(translated from Dutch, please find the original here)
In 2015, Dutch Professor Mirjam van Reisen (Tilburg University, Leiden University) was interviewed by Dutch radio station BNR nieuwsradio about the news that people with ties to the Eritrean regime were employed as interpreters at the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). In response to her statements in this interview, the (by now former) chair of the YPFDJ in the Netherlands, the youth department of the Eritrean regime in the Netherlands, started a court case (interim injunction proceedings) against Van Reisen. She won the proceedings, after which an appeal was started. The court has decided this week to dismiss the case and has ruled that the judge of the interim injuction proceedings had correctly dismissed all claims against Van Reisen.
The court case was about the following. Van Reisen commented in the interview about two interpreters, brother and sister, of the then-chair of the YPFDJ Netherlands, Mr. Bahlbi: “they are people that have been in the Netherlands for a long time, of whom the brother of the two concerned is the center of the Eritrean intelligence of which the heart is in the Netherlands, and that is known information and a fact.”
The Court investigated whether there was enough factual support for this statement and judges that this is the case:
“The Court is of the opinion that the assertations of Van Reisen are support to such an extent that the facts presented contain the necessary indications that the YPFDJ functions in part as a component in the intelligence network of the government of Eritrea (…)
Bahlbi [has been] chair of the YPFDJ Netherlands for several years and still [was] at the time of the interview. As chair, he can be considered as the center of the YPFDJ in the Netherlands in any case, while furthermore, concrete indications exist that this organisation plays a role in the intelligence network of Eritrea. Bahlbi has therefore made himself vulnerable to accusations of involvement with the intelligence network, by becoming chair of the YPFDJ Netherlands and by his presence at yearly conferences and other meetings of that YPFDJ, whereby in addition it can be assumed that he was in touch with representatives of the government of Eritrea.”
Besides this, the Court also takes into account that the statements of Van Reisen came as a response to an article on Oneworld.nl about the interpreters. The Court is of the opinion that in this article, an “important wrongdoing that affects the society is covered” and because of this, Van Reisen has the right to “a large freedom to express herself about this in the interview in response to the article.”
Another complaint was issued with regard to a lack of right of defence (audi alteram partem). On this subject, the Court rules that Van Reisen “cannot be blamed for violating the principle of right of defence because it was BNR Nieuwsradio that chose to not let Bahlbi speak as well.”
Van Reisen was supported in the appeal by lawyers Christien Wildeman and Emiel Jurjens.
To insult any religions or any rights in Eritrea it means humiliating to all Eritrean people, therefore the Eritreans today is at a critical stage and they must define their options to stay unite or split because we believe Eritrea is for all Eritreans. At the same time, the dictator and his puppets are now trying for sedition between Eritreans. perhaps The tyrant thinks that we are afraid or confused, but we are not at all, that is why we are here today ready together to confront the dictator and his losers agents. We must stand together unite forever and that is our fate for our future if we wish to peaceful Eritrea. Our benefit is our unity, religion is the individual and the homeland is for everyone.
We – Americans of Eritrean descent – are calling for the U.S. government to save 700 of our fellow Eritreans who are here in America from imminent torture or death at the hands of the brutal, dictatorial regime that rules Eritrea.
On September 13, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a directive to expedite the deportation of approximately 700 Eritreans from the U.S. Those 700 – mostly law-abiding residents – appear to be at immediate risk of being sent home to Eritrea, where we believe they would face torture, long term imprisonment, or murder by the regime.
Eritrea: The Police State
Eritrea is a small country in the Horn of Africa. It is a police state, and it is widely referred to as “the North Korea of Africa.” Its government’s merciless brutality toward its citizens has been documented and denounced by the U.S. State Department, the United Nations, and many major human rights organizations. Citizens live in constant fear of surveillance, arbitrary arrest, torture, malnutrition, detention within a gulag of underground prisons, and indefinite military service under slave-like conditions. Citizens who are deported from other countries are at particular peril. We wish to voice our fears on behalf of the 700 in the U.S., and to implore the U.S. government to halt any deportations until Eritrea becomes safe for the individuals to return.
The 700 here are under final removal orders issued by American immigration courts. To our knowledge, few are under those orders for having committed crimes here. Rather, many or most had applied in good faith for asylum in the U.S., but they had simply lost their asylum claims. Often they lost their cases because they lacked legal counsel, because the immigration judges did not understand the dire state of human rights in Eritrea, or both.
In recent years, few Eritreans have been deported from the U.S. The reason appears to have been that the Eritrean government had refused to cooperate with the deportations – specifically, had refused to issue travel documents to the individuals under final removal orders. In the September 13 directive, DHS sought to remedy that situation by causing the State Department to issue a broad ban on in-bound visas from Eritrea to the U.S., as a means of pressuring the Eritrean regime to issue the travel documents for out-bound deportees.
Eleven additional countries have also refused to issue travel papers for U.S. deportees. But DHS chose to place visa restrictions on only four of them, including Eritrea, and to press for Eritrean deportations, apparently without considering the horrors that would likely befall those deported to Eritrea. We do not object to the ban on in-bound visas. But we fervently, and with broken hearts, object to Eritreans being deported to an excruciating fate.
We urge members of Congress to use all influence they may have to cause DHS and ICE to halt the deportation of Eritreans until that country is safe – especially Eritreans whose only shortcoming here is that their asylum claims were denied
PLEASE HELP SAVE THE ERITREAN 700!
- DHS’s recent directive.
- DHS’s September 13, 2017 directive appears here: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/09/13/dhs-announces-implementation-visa-sanctions-four-countries .
- A summary of the directive by The New York Times appears here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/13/us/politics/visa-sanctions-criminal-convicts.html?_r=0 .
- An earlier warning by The Washington Post as to the consequences of potential Eritrean deportations appears here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/08/24/the-us-wants-to-deport-more-eritreans-heres-what-would-happen-to-them-if-they-were-forced-to-return/?utm_term=.11f2fc374e40 .
- Eritrean human rights, refugees and asylum claims, generally.
- The America Team for Displaced Eritreans. http://eritreanrefugees.org/ .
- Asylum claims and deportation consequences. http://eritreanrefugees.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/ERITREAN-ASYLUM-CLAIMS-SUMMARY-BY-THE-AMERICA-TEAM-FOR-DISPLACED-ERITREANS.pdf .
- Deportation means likely torture or execution.
The following sources have reported that Eritreans who are deported to Eritrea – after having been denied asylum in another country, or under some other circumstances – are likely to be severely punished by the Eritrean government:
- Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada: https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/eoir/legacy/2014/10/01/ERI104941.E%20.pdf
- Amnesty International: http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/afr640012013.pdf , at pp. 30-31, 27
- Amnesty International: https://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/eritrea-deserters-report.pdf , at pp. 9, 54, 57
- UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea: https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G15/114/50/PDF/G1511450.pdf?OpenElement , at pp. 7, 21.
- UK Upper Tribunal: http://reliefweb.int/report/united-kingdom-great-britain-and-northern-ireland/eritreans-face-real-danger-return and http://www.refworld.org/publisher,GBR_UTIAC,,ERI,57fc91fc4,0.html
- Meron Estefanos, quoted in EU Observer: https://euobserver.com/migration/137489
- Gerry Simpson, writing for Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/05/30/sudan-hundreds-deported-likely-abuse
- Abraham Zere, writing for Carnegie Council: https://www.carnegiecouncil.org/publications/articles_papers_reports/987
During the last few months, Italy, backed by other European countries, has promoted a shift on migration policy by spearheading a tough approach aimed at blocking the flow of migrants coming from Libya. What is most worrisome about this approach, which is said to have the aim of curbing human trafficking, is the fact that Italy has struck deals with armed groups in a country with widespread conflict.
The movement of migrants and refugees from Africa to Europe has been a growing concern over the last twenty years for the European Union and its member states. Refugees are in need of protection because they are fleeing persecution, modern-day slavery, terrorism and conflict. Initially most of those forced out of their countries do not initially move to Europe: in 2016, just five African countries, among the world’s poorest nations, hosted more than the whole of Europe combined (2.5 million vs 2.3 million). When African refugees attempt to reach Europe, they use one of three routes: through Turkey into Greece and the Balkans, crossing the Mediterranean to Italy or Malta, and cross the Atlantic from West and North Africa to Spain and its territories.
In attempting to curb migration, the EU has been making deals with Turkey to shut down the flow of refugees and migrants through Turkey. Whilst there have been concerns about the way Europe is handling the migration route in the east, the situation in Libya is very different because Italy and the Libyan authorities have agreed to block the movement of refugees into Europe via the central Mediterranean route regardless of their protection needs. After the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, many Africans, and particularly darker-skinned Africans, found their situation to be more precarious as fighting led many Africans to be internally displaced and subject to abuse and arbitrary imprisonment. The people who own and run the “detention” camps, where thousands of Africans who have committed no crime now dwell, are involved in human trafficking and organised crime.
Refugees who have arrived in Europe have described how they have been raped, tortured and beaten (often to extreme sadistic levels) in the “detention” camps. In such camps refugees/migrants are ransomed, sold, pimped or otherwise abused. There are many women who reach Europe and now have to raise children born out of unwanted pregnancies due to being raped in Libyan detention centres. Underage boys and girls who reach Europe talk about a ‘kabo’, a person often of their same origins as themselves who acts as an intermediary between their enslavers and them. It is not unlike concentration camps in Europe during the Second World War, a war which displaced so many that the resultant refugee and human rights crisis prompted European governments to bring into being the Geneva Convention of 1951.
Everyone concerned appreciates that governments have the responsibility to protect their citizens, a rhetoric that is now used in Europe to push for regressive migration policies. Yet after World War II, Europe declared “never again” and promoted a universal approach towards protecting human rights. Thus, every government has responsibility under the Geneva Convention to respect human rights and offer asylum if we are to ensure that the atrocities that led to the Convention never happen again. The world should not stand by and watch as human beings – in this case Africans – are removed and taken to unnamed places and sent to destinations where their fate is in the hands of groups who do not subscribe to the belief that all human beings should be treated humanely.
In the current climate of conflict in Libya, migrants who arrive there from more distant countries like Eritrea almost invariably do so solely to continue their journey through the country, not because they see Libya as their final destination. It is not surprising to see why. Eritrean refugees who contact Human Rights Concern Eritrea have recounted their experiences and their suffering while Gaddafi was in power. Things have only deteriorated since. When Silvio Berlusconi’s government was trying to block refugees from entering Italy, it made deals with Gaddafi promising him support and finances in exchange for stopping refugees and migrants from leaving Libya. Both heads of state made appearances in which they spoke positively about the merits of the deals made but in negative terms about the human beings they wanted to keep in desert detention. Gaddafi’s comment that Africans ‘live in jungles and deserts’ did not go unnoticed by the press. In fact, the press, international humanitarian organisations and NGOs continue to criticise the deals made between Italy, the EU and Libya.
However, concerns about the safety and well-being of migrants and refugees are disregarded by Italian, Libyan and European officials. In Libya, African refugees are being enslaved, tortured and traded as commodities in the detention centres run by criminal organisations which present themselves to the world as patriotic militia. The militia which are more successful in this game patrol the seas wearing the uniforms of the coast guard. The Libyan authorities have been accused of working with militia, and there doesn’t seem to be a clear division between these vigilante groups and the administrations with whom Europe is cooperating. Nevertheless, Italy and the EU seem so keen on this new approach that they are willing to honour the old deals made with the Gaddafi regime: equipment promised to him is now being donated to the current Libyan authorities so that they will intercept and prevent refugees from crossing the Mediterranean.
These deals are clothed in the rhetoric of “helping refugees avoid their perilous journeys” by eliminating the root causes that force them to migrate in the first place. Such plans are therefore greater than just the financing of modern-day slave trade in Libya, because deals are also being made with the ‘source countries’ from which refugees flee. It is problematic, however, that funds from the European Union, approved during the Valletta Summit in 2015, are going to regimes like the Libya, Sudan and Eritrea.
For example, the European Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has pledged 40 million Euros to Kenya and Eritrea to train ‘investigators and judicial officers’. But what does this mean in a country like Eritrea? The pervasive espionage network and the special courts which operate there are the sharpest and most deadly weapons in the Eritrean government’s arsenal. What does it mean to aid a government which the EU recently condemned for its human rights abuses?
The deals between European countries and Libya, made on the back of the Khartoum process and the Valletta Accords are likely to harm rather than help refugees and migrants. Recently, Sudan has jailed and deported over 200 Eritrean refugees into Eritrea, where they will suffer cruel abuse and retribution. Sudan continues rounding up and deporting Eritreans to face torture and possible execution. Deals with Libyan coastguards may only equip militia to detain refugees more effectively and may empower armed Libyans to further engage in human trafficking as is being reported by refugees and others.
European countries and the EU should immediately stop funding the ongoing arbitrary and indefinite detention of helpless refugees, and should instead condemn rather than empower the root causes which force many people to leave their homes.
What is happening now is not a solution to the problem of migration; rather it makes it worse. EU policies will not stop the flow of migration because they do not address the conditions which create refugees in Africa. If Europe cooperates with governments which do not respect human rights or recognise the rule of law, then Europe is complicit in human rights violations. Making deals with tyrants cannot be acceptable and human rights should not be brought on the negotiating table
Over 100 Eritreans deported by Sudan, others jailed: U.N. deeply concerned
The United Nations refugee outfit (UNHCR) has expressed deep worry over recent deportations by Sudan of Eritrean nationals – who are either in its territory or on transit to Libya.
Media reports indicate that over 100 Eritreans have been deported in the last few weeks – some after serving jail terms and others immediately after court rulings.
The UNHCR’s point of concern according to a statement issued by a top official in Sudan was that the rights of these refugees were being violated under international laws.
The forcible return of refugees to their country of origin is a serious violation of international refugee law.
“They were deported on charges of illegal entry into Sudan, which is not supported under international refugee law… [These charges] are waived in the case of refugees,” deputy representative for Sudan Elizabeth Tan said.
The offence for which a number of them were jailed was for ‘illegally infiltrating Sudanese territory.’ The website of privately owned channel, Radio Dabanga said a total of 104 Eritreans were affected by the deportations of which there were 30 children involved.
Source: – Africa News
The Fascist government of Italy repeating again the hefty and ugly treatments on the refugees’ citizens of Eritrea and Ethiopia like their father Mussolini did in the past. More than 1,000 refugees become homeless I would like to say the D. N.A. of their father Mussolini is still running inside their blood. such activity is the activities of the Mafia because the Italian government destroyed the Mafia outside the government and built it again inside the government, this is the Italia of today. for this reason, many refugees even Italian citizens become victims.
that is why the powerful ugly racists are still attacking the hopeless and powerless refugees. where are human rights defenders? if such a thing if happened in the third world we will see many blame and accusation from the first world.. do you know who are they the human rights defenders in EU? they are vomit and they are slaves to who pay them, remember, not all of them but most of them.
when the Mafia need to withdraw some money from the EU, the Mafia start the attack at the powerless refugees and the homeless refugees, then the powerless refugees start to escape from the hell Italy to the third countries inside EU, therefore those who have fear of the wave of refugees i mean the member states of the European union pay the Mafia immediately to stop the wave of the refugees but this type of justice is injustice and unfair .