PRESS RELEASE: “NOVEMBER 3RD DECLARED DAY OF MOURNING FOR VICTIMS OF LAMPEDUSA TRAGEDY BY AFRICAN HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
PRESS RELEASE “NOVEMBER 3RD DECLARED DAY OF MOURNING FOR VICTIMS OF LAMPEDUSA TRAGEDY BY AFRICAN HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT PRESS RELEASE NO 184/2013” The Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change (EN4CDC) welcomes the important symbolic act of
“NOVEMBER 3RD DECLARED DAY OF MOURNING FOR VICTIMS OF LAMPEDUSA TRAGEDY BY AFRICAN HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
PRESS RELEASE NO 184/2013”
The Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change (EN4CDC) welcomes the important symbolic act of the African Union in designating 3 November as a Continental Day of Mourning for the would-be migrants who lost their lives on 3 October off the island of Lampedusa. We are grateful to the African Heads of State for their recognition of this latest tragedy, and their expressed desire to find lasting solutions to the problems that this and other such events demonstrate.
As Eritreans and therefore Africans, we have a dual concern for this issue. As is now known, more than three quarters of those who died on 3 October had fled Eritrea in search of a safer and more secure life in Europe. The appalling human rights situation in our country is the main reason why so many of its young people take the terrible risks involved in escaping. We recognize, however, that the problem is not limited to Eritrea, as the dreadful discovery of the bodies of women and children in Niger has shown. For these reasons, we offer our support to the African Union in its resolve; and at the same time we urge it to intensify its efforts to address the root causes.
1 We ask the African Union to increase pressure on Eritrea and other African states which ignore human rights, oppress their people and thus contribute to the flow of would-be migrants across and out of Africa.
2 We ask all African states through which migrants regularly pass to ensure their safety and security, to protect them from opportunist and racist attack, and to monitor and control their onward transport across borders and seas.
3 In particular, we urge the African Union to establish monitoring bodies in Libya and Sinai, to prevent the racial and sexual abuse, killings and in Sinai organ harvesting which have become commonplace.
4 Since some migrants are leaving from countries within Africa where they have applied for asylum, we ask the African Union to investigate standards of care for refugees and asylum seekers, both in refugee camps and within wider communities.
5 We urge the African Union to make itself heard as the voice of African in the European Union, the United Nations and other trans-national bodies, so that the concerns of African people and their Diaspora communities are stated in compelling terms and taken into account in all decisions affecting the continent.
6 We recognize that it is incumbent on us as Africans in exile to work together and in partnership with the African Union and other bodies, to campaign for human rights and free speech for all Africans, whether they are in their home country, in other African countries or in exile.
Note to editors:
The Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change is an international umbrella organization for the Eritrean Diaspora, representing Eritrean political and civic organizations and individuals. It campaigns for human rights, free speech and democracy, both within Eritrea and in countries of exile.
Tzeggai Yohannes Deres
Chairman, Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change