FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Eritreans in London call for an end to the brutal & illegal incarceration of prisoners of conscience.

20th September 2016   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   Eritreans in London call for an end to the brutal & illegal incarceration of prisoners of conscience. This week marks the 15year anniversary of the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki’s brutal crackdown on

20th September 2016

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Eritreans in London call for an end to the brutal & illegal incarceration of prisoners of conscience.

This week marks the 15year anniversary of the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki’s brutal crackdown on his critics a group of dissidents, made up of top government officials and prominent journalists. On the 18 th , 19 th and 21 st of September 2001, Eritrea’s former liberation movement leaders, ‘G15’, and 11 editors and journalists, disappeared along with their demands of a constitutional democracy, rule of law and a free press. These political prisoners remain incarcerated and incommunicado, some have since died due to harsh conditions and a lack of medical attention.

On Friday 23 rd September 2016 at 3:00 PM, concerned Eritreans, justice seekers and family members of those imprisoned, will take part in a silent protest at King’s Cross to raise awareness about these journalists and politicians. They will demand an end to the 15year imprisonment of these political prisoners and campaign for the release of all Eritrean prisoners of conscience. They will be standing as a group, with their mouths taped and holding up the names of the people who have been imprisoned. Similar silent protests are being held at several locations around the world.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea published a damning report in June 2016 confirming that the government carries out systematic and gross human rights abuses. Protesters will demand an end to the torture that Eritrean citizens are forced to endure in various prisons across the country. In 2013, there were reportedly 10,000 political prisoners and over 360 secret prisons in the country. The lives of these prisoners and their families is a far cry from the UK mainstream media’s recent sympathetic reportage on the Eritrean government. These irresponsible reports attempt to normalise dictatorship and the lack of free speech in the country, denying the basic human rights of the prisoners of conscience which will be defended in the scheduled protest on the 23 rd September 2016.

Asmara’s architecture, coffee culture and the existence of prisons is not a paradox. As the EU assigns 200 million euros to the Eritrean government to promote poverty reduction and socioeconomic development, the exodus of Eritreans has not decreased and approximately 5,000 leave the country every month. There is also no evidence that the Eritrean government will introduce policies to address its human rights abuses, mass incarceration and forced migration.

Eritrea’s fleeing youth are the constant and mounting evidence of dictatorship and systematic abuse. Eritrea’s future teachers, doctors, lawyers, artists, nation builders and productive force choose to make the infamous crossing of the Mediterranean, risking their lives. The country’s mass incarceration of its citizens has dire consequences on the social fabric, economic productivity and political stability. Protesters demand that all prisoners are released immediately and for the western media to pay attention to their plight and that of their families.

aseye.asena@gmail.com

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