 2011 that there are over 100,000 Eritrean refugees in Sudan, with around 1,600 crossing the border every month.

Eritrean conscripts are mainly forced to man the countries long border with Ethiopia. The two nations have never fully resolved a border dispute that erupted into conflict in 1998 killing 80,000. The border has remained tense ever since with Ethiopia refusing to accept an international ruling on border dispute.

Eritrea became independent from Ethiopia in 1993 after decades of civil war. Both nations now accuse the other of backing rebels in each others territory.

In the past, the Eritrean President has dismissed concerns that his country is seeing large number of youth fleeing the country, labeling them as “a bunch of traitors”.

Reliable sources indicate that a large number of Eritreans currently face detention incommunicado without charge or trial for evading military conscription, in suspicion of opposition to government or for attempting to escape the country or upon return from exile.

According to UN the reclusive nation has one of the worst human rights records in the world.

Human rights groups accuse the government in Asmara of turning the country into a “giant prison’’. Eritrea is also continent’s foremost jailer of journalists.

In the latest interview President Isaias, who is the first and only head of state Eritrea has had since independence in 1993, rejected calls to conduct national elections.

He stressed his country won’t hold elections just to please the West, indicating that there were no plans to hold national elections under his rule.

The former Ethiopian province not had any electoral democracy since it gained independence from Ethiopia. The Peoples Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), which led the revolution has since become the only legal political party.

The Eritrean government uses harsh measures against dissident and uses arrests and threats as a weapon to retain control over the public. The country’s only higher institution, Asmara University, was shut down in 2006 and replaced by military-run colleges.

(ST)

aseye.asena@gmail.com

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29 COMMENTS
  • SINGAPO - ERITREAN January 10, 2012

    ናይ ሸፋቱ ማሕበር፣ ደም ሰብ ዝድራራ
    ፖለቲካኣ ረሳሕ ናይ ዓዋሉ ሽጣራ
    ኣዝማደይ ወዲኣቶም በብታራ
    78 ምሽ ሱዳን ክትኣቱ ቀሪባ ኔራ
    ከይትተርፍ በቲ ዝዘርጠጠቶ በሪራ
    ሳላ ወያነ እንደሞ ተሰቲራ፣
    91 ቆርበት በጊዕ ወድያ ክሳዕ ኣጽፋራ
    ኣስመራ ከተፍ በለት ምዳዳ ኣመንዝራ
    ከም ብዓልቲ ሓይሊ ጎረባብቲ ፋሓጪራ
    98 እንዶ እሞ ዓቢ ጌጋ ጌራ
    ገፋሕፋሕ ክትብል በቲ ጨጋዕ ኣእጋራ
    ካብ ኣፍ ኣናብስ ዓጽሚ ክትምንዝዕ ሞኪራ
    ዓድዋ፣ ዓዲግራት ዝተሰርሐ ዱላ ምስ ተርተራ
    “መኻልፍ” እዩ በለት ንህዝብና ኣሕፊራ
    “ብዘይሓልፍ” ተማሂረ በለት ዊስኪ ምስ ኣዓመራ
    ደቂ ዓደይ፣ ሃገር ጸውዑ እንተበልኩዎም ሰምዮምለይ “ኤርትራ”
    ኣይሰምዑን ግዲ ኾይኖም ሽማ ምቕያራ
    ብሰብ ከይርድኡ፣ ንገርዎም ሓደራ
    “ዘርኢ መርገም፣ ዓውዲ ሬሳ” እያ ተባሂላ ።

    • alex January 12, 2012

      Singapo-erotrean
      Stop prostituting with my Eritrea, I’m not stupid to play me, watch who you dealing with, you jerk. Try to understand the 1978, 1991, 1998, unfortunate obstacles of ours struggle to survive before judging and make comments. You are ZER’I MERGEM
      not we real Eritreans, you bustard.

  • weredemihret January 10, 2012

    abdi,

    Agame are two: one asmarino agame, the other the mekele agame. The former is wrecking havoc in eritrea to make sure Eritreans migrate from their beloved country. The other agame ostensibly is creating a conducive atmosphere in Ethiopia for Eritrean victims of the asmarino agame to immigrate.
    You see abdi: you are either a fool wedebat ertirawi who joined in the conspiracy to weaken the eritrean people. Or you are one of the two agames who is committed to materialize the sick agenda of the agames against eritreans.

    • Cambo January 11, 2012

      Why are you idiots repeating the word “Agame” here and there? An Agame is a district name in Tigrai, inhabited by Tigrinia speaking people, nothing more and nothing less. If you think, you are “insulting”, then you are insulting yourselves. They are Tigrinia/Tigraian just like you.
      It is just like senhit, Hamasien or Seraye districts. The more you guys repeat “Agame” this or that, the more you expose your ignorance. You must be the most immature in the region.
      When are you going to learn? What makes you better than another ethnic Tigrinia or Tigraian? If this is an insult, then you are insulting yourselves.

  • Abnet Tesfai January 11, 2012

    AMONG ALL THE TRICKY WOLDS AND DELUSIONS….. ONLY FACT MATTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Fish January 11, 2012

    O Mr DIA, if you have a human heart why don’t you release the innocent Eritreans suffering in the Eritrean prisons? How about the G15, who were your comrades in the Eritrean struggle?
    Don’t you be ashamed to say you are giving Amnesty to those Eritreans, who only fled from your administration and considered them as criminals ? We Eritreans are fooled by you for a long time, but not any more. Believe me your administration is over !

    • keren1 January 11, 2012

      @ fish, I agree 100% with u. Amnesty must start with de thausands of innocent eri. Linguishing in prisons all over de country for no aparent crime lodged against them. Only then , we can give some consideration to this intreview of pia.

  • Zeray January 11, 2012

    The reporter from Ethiopia, Mr Tesfa-Alem is right on. His report mirrors reality in Eritrea and what our people are going through.

    As to the kindhearted call by Issayas to bring back the youth, shame on him. Why did he create an environment of suffering in the first place? If he is truthful (which I highly doubt), he should fix things inside the country first before he invites people to misery. The fact is people who just got returned from the Sinai by force to Eritrea are in prison suffering right now. How come?

    The cure to Eritreans plight is not by nibbling the problems. The PFDJ system (a liability) should be replaced with a complete democratic process and insure human rights for all.

  • Popular Front for Dictatorship and Jailing(PFDJ) January 12, 2012

    Abdi!
    you talk here and there about Agame… agame..
    just know your region.. agame is one district from Tigrai.
    so when you use the world 1000 times.. it doesnot give any meaning..
    my second advice it: why you always talk about Ethiopia? no matter the title or the topic of the discussion you talk about Ethiopian.
    don you have mind to see the reality in our country? where are the youth flee?
    Isayas is not an angle , he cannot lead our people and our country.. so must be down…
    last dont fool yourself by saying that “Isayas is hated ONLY by Ethiopian”
    must down the dictator tyrant regime Isayas

  • GOOD MAN January 16, 2012

    THE QUESTION IS NOT WHAT ISEAYAS WILL DO NOW THE POWER IS WITH THE PEOPLE, HE NEED TO ASK AMNESTY FOR HIMSELF BECAUSE THE TIME HAS COME, IF HE HAS SOME DIGNITY LEFT ON HIM HE NEED TO GIVE UP THE POWER BEFORE IT IS TO LATE. THE YOUTH NEED NO MERCY FROM HIM , THEY WILL BE ABLE TO GET THEIR FREEDOM IT IS ON THEIR OWN HAND AND THE MOVEMENT IS NOT ONLY BEGUN BUT IT IS ALL OVER AND VERY SOON THE FOOLS GOING TO HEAR THE SOUND OF FREEDOM AND THEN WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO Mr AFE WERKEE. THE ONLY AMNESTY IS AFEWERKEE TO GO TO HELL.

  • Yonathan Sebhatu January 22, 2012

    ንሕናስ ንነብስና ምሒርናያ አለና ሞ እዝ ሓሳዊ መሓሪ “እንተ” ኾይኑ ነቶም አብ ውሽጥ ሃገርና አሲርዎም ዘሎ ይምሓሮም!!!

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