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The State Of Human Rights In Eritrea - 2008


 
 
Report 

THE STATE OF HUMAN RIGHTS in Eritrea 

2008

 

Eritrea: Basic Facts

Official Name: The State of Eritrea.

Date of Independence: The Ethiopian occupation army was pushed out of the country in May 1991 after 30 years of armed struggle, but Eritrea officially gained its independence from Ethiopia on 24th of May 1993 after a referendum held under the auspices of the United Nations.

Geographical Location: East of Africa, on the western coast of the Red Sea; borders with Ethiopia on the south; with the Sudan on the north and west and Djibouti on the south east. It has a coastline of more than 1000 kilometers. Total area: 121,300 square kilometers. Capital City: Asmara.

Population: It had a population of approximately 5 million in 2008 with an annual growth rate of 2.2%.

Economy: National currency: Nakfa. GDP: 1.2 billion in 2007 with growth rate of .8%, GDP per capita: 230 $ in 2007.

Political system: Although Eritrea's constitution which was ratified in 1997 institutes and permits the existence of pluralistic political system, the current system a one party regime under the absolute control of the PFDJ. The head of state is Isaias Afwerki, He has remained in office since independence. No national elections have been conducted in the country.

Human Rights Conventions that Eritrea is party to:

Eritrea is a state party to the following core Human Rights treaties:

Convention on the Rights of the Child( CRC), August 1994.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), September 1995.

International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR),April 2001.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), JULY 2001.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) June 2002.

Eritrea is not party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment nor is it a party to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Also it is not party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

List of Abbreviations:

AI Amnesty International
ARRA Administration of Refugees and Repatriation Authority
AU African Union
CEDAW Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women

COR Sudan Commission of Refugees
CR Care and Relief
CSW Christian Solidarity Worldwide
ELF Eritrean Liberation Front
EDA Eritrean Democratic Alliance
FGM Female Genital Mutilation
GDP General Domestic product
GER General Enrollment Rate
HIV/AID Human Immunodeficiency Virus/ Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome
HMW Hotline for Migrant Workers
HRW Human Rights Watch
ICDIP International Centre for the Development of Immigration Policies
ICR Italian Council of Refugees
IGAD Inter Governmental Authority on Development
IMC International Medical Corps
IOP International Organization for Peace
IPS International Press Services
IRC International Rescue Committee
NRDP National Relief and Development Program
NUEW National union of Eritrean women
NSP National Service Program
ODO Open Doors Organization
PFDJ Peoples Front for Democracy and Justice
RRF Refugees Rights Forum
RSF Reporters Sans Frontières
SC Security Council
SCHR Suwera Centre for Human Rights
UNHCR United Nations High Commission for Refugees
UNMEE United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea
UNHRC United Nations Human Rights Council
WFP World Food Program
WHO World Health Organization
ZOA Netherland's Refugee Care

The State of Human Rights in Eritrea, 2008

Introduction

This is the third report issued by the Suwera Centre for Human Rights (SCHR). The first report was published in 2005 reviewing developments in the implementation of human rights in Eritrea since its liberation. The second report, covering the situation of human rights in Eritrea during 2006, was issued in April 2007. The third report for the year 2007 could not appear in 2008 due to reasons beyond the capacity of the Centre to be resolved. Nevertheless, this report, which monitors the situation of human rights in the 2008, includes also the most important human rights developments and events of the year 2007.

As was the case with the previous issues, the SCHR again had to work from outside Eritrea as the government of the day in the country does not allow human rights organizations, whether national or international, to work from within the country. Due to changed circumstances which affected mobility and freedom of work, the Centre this time round faced more strenuous difficulties in collecting the materials and data of this report than in preparing the two previous issues. However, despite those circumstances, the team of field work had performed its assignments and duties with highly commendable seriousness and professionalism. At this juncture, we feel obliged to express our special thanks and appreciation to those who helped in overcoming those difficult circumstances. Special mention should be made of the friends of the Centre in Australia who took the initiative of extending their moral and material support alongside the friends in Sweden, and the Eritrean League for National Reconciliation which offered us a considerable financial support. Our deep thanks also go to Dr. Mohammed Khair Omar in Norway who provided diverse types of support to the Centre.

Because of working mainly from abroad, the report does not contain detailed events and developments pertaining to human rights though it highlights the most important events in the human rights context through interviews conducted by the Centre with some escapees from Eritrea, and by visits of our field teams to the refugee camps in Sudan and Ethiopia. In preparing this report, we also made use, of the reports issued by international organizations concerned with the social and economic situation in Eritrea. Among these world organizations are: the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, UN's World Food Programme, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the reports of the UN on human development and comments of various committees concerned with monitoring the application of the conventions on human rights. Also consulted were the reports of international organizations concerned with the defense of human rights, especially those regarding the situation of refugees in Egypt, Israel, Libya and Europe in addition to reports of specialized organizations which enjoy high credibility. Besides, some of the information and statistics in the report were taken from reports issued by the Eritrean government itself.

Eritrea is considered as one of the poorest states of the world. Its situation is worsened as shown by the international indicators for human development. In the 2006 report, Eritrea was the 164th state down the list of 179 states while it was 157th in 2005.([1][1])

Throughout the past years, Eritrea faced acute food shortage. Since interdependence, it has been producing only 25% of its food needs annually. In a survey conducted by the International Institute for Food Policy, Eritrea counted the 87th state out of 88 states whose people suffered from acute and chronic food problems.([2][2]) Due to this food shortage,75% of the country's population suffered from malnutrition.([3][3])

Eritrea's weak economy continued its decline. The country's worth from its exports of commodities and services dwindled from 29.6 million US dollars in 1997 to only 7 millions US dollars in 2007. The per capita income in the same year (1997) was only 230 US dollars i.e. less than one dollar per day. ([4][4])

The government's expenditures on health services, compared to the gross domestic product (GDP), decreased from 6.4% in 2003 to 4.5% in 2006.([5][5]) Eritrea occupied the 174th position out of 179 states in the total enrollment of students in elementary, secondary and university levels of education.([6][6]) In 2003, Eritrea occupied the first rank in the world as purchaser of weapons compared to its GDP.([7][7]) Likewise, Eritrea was only second to Israel in the world for having the largest number of persons in the army compared with its total population. ([8][8])

Despite the fact that Eritrea is party to many international conventions and agreements pertaining to human rights, government is are considered the worst violator of these rights in the world. Eritrea is party and signatory of the International Convention of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as of the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights. Nevertheless its government bans its citizens from forming trade unions and from securing fair wages. It also deprives them of their right of annual vacations, the right for promotion and their right of resigning office and looking for a better job.

The government does not give any priority vital development issues including those of social, health and education services. And because of its tyrannical and whimsical behavior in implementing the National Service Programmed (NSP), tens of thousands of youths fled the country to neighboring states and from there they ventured on dangerous and risky trips to other countries, and this led to the death of hundreds during the past years.

The increasing number of those fleeing the country as refugees entailed profound and dangerous social and economic effect on the lives of people inside Eritrea.

The Eritrean government is tightening its ban and restrictions on political freedom. It keeps denying its citizens from electing their government, monitoring its performance, holding it accountable to an elected legislative body and changing it through peaceful methods.

In addition, the Eritrean government does not respect its citizens' civil and fundamental rights as it arbitrarily arrests thousands of Eritreans. It practices torture in its prisons. It limits freedom of movement, and violates its citizens' private lives. The government restricts religious freedoms, and imposes tight restraints on citizens' religious practices and rites. It arrests thousands for the simple reason of practicing religion, and intervenes in the administration of the religious institutions. It restricts in absolute terms press freedom in the country. A report issued by the Reporters without Boarders(RSF) considered Eritrea as the worst state in the field of press freedom in the year 2007.([9][9])

Furthermore, Eritrea is the only state in Africa without private press.

On another level, despite Eritrea's ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the government to date hasn't taken the measures or enacted the pertinent laws necessitated by the convention.

Instead, the government committed violations against children such as recruiting them for military service despite their ineligibility to the NSP and banning their travel outside the country. The Committee on the Rights of the Child cited over 80 critical observations and remarks on the Eritrean government's report on implementation of the previously- mentioned Convention discussed in its New York meeting of 2nd June 2008.

The government is ignoring of the children's concerns and interests. In this respect, we find Eritrea listed in 52nd position out of 53 states in Africa with respect of children's care according to the report on children's welfare for the year 2008.([10][10])

Though Eritrea is party to the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) since 1995, discrimination and violence against women are still continuing. The rate of girls’ enrollment in different stages of education decreased as well as the rate of their attendance to schools especially in intermediate and secondary levels of school. The role of women in work is in retreat in addition to the health care given to them. However, violence against them has continued its upwards trend, especially violence that practiced or legalized by the government.

In conclusion, this SCHR report includes five sections and recommendations. The first section deals with the situation of fundamental freedoms and civil rights. This includes six themes as subdivisions, which are: freedoms of practicing political and trade union activities, religious freedoms, freedoms of speech, expression and the press, receiving a fair trial, right of privacy, freedom of travel and movement in addition to the issue of the violations in the implementation of the NSP. The second section deals with discrimination and violence against women. The third deals with arbitrary arrests and torture of opponents. The fourth deals with the situation of Eritrean refugees in different parts of the world. The fifth deals with monitoring the responses of the international community to violations of human rights in Eritrea. The report is concluded with recommendations to the different concerned circles and organizations as to the situation of human rights in Eritrea.

The objectives of the Centre in issuing annual reports are not only to monitor the violations committed by the Eritrean government and the evaluation and assessment of its compliance with national laws and international agreements, but also the formidable undertaking and task of formulating a viable work programme for confronting those violations and stopping them. The SCHR hopes that this present report would be a credible reference for human rights activists and to facilitate for them the follow up of the developments of the situation of human rights and help in forming a data base with this update information. Again, the Centre hopes that its report would contribute to clarifying and defining the size of the challenges posed by the human rights violations in Eritrea to the regional and international humanitarian conscience and accordingly help in contributing towards the creation of better conditions for the emergence of an international solidarity to confront them. The Centre also looks forward to the contribution of Eritrean activists and their organizations and other friends in the distribution and reprinting the report on a larger scale to produce the desired impact.

Finally, we say thank you to all friends who have made the publication of this report possible by providing the necessary financial support. Thanks are also extended to the friends who have corrected and revised the report's Arabic version, and to those friends who translated it to English and those who revised the English version of the SCHR report. To all these friends go our profound thanks and heartfelt gratitude for their generosity, patience, dedication and their noble humanitarian commitment.

Suwera Centre for Human Rights

July 2009

Section One

Civil and Political Rights

The Eritrean Government continued its violations of the civil and political rights of its citizens despite its nominal commitment as stated in its suspended Constitution of 1977 and also stipulated in the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights which the government acceded to on 22 June, 2002. The government pursued its repressive policies giving a deaf ear to the criticisms made against it during the past years by the national and international human rights organizations and also aired by some parties in the world community.

1/Freedoms of Practicing Political and Trade Unionist Activities:

The People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), the ruling party in the country, continued its monopoly of state power and political abuses during the year 2008. The government of the PFDJ didn’t allow the presence of formal opposition inside Eritrea. Accordingly, it arrested all those whom it suspected of having opposing stands. The Constitution which was ratified in 1997 has been shelved since its approval. No general elections have been conducted in the country since independence. The unelected head of state of Eritrea has been monopolizing all powers and authorities, i.e. he is the head of state, the head of the executive, the speaker of parliament and the head of the ruling party, PFDJ. All the military and security organs are under his direct control. The President didn’t declare his intention of stepping down from power at any time or organizing presidential elections for rival candidates to succeed him in office. The non-elected parliament didn’t meet since February 2002 when it was called by its speaker, President Isaias Afwerki, to meet for the condemnation of the group of reformists (G-15).

During 2008, the government didn’t allow the establishment of any independent trade unions or organizations of civil society. The ruling party proceeded in its monopoly of trade union activities including those of students in schools and higher education institutions. The ruling party deprived the civil service employees of their rights of having vacations and promotions. In addition, these employees were prohibited from resigning their jobs. And instead of applying work regulations for absentees, the PFDJ authorities put those who absented themselves from work for some reasons in prison and were exposed to physical and psychological torture.

Due to the banning of any opposition activity within the country, opposition to the government has been heightened from abroad, especially in neighboring countries, Europe, North America and Australia. Furthermore, opposition to the PFDJ regime restored its unity within the framework of EDA subsequent to its convening of a unification conference in May 2008 at Addis Ababa which reemphasized and underscored its demands of democracy and respect of human rights.

The Eritrean communities, the civil society organizations and the political opposition groups in Diaspora organized popular activities such as sit-ins, marches and gatherings for exposing the government’s non-abating violations of human rights in Eritrea. The popular opposition demanded and called for establishing a democratic system of governance in the country.

2/ Religious Freedoms:

The government recognizes only four religious groups in Eritrea: Islam, the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches. In this context, the government demanded from the rest of religious denominations in May 2002 to register at the Department of Religious Affairs in the Ministry of Local Government. However, despite the fact that many of these denominations submitted applications for registration at the said Department after meeting all the required conditions, none of them had been registered. Accordingly, these religious bodies which are not recognized by the government remained to be considered as illegal.

On the other hand, the Mufti who is the principal religious leader for Muslems, remained in his post endlessly. He had not been elected for the job by the Aukaf Council but appointed by the government because of his allegiance and loyalty to it and his obedience to its orders. The government prohibited any criticism to him from the followers of the Islamic faith. In this respect, many people have been arrested due to their differences with him over religious matters or over the way he is running the body of Islamic Aucaf affairs. Hundreds of Muslems who have been arrested at the beginning of the nineteen nineties of last century because of their alleged sympathy with the Jihad movement are still under detention. The cause of their accusation of alleged sympathy was the outward religious appearances of their long beards and of wearing jalabias (garments). Among these had been the teachers who used to teach at the religious institutes. All these have remained under arrest in secret detention camps, and until the end of 2008 it was not known whether they are still alive or dead.

Also tens of the followers of the sect of Ansar Al-Sunnat are still languishing in detention camps since 2004. The government, however, renewed its crack down on them and its campaign in August 2008 led to the arbitrary arrests of tens of the group’s members. The government continued the imposition of unjust restrictions on the Islamic religious education. It also prohibits work of Islamic charity organizations in the country. In addition, it is keeping the accounts, assets and funds of the Islamic Aucaf Affairs Council under the government's own tight control.

The restrictions imposed by the government on the Orthodox Church are still continuing. The Church’s Patriarch Antonios, the legitimate Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, is still under house arrest until end of 2008. He was ousted by the Church’s Synod (Council) under the directives of the government replacing him with another person. The government has not released from detention those priests who have been arrested because of their reformist ideas which they had aired in the previous years. Their illegal detention had been the root cause of the conflict and differences between the Patriarch and the Eritrean government.

Besides, the other two churches recognized by the government, i.e. Catholic Church and Lutheran Protestant Church, had been exposed to various restrictions and severe measures such as confiscations of their properties and persecution of their followers. As to the non-Christian sects that are not registered, the government continued arresting their followers at their homes under the accusation of practicing unauthorized religious rites or performing marriage ceremonies or conducting unsanctioned religious occasions.

Hundreds of the followers of these sects remained in prisons until the end of the year 2008. No one of them had been released from prison because they were told they could be released only after signing a written pledge or declaration of not practicing the religious rites of their sect or after forsaking their new sect and rejoining their former one or joined religion recognized by the government.

The government continued also its persecution of the followers of the Jehova Witnesses. It hasn’t up to the end of 2008 allowed them to restore and reclaim their identities and their houses which it confiscated because of their refusal to participate in the referendum of 1993. It also banned their recruitment for state jobs in addition to its depriving them of getting commercial licenses or receiving loans from the banks.

Three of the followers of this sect remained in prison for 13 years for refusing to attend the program of national military service for reasons pertinent to their religious creeds despite the fact that the decree of the national service programme determines and defines the maximum penalty for such cases to be two years imprisonment or the fine of 3000 Nakfa or both.

3/ Freedom of Expression and Press:

The government didn’t allow, as in previous years, the existence of free means of verbal or written expression. It maintained its absolute control of the radio service, T.V. and newspapers as well as on cultural activities like discussion forums, the theatre and other forms of expression. The government didn’t permit the publication of any books which were not compiled under its direct supervision or those which do not serve its policies. Also, it subjected the entry of foreign publications (books, magazines, newspapers etc.) under to strict control.

Likewise, the government did not allow resumption of work by independent newspapers nor did it give permits of new i ones. It did not release from detention any of the journalists who were arrested in its campaign against independent newspapers in September 2001 or those detained in the following years. This action contravened stipulations in the suspended Constitution and the Decree No. 90 of 1997 regarding the media.

Further, the government restricted the movement of foreign correspondents, and intervened in the performance of their journalistic work. It also imposed more monitoring and restrictions on the Internet and punished any one found listening to broadcasting services or satellite channels that usually express views opposed to the policies of the government. The government continued to maintain total control and strict guidance over the State information media: newspapers, radio, T.V. and the news agency. The people working in these media outfits are subjected to intensified monitoring in what they write or prepare for publication or transmission. Their mobility is also under control for fear of their escaping outside the country as did tens of their colleagues since 2001..

The government demanded from all those working in its mass media, including drivers and the like, to have a sponsor. Alana Antonio, who was head of the Eritrean Ministry of Information’s branch in the South Red Sea region before his escape to the Sudan in April 2008 after harassments and many threats to his life, told the press in the Sudan that the reports which were prepared by the correspondents of the broadcasting service, T.V. and the news agency were subjected to censorship by the Minister of Information himself prior to their release to the public. He mentioned that he had been reprimanded and warned because he prepared a report about famine in Tio in the Dankalia region. In this incident, he was told by the governor of the South Red Sea region that he was supposed to prepare an internal report about the matter and not a news report that would be released to the public.([11][11])

On the other hand, many Eritrean journalists had been arrested during the years 2007 and 2008 for varying periods because of suspicions that they were planning to escape or for keeping contacts with their colleagues who escaped from the country.

Although there are no exact statistics as to the number of the journalists arrested in Eritrea, but their number is not less than 18 among them 8 journalists who had been detained since 2001. Some unconfirmed reports said that during the years 2007 and 2008, that there were many deaths among the detained journalists. The latest reported death in January 2008 was that of Fissehay Yohaness known by the nickname “Joshu”.([12][12])

Journalist Paulos Kidane died while attempting to escape to Sudan on 10 July 2007. He was suffering from epilepsy. Before his death he walked long distance under conditions of extremely severe hot weather. His colleagues had to leave him under the care of some villagers in a hamlet near the Sudanese border because he could no longer continue the journey on foot to enter Sudanese territory. He died in that village and was buried there. The authorities notified his family of his death some days later.

4/ The Right to a Fair and Just Trial:

The judiciary in Eritrea is not independent, and it has remained to be so during the year 2008. The government continued its gross interventions in the work of the judiciary. Needless to say, persons brought to trial before ad hoc special tribunals and military tribunals during the years 2007 and 2008 did not enjoy just trials. Many people were informed of the verdict while in their prison cells - without ever standing in front of the courts which tried them and passed the sentence SCHR was told by an investigator who worked at the detention camps that some of the army officers used to pass judgments arbitrarily against some of the accused without the latter appearing before them. He said he even observed some officers passing judgments while lying on their beds after receiving a summary of the accusations. This eyewitness added that in the detention camp where he used to work, the convicted persons were transferred to prisons where they were kept without sending with them papers and files that explain their accusations, date of their arrest and other necessary information. In many cases, the prison warden only wrote in a small paper the names of the sentenced persons with each name and the length other their the period of his imprisonment.([13][13])

These special courts where the military officers assume the role of the judiciary continued to judge and handle many of the legal cases without giving the accused their right to obtain legal consultations or the right to appeal to a higher court. Also these military judges do not refer in their judgments to any written laws, but they pass sentences according to their personal consideration.

5/ The Rights to Privacy and Freedom of Movement:

The government continued its unwarranted interferences in the private lives of its citizens during the year 2008. Its bugged their telephones and cell phones in addition to their ordinary post and e-mails.([14][14]) It also restricted their movement and travel inside and outside the country.

Under the pretext of searching for those evading and escaping National Service, the security forces raided and violently stormed thousands of houses. They also assaulted and stormed houses belonging to unregistered Christian sects under the accusation of practicing unsanctioned collective religious rites in these houses.

All these acts were carried without obtaining the legal permission or authorization. Besides, the security forces continued making block-road and check-points searching for evaders of National Service or other suspect persons.

The government made tight restrictions on issuing exit visas to citizens even for emergency and urgent medical cases. It continued the application of its restrictions of 2006 which prohibit the travel of children outside the country starting from the age of 5 and above. It retuned back from ports of exit many children who were accompanied by their parents The government continued its ban of travel abroad of the age group 18-55 except for those whose work demanded travel onside the country. However, those permitted to leave the country have to submit and make financial or personal guarantees to assure their returning to the country.

6/ Violations in the Application of the NSP law:

The government continued its implementation of the NSP decree without observing and complying with what is stated in the 1995/82 Decree which organizes it and which was published in the government gazette of 23 October 1995.([15][15]) While Article 6 of the Decree defines the compulsory nature of the NSP for the persons of the age group 18-50, the government recruited in many cases for the NSP persons below the age of 18 or above 50. Despite the fact that paragraph 3 of Article 37 of the Decree states the punishment of five years to the person who escapes in evasion of the NSP. Instead, the authorities arrested the parents of the NSP evaders and fined their families with great sums of money. At the same time, it kept those parents who couldn’t pay the fines in prison until they paid the money or brought their sons and daughters back home. The application of these illegal procedures and measures caused a lot of deaths especially among mothers and children who were detained and imprisoned under severe conditions and for long periods.

The authorities continued chasing the evaders of the NSP and set check- points on roads and at streets inside cities and outside them. The security elements climbed over the walls and stormed headquarters of private businesses searching for these escapees. In these operations many citizens were killed after being shot by the security forces accused of trying to escape. Those who had been arrested in these campaigns were imprisoned and tortured.

The authorities pursued their shoot-to-kill policy against those who attempted to cross the borders to Sudan or Ethiopia. One of those escaping the NSP was Abdu A. who told the SCHR that one of his friends by the name of Ibrahim Mohammed of the 7th batch of the NSP was killed at the beginning of 2007 while he was trying to escape from Wia camp. He added that another young person by the name of Mohammed Ali was shot and injured while attempting to run away from the same camp.([16][16])

The authorities recruited the conscripts of the NSP without taking into consideration their family conditions. Solomon A. told the SCHR that despite the martyrdom of his two brothers during the period of the liberation struggle, he was not exempted from the NSP though his mother had no one to support her.([17][17])

The government, in contravention of Article (8) of the Decree which limits the duration of the NSP to 18 months, extended it to indefinite period. The 18 months includes the period of military service which was supposed to be 6 months. One of the escapees from the NSP called A. Haile Mariam said that he was in the first batch of NSP in 1994. He was released from service after finishing his period. Nevertheless, he was called to service again after the outbreak of war with Ethiopia in 1998 and he continued his military service until he was able to escape from the country in December 2007. ([18][18])

These NSP conscripts receive less than 20 US dollars worth of the local currency per month. This sum of money obviously is not enough and cannot meet or cover the essential expenses and needs of the conscript. This laid great pressure on many of the conscripts to flee from the camps in search for work in order to help their families. Also many of the army officers exploited the NSP conscripts by making them work in their private farms. They also used the female conscripts to work as housemaids in their houses.

The commanders of the military units imposed heavy penalties of hard labour for 6 months on those who were arrested while deserting their units. Others attempted to escape to change the dire living conditions of their families. All the same, they were treated like the others and were subjected similar suffering.

Section Two

Violence and Discrimination against Eritrean Women

Irrespective of the fact that the suspended Eritrean Constitution prohibits discrimination against women and despite that Eritrea is a state party to CEDAW (1995), the Eritrean women suffered from discriminations and have been exposed to many forms of violence due to the shortcomings in some legislations and the lack of government interest in their implementation. One can also add the negative impact of the prevailing political, social and economic orientations by the State.

This discrimination against women is manifest more in the fields of education, employment and access to economic resources. In the field of education, there is a great margin of difference between females and males. Statistics demonstrate that this difference in rate of education is increasing with the passage of time. The rate of females registered in the school year 2000-2001 in the intermediate level of education had decreased from 45.5% to 37.72% in the school year 2004-2005. And while the percentage of the enrollment of girls in the secondary schools in the school year 2000-2001 was estimated to be 36% in urban areas and 8.4% in rural areas, their total enrollment dropped to only 10.8% in the school year 2004-2005.[19][19] In the UN's Report on Human Development for the year 2007-2008, Eritrea occupied the 184th position out of a total 194 states in the world in regard to the registration of females in schools, compared to males in the year 2004. Again, Eritrea was 152nd out of a total of 157 states in the year 2006, according to an updated UN report published in 2008.[20][20]

The total rate of the registration of females in school in Eritrea in the year 2006 was 27.6%, while that of males was 39.1%.[21][21]

As a result of their low educational bevel, women obtained low payments and less opportunity for employment because only 50% of the working women know how to read; it is only 35% of employed women that had received elementary education.

According to the indicators of the UN referred to above, the percentage of women who can read and write is 47.7% while the rate among men is 71.5% in 2006.

Women receive low wages than men at a rate of 50-80% and they only constitute 7.4% of the skilled labour force in the country.[22][22] However the low rate of the employment among females in the field of teaching, which is considered favourable to them, well demonstrates the big margin between males and females in the employment market. Women constituted only 11% of the teaching staff in the intermediate and secondary school stages in the school year 2002-2003.[23][23]

On the other hand, health service and medical care available for women faced serious deterioration. The percentage of non-pregnant women who suffered from malnutrition reached 64% in some regions of the country. The health services offered to pregnant women (child and mother care) had also deteriorated. While the rate of medical institutions which extend health care to pregnant women was 1:280 in 2004, this rate went down to 1:530 in the year 2005. Only 8.9% of pregnant women gave birth with medical assistance in Barka-Gash Region, and 9.3% in North Red Sea Region in the year 2005.

And because of the severe shortages in health and medical care and due to the high rate of premature cases of pregnancy, Eritrea has the highest rate in the deaths of pregnant women in the world.[24][24]

AIDS spread fast among girls of the age group15-24, affecting 7.4% of them while the national average is 2.4%. Among maids working in bars, hotels and shopping centres the rate is 11.9%.[25][25]

Women continued to suffer from home and societal violence as well as from drastic government measures in the application of the NSP laws. Even though the government has no statistics on the matter, violence against women is considered to be rampant and an accepted form of conduct under the circumstances of the absence of legal protection and lack of awareness both at the levels of the family and the society.

Many girls were raped at the NSP camp of Sawa and were made to serve at the homes of the officers. Every girl who refused and resisted this was arrested and tortured. A girl by the name of Sennayit T., who managed to escape from the NSP, told SCHR that she was called at midnight by the commanding officer to come to his house in the camp, and that she refused to go to him because she was made aware that a call this hour was for raping her. The second day, she was called to the officer’s office and was put in solitary imprisonment for 7 days with her hands tied. She was later on transferred to another camp.[26][26]

Mothers and wives, were arrested because their sons/daughters and husbands fled the country. These women were not released from prison until they paid the required fines. Some of the arrested pregnant women gave birth while in custody and many of them died and lost their children by death due to lack of adequate child and mother health care. In addition, many women suffered mental anguish because of the disappearances of their children and husbands who take high risks to escape from the abuses of the regime. There is continued loss of contact between disrupted families because families cannot establish contacts easily due to the constant surveillance put by state authorities on every home. Many of the girls who try and fail to escape were arrested and put under severe detention conditions. A great number of the escaping girls were raped while on their way to the Sudan or Ethiopia. Still, girls who were apprehended while trying to go from the Sudan or Ethiopia to a third country also faced rape in the hands of those paid organizers of their escape routes. Many of the asylum seekers, among them women died due to extreme exhaustion and thirst in the Sahara desert, while others drowned in rivers, seas and ocean waters. Still others were shot dead as had happened recently at the Egyptian –Israeli borders. Some women who escape from Eritrea to the Sudan are held as hostages in the hands of contraband persons when their relatives fail to pay the sums of money agreed upon. One eyewitness informed the SCHR of a case in which six escapee girls were held hostage in the suburbs of Kassala. They were released after a relative of one of the girls reported the matter to the Sudanese authorities. Security agents besieged the village and set the girls free.

On 20 March, 2007 the Eritrean government issued Decree No. 2007/158 banning the circumcision of females or female genital mutilation (FGM). The decree includes five articles. Under the fourth article, it states that anyone who practices FGM shall be imprisoned from 2 to 3 years and pay the fine of 5,000 to 10,000 Nakfa (local currency). In cases where circumcision leads to death, the imprisonment can be between 5 to 10 years. The Decree punishes anyone who seeks, instigates or encourages circumcision of females by providing tools or other means by imprisonment from 6 months to one year in addition to paying 3,000 Nakfa. And if the one practicing circumcision is working on the health services, the punishment is doubled, and the court may suspend professional licenses for a period of up to two years. The Decree fines 1,000 Nakfa to anyone who fails to report to authorities while knowing a practice of circumcision or one carried out without warning.[27][27] However, since the issuance of the Decree, no one was reported to have been or put in custody under the stipulations made in this Decree.

The government to date hasn’t published any statistics about the Decree’s contribution in lessening the high rate of the practice of circumcision or FGM in Eritrea which reached 89% according to the Eritrean government's report to CEDAW Committee in New York in 2006. At all events, the issuance of the Decree to ban circumcision of females would not in itself solve this problem which is interconnected with deep traditions and cultures. It would necessitate adequately raising the level of awareness of Eritrean women and empowering them to take initiatives themselves towards establishing independent organization that can assume such roles. The government does not allow this to happen. It only gives license to its foster organization i.e. the NUEW to work amongst women. And this organization is an affiliate to the ruling party (PFDJ).

Accordingly, the NUEW is concerned only of implementing the ruling party’s policies and shows less concern in defending of Eritrean women’s interests. This type of Decree would not of course resolve the problem of female circumcision practices unless the problem of low level of education of Eritrean women is tackled. This is closely connected to the duties and house chores burdened over women/girls in addition to early marriage and the outworn backward traditions which give preference to education of males over that of females.

The government hasn’t included the terms of CEDAW in the national legislations nor has it carried out the legal reform which guarantees compliance with it. Thus, in case of conflicts the priority for national courts is the application of national legislation. The government continued superficially to mandate NUEW the monitoring of its compliance with CEDAW. This demonstrates that it is not serious in establishing a real and credible monitoring mechanism regarding this issue.

Many women remained in detention camps because of their political opinions or religious creeds. Some, of them are held in secret prisons without allowing their children or relatives to visit them. Among these who have remained in prison without trial until the end of 2008 include: Aster Fessehatsion (2001), Mariam Hagos, Sennayit Debessai and Aster Yohannes (2003).[28][28]

Section Three

Arbitrary Arrests and Torture

Arbitrary arrests in Eritrea under the current regime started in May 1991 when freedom fighters detained in liberated areas were transferred to prisons in the newly liberated towns and cities. New prisons were established in military garrisons, in security establishments and in secret locations. The fate of those imprisoned in 1991 still remains unknown after all these years. Those imprisoned immediately after liberation included personalities like judge Mohammed Maranet Nessour who was arrested in Keren in 1991.

One of the former military leaders of the EPLF, General Bitwodded Aberha, was arrested in 1992. He was released for a short time in 1998 but soon rearrested and is still detained in solitary confinement in ‘Wenjel Mermera’ prison in Asmara. According to source, a Sudanese national who was detained near his cell, General is in a very bad psychological condition. Many of the soldiers who were imprisoned after a major military protest against the then Government of Eritrea in 1993 and many of the war disabled veterans who were detained after protesting against their condition in 1995 continued to be under detention in unknown places. Their families were not allowed to visit them. The authorities had executed many of those that took part in the above -mentioned peaceful protests after appearing before Kangaroo courts military tribunals.

The fate of those who were detained in the beginning and in mid-nineties because of suspicion of being members of the Islamic Jihad Movement is still unknown. Their place of detention is not known and their families have not been allowed to visit them. The fate of those arrested in a concerted campaign in 1995 that was directed at former ELF freedom fighters also remains unknown to this day. There are indications that the arrest of former EPF fighters could have been a measure of settling old scores which dating back to the liberation struggle days. Mahmoud Dinai, who was the ELF regional military commander of ‘Region 1’ in the mid-sixties, and Mohammed Osman Dayer who was one of those who holding high leadership responsibilities in the ELF were among those who disappeared in detention, Like the others, no one knows if they are alive or dead and their families were denied access to them. Others who were believed to have been arrested in October 1995 because of suspicion that they entertained Arab nationalist views such as Mohammed Khair Musa, Saleh Osman Arey and Ibrahim Mohammad Ibrahim have not been heard of ever since.

The Government refused to make known the whereabouts of the detained members of the reformist group that were arrested in September 2001. This refusal was spelt out in the Government’s response to an appeal presented by two Eritrean citizens, (Dawit Mesfun who has a German citizenship, and Habtom Yohannes with a Dutch citizenship,) to the United Nations Council of Human Rights. The appeal was made on their behalf by Lisbeth Zegveld on 01.02.2007.The Government justified its unwillingness to make their places of detention known for fear of their security as it claimed that they have committed national treason. The Government further stated that bringing them to justice depends on the end of war with Ethiopia[29][29]. This indicates that the Government is exploiting the ‘no-peace no-war’ state with Ethiopia to tighten its grip on the country, to obstruct the democratic reform in the country and to continue to worsen the human rights situation.

The journalists who were arrested in 2001 and detained in secret locations as a part of a campaign against the private press are still in prison and their families were not allowed to visit them and the Government declined to notify of their places of detention with the exception of Dawit Isaac who was released from prison for two days and was re-arrested again in ‘Wenjel Mermera’ prison in Asmara in 2005.

The persons that were detained by the virtue of their religious faith and who belonged to Christian groups such as the Gehovah's Witnesses continue to be in prison. Some of them have now been in prison for more than 12 years due to their refusal to take part in the national military service program which they see as contradicting to their faith. Prisoners who are followers of the ‘Anssar Al Sunna’ Islamic faith have also been in prison since 2004 with no family visits.

Many members of the Kunama ethnic group remain in prison since the last war with Ethiopia in 2000 because of suspicion that they sympathised with Ethiopia and opposed the Eritrean Government for the injustices they suffered under it.

The fate of ELF- RC leadership members who kidnapped from Kassala , the Sudan , on 26 April 1992 Tekleberhan Ghebretsadik (Weddi Bashai) and Waldemariam Bahlibi) and Ghebreberhan Zere, head of an organization who was abducted on 5 February 1997 from the Ethiopian border town of Humera remained unknown until the end of 2008.

Though none of the detainees of conscience that were mentioned in our report in 2006 were released, the Eritrean Government released in the last two years some Sudanese prisoners. This seemed to reflect the improved relations with the Government in Sudan. Yet the fate of some of the Sudanese that were imprisoned in the mid-nineties such as Salah Fadlallah Al Halawi (1995) was unknown in 2008. The Eritrean Government informed last July the relatives of the Sudanese prisoner Maamoun Maaz Derwish who was arrested in 2001 that he died in prison after two weeks of his arrest. It is possible to speculate that he was subjected to torture as his relatives have informed our Centre that he was very healthy before his detention.

Though our Centre has conducted tens of interviews since its establishment in 2005with those who fled Eritrea, some of who worked with the Government and some were detained before their escape, we have not been able to locate the places of detention of prisoners of conscience, including of those were imprisoned in the early nineties, Nor have we been able to locate the prisons where the reformist group members have been detained, many of the former senior party and government officials.

The security apparatus of the regime arbitrarily detained thousands of Eritrean citizens in 2007 and 2008. It has detained Moslem and Christian religious leaders as well as thousands of those who dodged the military national service and imprisoned them for varying periods. It also detained many citizens from the Kunama ethnic group.

Unconfirmed reports have circulated in 2007 and 2008 which indicated that a number of the reformist group and journalists have died in prison. Taha Mohammed Nur who was one of the founders of the Eritrean Liberation Front in 1960 to wage the Eritrean liberation struggle died in prison in February in 2008. As people who visited him in the hospital before his death have informed us, he died after he was transferred in a state of coma to a hospital from ‘Wenjel Mermera’ prison where he had been detained since 2005. He probably died due to lack of medical attention in the prison and the delay to transfer him to get medical treatment.[30][30]

Names of Persons Arbitrarily Arrested During the years 2007 and 2008 and not Released until the end of 2008:

1/Mr. Mohammed Shafuk : tribal chief, arrested in Dase in October 2007.

2/ Mr. Gugul Bidda: arrested in Tole Tarodani in September 2007.

3/ Mr. Ogba Michael: priest belonging to the Second Life religious sect( Kali Hewit). Arrested in October 2007.

4/ Mr. Abdalla Salih Ibrahim: arrested in his home town Suwera in the first week of January 2008

5/ Mr. Abdalla Omer Jemie : medical doctor. Arrested in Keren in 2007.

6/ Mr. Mohammed Adem Bassim: medical laboratory technician. Arrested in 2007.

7/ Mr. Ahmed Deen Omer Ismaeel : arrested in his town Suwera in the first week of January 2008.

8/Mr. Abdalla Salih: arrested in his town Gohaito in the first week of January 2008.

9/ Mr.Tara Kobaba: a journalist arrested in his town Haikota in February 2008.

10/ Mr. Yonas Jakomino: arrested in Bimbilna in February 2008.

11/ Mr. Zeru Biddo: arrested in Keren town in April 2008.

12/ Mr. Sulaiman Wad Shum: was arrested in Hazamu- Iba in August 2008. Accused of belonging to Anssar – Sunna religious sect.

13/ Mr. Yassin Sulaiman Ahmed: arrested in Hazamu- Iba in August 2008 . Accused of belonging to Anssar – Sunna religious sect.

14/ Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed Sulaiman: arrested in Hazamu- Iba in August 2008. Accused of belonging to Anssar – Sunna religious sect.

15/ Mr.Mohammed Bashai Omer: arrested in Senafe township in August 2008. Accused of belonging to Anssar – Sunna religious sect.

16/ Mr. Omer Telki: arrested in Adi Caigh in August 2008. Accused of belonging to Anssar – Sunna religious sect.

17/ Mr. Siraj Ali: arrested in Senafe in August 2008. Accused of belonging to Anssar – Sunna religious sect.

18/ Mr.Mohammed Saleh Abdalla: arrested in Senafe in August 2008. Accused of belonging to Anssar – Sunna religious sect.

19/ Mr. Sulaiman Ali: arrested in Senafe in August 2008. Accused of belonging to Anssar – Sunna religious sect.

20/ Mr. Ahmed Ismaeel: arrested in Senafe in August 2008. Accused of belonging to Anssar – Sunna religious sect.

21/ Mr. Mohammed Kheir Haj Mousa: arrested in Adi Caigh in August 2008. Accused of belonging to Anssar – Sunna religious sect.

22/ Mr. Osman Mohammed Adem: arrested in Adi Caigh in August 2008. Accused of belonging to Anssar – Sunna religious sect.

23/ Mr. Abdalla Adnan: arrested in Adi Caigh in August 2008. Accused of belonging to Anssar – Sunna religious sect.

24/ Mr. Ibrahim Abdalla: arrested in Adi Caigh in August 2008. Accused of belonging to Anssar – Sunna religious sect.

25/ Mr. Mohammed Ahmed Saeedai Hamidi: kidnapped and high-jacked with his car and put in prison in Baruntu on 25/9/2008.

26/ Mr. Asfadai Ansra: arrested in Keren in October 2008.

Names of Sudanese Detainees whose Names not included in the SCHR 2006 Report:

1/Mr. Abd Al Azim Abu-AL-Gasim AL-Shiekh Ali: Imprisoned at Karshly prison in Asmara.

2/Mr. Abd AL-Rahman Shamoun Abdalla: a citizen of Kassala, Sudan.

3/ Mr.Azhari Hassan Alama: his place of detention unknown.

The names of the following whose names are already included in the arbitrary arrests in the SCHR report of 2006 and are still in prison until the end of 2008:

1- Mr. Mohammed Maranet Nessour: was a judge in Keren who was arrested in 1991. He was detained in Karshali prison until 1997 but he has been moved to an unknown place therefore his contacts with his family have been interrupted. No charges have been filed against Mr. Nessour nor been brought to a court.

2- General Bitwodded Abreha: was senior military officer and former member of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) who was arrested in 1992 but released for a while in 1998 during the Eritrean-Ethiopian war. He is imprisoned in Wenjel Marmara prison in Asmara. No charges have been filed against General Abraha nor has he taken to court.

3- Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim Malik: was a teacher at the Islamic Institute at Keren. He was arrested in 1992.

4- Mr. Osman Mohammed Nour: was a teacher at the Islamic Institute at Keren. He was arrested in 1992.

5- Mr. Osman Abdelnour Muhammed: was a teacher at the Islamic Institute at Keren. He was arrested in 1992. He was arrested in 1992.

6- Mr. Musa Ibrahim Fargallah: was a teacher at the Islamic Institute at Keren. He was arrested in 1992.

7- Mr. Ahmed Masmar Hazout: was a teacher at the Islamic Institute at Keren. He was arrested in 1992.

8- Mr. Idriss Muhammed Saíd: was a teacher at the Islamic Institute at Keren. He was arrested in 1992.

9- Mr. El Hassan Ali Azouz: was a teacher at the Islamic Institute at Keren. He was arrested in 1992.

10- Mr. Ibrahim Gam'ei Hamid:was a teacher and director of the Islamic Dia (light) Institute who was arrested in 1992. He was detained at Karshili prison in Asmara until 1997 then he has been moved to an unknown place. Currently, his whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him nor has he been brought to a court.

11- Mr. Mohammed Tahir Hamid Okod: was a teacher and deputy director of the Islamic Dia (light) Institute who was arrested in 1992. He was detained at Karshili prison in Asmara until 1997 then he has been moved to an unknown place. Currently, his whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him nor has he been brought to a court.

12- Mr. Ibrahim Bakheit Malik: was a teacher at the Anabasa Wazantet Islamic Institute who was arrested in 1992. He was detained at Karshili prison in Asmara until 1997 then he has been moved to an unknown place. Currently, his whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him nor has he been brought to a court.

13- Mr. Abdlalim Mohammed Ali Zar'oum: was a teacher at the Anabasa Wazantet Islamic Institute who was arrested in 1992. He was detained at Karshili prison in Asmara until 1997 then he has been moved to an unknown place. Currently, his whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him nor has he been brought to a court.

14- Mr. Abdelrahman Ali Amharai: was a teacher at the Anabasa Wazantet Islamic Institute who was arrested in 1992. He was detained at Karshili prison in Asmara until 1997 then he has been moved to an unknown place. Currently, his whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him nor has he been brought to a court.

15- Mr. Mohammed Hamid Osman: was a teacher at the Islamic Dia (light) Institute who has been arrested in 1992. He was detained at Karshili prison in Asmara until 1997 then he has been moved to an unknown place. Currently, his whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him nor has he been brought to a court.

16- Mr. Abubaker Ali Nour: arrested in 1993 together with his son who was a teacher at Wazantet Institute. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him nor has he been brought to a court.

17- Mr. Omer Abubaker Ali Nour: a teacher at Wazantet and Anabasa Institutes, arrested in 1993. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him nor has he been brought to a court.

18- Mr. Shom Salih Ya'goub: was a separation advocate. Arrested in Addis Ababa in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

19- Mr. Nafié Ibrahim Fikkak: was a teacher at the Islamic Dia (light) Institute at Karan who was arrested in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

20- Mr. Faraj Abubakr El Haj: was a teacher at the Islamic Dia (light) Institute at Karan who was arrested in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

21- Mr. Abdelwahab Ibrahim Gama Hamid: was a student at the Islamic Institute at Keren who was arrested in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

22- Mr. Yaseen Hamid Nafie: was a teacher at the Ansaba Islamic Institute at Keren who was arrested in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

23- Mr. Osman Mohammed Ali Ibrahim Gedem: he was the Imam of the Grand Mosque at Karan. He was arrested in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

24- Mr. Ahmed Masmar Ibrahim: he was a teacher at the Ansaba Islamic Institute at Keren who was arrested in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

25- Mr. Yaseen Ahmed Zayed: was a teacher at the Ansaba Islamic Institute at Keren who was arrested in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

26- Mr. Gabir Hussein: is a merchant arrested at Keren in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

27- Mr. Gabir Hamid ukad: is a merchant arrested at Keren in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

28- Mr. Mohammed Adam Da'oud: He was a head of Senhet Regiona Parliament, arrested in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

29- Mr. Idriss Mohammed Ali: was a director of the Islamic Dia (light) Institute who was arrested in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

30- Mr. Mahmoud Ali Gam'ei: was a teacher at the Islamic Institute at Keren who was arrested in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

31- Mr. Fuáad Mahmoud Omer: was a director of the Charity Offerings Organization in Asmara. Arrested on 15th December 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

32- Mr. Hassan Abdelrahman Dirar: was a teacher at El dia Islamic Institute in Keren who was arrested in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

33- Mr. Hassan Ali Nour Dirar: was a teacher at the Islamic Institute in Keren who was arrested in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

34- Mr. El Shaikh Mohammed Ibrahim Shedly: arrested at Mansoura in late 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

35- Mr. Idriss Saíd Ari: was a teacher at El Dia Islamic Institue in Keren, arrested in 1994. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

36- Mr. Paolous Eyaso: a member of Jehovah Witnesses. He was arrested on 24th September 1994 because of refusal to participate in the military service program on religious grounds. He is detained in Sawa Military Camp. His family is not allowed to visit him not he has been brought to court.

37- Mr. Nagdi Takhlimariam: a member of Jehovah Witnesses. He was arrested on 24th September 1994 because of refusal to participate in the military service program on religious grounds. He is detained in Sawa Military Camp. His family is not allowed to visit him not he has been brought to court.

38- Mr. Issak Mogos: is also a member of Jehovah Witnesses. He has been arrested on 24th September 1994 because of refusal to participate in the military service program on religious grounds. He is detained in Sawa Military Camp. His family is not allowed to visit him not he has been brought to court.

39- Mr. Mohammed Osman Dayr: one of the early freedom fighters who joined Eritrea Liberation Front in 1964. He returned to the country after independence. Mr. Dayer was arrested on 25th May 1995 when he left his hotel at night to buy some personal needs. He never returned to this hotel. He is diabetic and he was in his fifties when he was arrested. His family was not allowed to visit him moreover, his whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against Mr. Dayer nor taken to court.

40- Mr. Abdelallah Ibrahim Idris Adra: originally from Andrayeib /Agordat. He was commissioner of Takrariet district before his arrested in 1995. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

41- Mr. Mogos Tesfamariam: was kidnapped from Ethiopia in 1995 because of allegations of embezzling public funds. Since then he is imprisoned in Wenjel Marmara prison. When investigators did find evident against him, they asked him to bring a bailer which he rejected since no charge has been proved against him.

42- Mr. Salih Osman Arey: was a former leader of the National Council, an ELF faction who returned to the country after liberation. Mr. Ari was arrested on 3rd October 1995 at Keren, he was at his forties. His family was not allowed to visit him. His wife who is based in Sudan tarvelled to Eritrea three times and met several officials but she has never been allowed to meet him or informed about his whereabouts. No charges were filed against him or brought to a court.

43- Mr. Mahmoud Dinai: one of the early freedom fighters who joined the ELF in early 1960s and was appointed as a Commander of the 1st Military Region in 1965. Mr. Danay was arrested on 10th October 1995 when he was presiding over the regional Parliament of El Gash – Barka region. He was at his sixties. His family was not allowed to visit him, moreover his whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against Mr. Dinia nor has he taken to a court.

44- Mr. Sulaiman Zkaria: was a former fighter in the 1st Military Region. He was arrested on 16th October 1995. He was at his sixties at that time. Authorities did not allow his family to visit him. His whereabouts is unknown moreover, no charges were filed against him.

45- Mr. Mohammed Khair Musa: was a former leader in the National Council, a faction of the ELF who returned to the country after independence. When he was arrested on 10th October 1995 at Keren where he was in charge of Labor Office in Anbasa region, he was at his late fifties. Authorities did not allow his family to visit him, disclosed his whereabouts, filed charges against him nor took him to a court .

46- Mr. Ibrahim M. Ibrahim: was a former leader in the ELF - the Unified Organization. Mr. Ibrahim was arrested on 10th October 1995 in Agrdat where he was a judge in the Regional Court of Baraka-Gash Region. He was at his early fifties. Authorities did not allow his family to visit him, disclosed his whereabouts, filed charges against him nor took him to a court.

47- Mr. Mohammed Salih Mahmoud: was a former leader in the ELF – the National Council who joined the movement for independence in early 1950s. Mr. Mahmoud was arrested on 10th October 1995 in Agordat where he was a judge in the Regional Court of Braka-Gash Region. Authorities did not allow his family to visit him, filed charges against him nor took him to a court.

48- Mr. Mohamoud Khalid: was a former leader in the ELF who returned to the country after independence. Mr. Khalid was arrested on 10th October 1995 in Agordat where he was an officer in the Municipality of the town.

Authorities did not allow his family to visit him, filed charges against him nor took him to a court.

49- Mr. El Amin Hamid Karrar: he was in charge of co-operative associations in Baraka-El Gash Region arrested on 10th October 1995 in Agordat. Authorities did not allow his family to visit him, disclosed his whereabouts, filed charges against him nor took him to a court.

50- Mr. Salih Mohammed Idris Abu Ajaj: is one of the first generation of fighters in the Eritrean revolution which he joined in early 1960s. Mr. Abu Ajaj was arrested on 10th October in Agordat, he was at his early sixties at that time. Authorities did not allow his family to visit him, disclosed his whereabouts, filed charges against him nor took him to a court.

51- Mr. Muhammed Ali Ibrahim: is one of the first generation of fighters in the Eritrean revolution which he joined in early 1960s. Mr. Ibrahim was arrested on 10th October 1995. Authorities did not allow his family to visit him, disclosed his whereabouts, filed charges against him nor took him to a court of law.

52- Mr. Ismail Idriss Karkas: was a former fighter within the ELF, the National Council. He returned to the country in the aftermath of independence. He was arrested in late Novemer 1995. Authorities did not allow his family to visit him, disclosed his whereabouts, filed charges against him nor took him to a court of law.

53- Mr. Idriss Dinai: was a former fighter with the ELF which he joined in 1980s. He returned to the country after independence and arrested in late November 1995. He was at his thirties at the time of arrest. Authorities did not allow his family to visit him, disclosed his whereabouts, filed charges against him nor took him to a court .

54- Mr. Muhammed Banni: was a former fighter with the ELF. He was arrested in 1996 at Senafe. Authorities did not allow his family to visit him, disclosed his whereabouts, filed charges against him nor took him to a court .

55- Mr. Adam Ibrahim: Was graduated from Um Durman Islamic University.

He was arrested in 1996.

56- Mr. Suliman Abou Bker Ebraheem: He was arrested in 1996 at Sanafi town. His wife Fatima Ismail Mohammed had been killed during arrest. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him

57- Mr. Abdellah Ali Nassir: arrested in 1996 at Sanafi town. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

58- Ibrahim Omer Bahibaish: He was arrested in 1996 in Sanafi. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

59- Mr. Amir El Sir: a Sudanese national, arrested in 1996. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

60- Osman Salih Hamid: He was arrested in 1996 in Hagaat.

61- Mr. Ibrahim Idirss Mohammed Ali (Mangous): arrested in El Gash in 1997.

62- Mr. Hamid Omer Hashishai: arrested in 1997. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

63- Mr. Gshi Mahari Tsfamariam: was arrested in 1997 under allegations of receiving interest on money he lends to others (riba) but he has not been brought to an open court.

64- Mr. Mansour Walday: was arrested in 1998 under allegations of illegal money lending (riba) but he has not been brought to an open court.

65- Mr. Adam Burhan Bayan: was arrested in 1998 under allegations of illegal money lending (riba) but he has not been brought to an open court.

66- Mr. Ghebrehiwet Geleta: is a journalist who was kidnapped earlier in 1988 from Kasala in Sudan during struggle for independence. He has been arrested again in 2002 when he was working for an independent newspaper. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him nor has he been brought to a court.

67- Mr. Mohammed Daóud Mohammed Osman Daóud: a religion man, arrested in Gonia in 1999. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him>

68- Mr. Adam Muhammed Osman Daóud: a religion man, arrested in Gonia in 1999.

69- Mr. Petros Solomon: is one of the earliest members of the Eritrean People's liberation Front. He was in charge of the security service attached to the Front for several years. After independence he has been assigned a number of senior positions including minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense. Before is dispute with President Aforge he was the minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources and an MP. He is married to Esteir Yohannes who is also in detention since 11th December 1003. They have four children. Solomon was arrested 0n 18/9/2001. Authorities did not allow his family to visit him, disclosed his whereabouts, filed charges against him nor took him to a court.

70- Mr. Mahmoud Ahmed Sherifo: is one of the earliest fighters who joined revolution in mid 1960s and one of the founders of the EPLF. He assumed a number of senior positions within the Front during struggle for independence. After independence he assumed a number of ministerial portfolios, most recent of them was the Ministry of Local Governance, which put him in terms of protocol as the second man in the state. Mr. Sharifo was also an MP. He is married and has children. Mr. Sharifo was arrested on 18th September 2001. His family is not allowed to visit him, his whereabouts is not known, no charges were files against him and he has not been brought to a court .

71- Mr. Haile Woldtenesae: is one of the earliest members of the Eritrean People's liberation Front. He was a Minister of Economics and then Foreign Affairs and member of the current Parliament. He was the official who signed in December 2000 Alger Agreement on behalf of the Government of Eritrean. Mr. Tenesae was arrested on 18th September 2001. He is married and a father. He is diabetic. His whereabouts is not known, his family is not allowed to visit him, no charges were filed against him and he has not been brought to a court.

72- General Uqbe Abrha: is a former Chief of Command and former minister. He was arrested in September 2001. His family is not allowed to visit him, his whereabouts is not known, no charges were files against him and he has not been brought to a court of law. General Abrha is suffers from asthma According testimonies gathered by Suwera Center for Human Rights from conscripts who escaped the country, General Abrha died last year because of lack of basic health care and buried in Martyrs Cemetery at Ginda 45 km from Asmara.

73- General Berhane Gerezgrzghihier: was a retired General former commander of the Military Reserve Forces. He was also a member in the leadership of the Eritrean People's liberation Front since 1977. His whereabouts is not known, his family is not allowed to visit him, no charges were filed against him and he has not been brought to a court .

74- Ms. Astier Fessehatsion: was the director at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Ms. Fsahsion was arrested on 18th September 2001. She suffers from ulcer. Her whereabouts is not known, her family is not allowed to visit her. No charges were filed against her and she has not been brought to a court.

75- Mr. Salih Kikia: was a former manager of the Office of the President, a former Minister of Communication and Transportation and member of both leadership of the ruling party and the Parliament. He is married and a father. Mr. Kikia was arrested on 18t September 2001. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

76- Mr. Hamid Himed : was a former Ambassador to Suadi Arabia and Sudan, head of the Middle East Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, member of the leadership of the ruling and an MP. Mr. Hamad is married and a father. He was arrested on 18th September 2001. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

77- General Estifanos Seyoum : a retired army officer, in charge of income taxes, member of the leadership of the ruling party and an MP. He was arrested on 18th September 2001. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

78- Mr. Germano Natti: was a former regional governor and MP. He was arrested on 18th September 2001. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

79- Beraki Ghebreselassie: a former Ambassador to Germany, a former minister of Information and Culture and MP. Mr. Silasi was arrested on 18th September 2001. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

80- Ms. Mariam Hagous: was in charge of cinema sector has been arrested on 6th October 2001. The whereabouts of Ms. Hagous is unknown and her family is not allowed to visit her. No charges were filed against Ms. Hagous nor been taken to a court.

81- Mr. Yousif Mohammed Ali: Editor-in-Chief of Sganai newspaper. He was arrested in September 2001. Upon participating in a hunger strike in early April 2003, he has been moved from a police detention center in Asmara to an unknown place. No charges have been filed against Mr. Ali nor been brought to a court.

82- Mr. Matiwos Hebteab: a journalist, was editor-in-Chief of Magalih newspaper. Was arrested in September 2001. In early April 2003 he was moved from police custody in Asmara to unknown place upon participation in hunger strike. No charges have been filed against Mr. Ali nor been brought to a court.

83- Mr. Dawit Habtemichael: was an assistant to the editor-in-chief of Maglih He was arrested in September 2001. In early April 2003 he was moved from police custody in Asmara to unknown place upon participation in hunger strike. No charges have been filed against Mr. Ali nor been brought to a court.

84- Mr. Medhanie Haille: is a journalist, was an assistant editor-in-chief and borad member in Kesti Debana newspaper. He was arrested in September 2001. In early April 2003 he was moved from police custody in Asmara to unknown place upon participation in hunger strike. No charges have been filed against Mr. Ali nor been brought to a court.

85- Mr. Temsghen Ghebresus: is a journalist, an assistant editor-in-chief and board member in Kesti Debana newspaper. He was arrested in September 2001. In early April 2003 he was moved from police custody in Asmara to unknown place upon participation in hunger strike. No charges have been filed against Mr. Ali nor been brought to a court.

86- Mr. Emanuel Asrat: is a journalist,was an editor-in-chief of Zaman newspaper. He was arrested in September 2001. In early April 2003 he was moved from police custody in Asmara to unknown place upon participation in hunger strike. No charges have been filed against Mr. Ali nor been brought to a court.

87- Mr. Fessaye Yohannes ( Joshua): was a journalist with Steit newspaper. He was arrested in September 2001. In early April 2003 he was moved from police custody in Asmara to unknown place upon participation in hunger strike. No charges have been filed against Mr. Ali nor been brought to a court.

88- Mr. Sa'id Abelgadir: is a journalist, was an editor-in-chief of Admas newspaper. He was arrested in September 2001. In early April 2003 was moved from police custody in Asmara to unknown place upon participation in hunger strike. No charges have been filed against Mr. Ali nor been taken to a court.

89- Mr. Seyoum Tsehye: was a freelance photographer. He was arrested in September 2001. In early April 2003 he was moved from police custody in Asmara to unknown place upon participation in hunger strike. No charges have been filed against Mr. Ali nor been brought to a court.

90- Mr. Dawit Issac: was a journalist with Steit newspaper. He holds both Eritrean an Sweden nationalities. It is believed that authorities have released him in November 2005 and re-arrested him tow days later apparently in a reaction to the welcoming of his sympathizers. He is detained at Wenjel prison in Asmara. No charges have been filed against him nor been taken to a court.

91- Mr. Ali El Amin: was an employee of the Embassy of the USA who was arrested in October 2001 allegedly for spying for the Embassy. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

92- Mr. Kflom Ghebremichael: was also an employee of the Embassy of the USA who was arrested in October 2001 allegedly for spying for the Embassy. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

93- Mr. Idriss Ab'aari: is a writer and a former director at the Ministry of Labor. Mr. Ab'aari is adisable due to his participation in liberation war. Mr. Ab'aari has been arrested towards the end of 2001. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

94- Mr. Kidane Kebreab: was a member of the ruling party who was arrested in early 2002. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

95- Mr. Tesfai Gherma : was a member of the ruling party who was arrested in early 2002. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

96- Mr. Alazar Mesfun: was a member of the ruling party and former Governor of Keren. He was arrested in early 2002. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

97- Mr. Kiros Tesfamichael (Awer): was a member of the ruling party and former Director of the Tourism Department. He was arrested in early 2002. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor he been taken to a court.

98- Mr. Beesrat Yemane: was a member of the ruling party and former Consular in Frankfurt. He was arrested in early 2002. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

99- Mr. Firon Woldu: was a member of the ruling party and former director at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. He was arrested in early 2002. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

100- Mr. Ibrahim Siraj: was a member of the ruling party and former diplomat in Suadi Arabia. He was arrested in early 2002. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

101- Mr. Hamid Mohammed Sa'id: a journalist who was arrested in March 2003 when he was working for the national TV. He is detained in Wenjel Marmara prison in Asmara. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

102- Mr. Salih El Gaza'eri: is a journalist, was arrested in March 2003 when he was working for the official Radio (Voice of Masses). He is detained in Wenjel Marmara prison in Asmara. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

103- Mr. Aho Mohammed Aho: was a Secretary of the Parliament of the South Red Sea. He was arrested in 2002. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

104- Mr. Ali Mohammed Ibrahim: was arrested in 2002. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

105- Mr. Ibrahim Sa'id: was a former officer at the Commission of Humanitarian Aid and Rehabilitation. He was arrested in July 2003. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

106- Mr. Akhlilu Mogos: was a member of the ruling party who was arrested in early 2002. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

107- Mr. Berhe Tesfamariam: is an engineer and was a member of the ruling party who was arrested in November 2003. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

108- Mr. Ermias Debessai: was a member of the ruling party, a former Ambassador in China. Earlier in 1997 he was brought to court and condemned of corruption. He served his prison sentence but re-arrested in November 2003. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

109- Mr. Ghermai Yohannes: was a sportsman who was arrested in November 2003. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

110- Colonel Yemane Fesseha: (Wad Rago) was a police officer who was arrested in November 2003. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

111- Mr. Mohammed Osman: the former Scertary of Gash- Barka Regional Parliament who was arrested in November 2003. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

112- Mr. Solomon Habtom: was a member of the ruling party and former head of one of the bureaus at the Ministry of Communication and Transportation. He was arrested in June 2003. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

113- General Habtetsion Hadgu: is the former commander of Air Force. He was arrested in November 2003. Before that he had been arrested for some months. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

114- Ms. Asnayit Debessai: is a guitarist and was a member of the ruling party and mother of three children. She is imprisoned in Wenjel Marmara in Asmara because she requested divorce through court from her influential husband (a former Ambassador to Kenya). A police officer visits Asnayit every three months asking her whether she changed her mind about divorce and as she insists on divorce she is returned to prison every time. Asnayit who claims to being beaten by her husband emphasizes that she prefers prison to keeping her marriage bond.

115- Mr. Ibrahim Ismail Omer: a schoolteacher graduated from Suadi Arabia, arrested in 2003. His whereabouts is not known. No charges have been filed against him.

116- Haj Idriss: was a mosque Imam at Adardi Mosque. He was affiliated to Ansar El Sunna Islamic group, which not known of political activism. He has been detained since November 2003 at Wingil Marmara prison and has not been brought to court.

117- Ms. Astier yohannes: was an MA student in the US and wife of the former minister Betros Solomon. She was in prison since September 2001. She returned upon guarantees by the authorities that she will not be arrested. She has been arrested at the airport and was not allowed even to see her children and mother who were waiting at the airport. Since then authorities did not allow any type of visits to Ms. Johannes including herfamily. She is kept in solitary detention at Wenjel Marmara in Asmara.

118- Mr. Taha Abdelgadir: is a member of Ansar El Sunna Islamic group and was active in Islamic Call at Gaza Banda Mosque. He is at his twenties. He was arrested in 2004 and detained at Wenjel Marmara but has not been brought to a court .

119- Ms. Hayat Ibrahim Nour Hussien: was affiliated to Asnar El Sunna. She has been arrested in November 2004 and detained in Wenjel Marmara but has not been brought to court.

120- Mr. Mohammed Salih Adam: a member of Ansar El Sunna Islamic group, arrested in Asmara in March 2004. It is said that he has been informed by the prison director that he had been sentenced to four years imprisonment. He is imprisoned at Simble prison.

121- Mr Ahmed Siraj: a member of Ansar El Sunna Islamic group, arrested in Asmara in March 2004. It is said that he has been informed by the prison director that he had been sentenced to four years imprisonment. He is imprisoned at Semble prison.

122- Mr. Mohammed Burhan: a member of Ansar El Sunna Islamic group, arrested in Asmara in March 2004. It is said that he has been informed by the prison director that he had been sentenced to four years imprisonment. He is imprisoned at Semble prison.

123- Mr. Abdelrahman Mohammed Nour: a member of Ansar El Sunna Islamic group, arrested in Asmara in March 2004. It is said that he has been informed by the prison director that he had been sentenced to four years imprisonment. He is imprisoned at Simble prison.

124- Muhmaad Omer Ismail: Graduated in Cairo University. He was arrested in 2004.

125- Fr. Haili Niazgi: the head of the Full Gospel Church, arrested on 23rd May 2004.

126- Dr. Kafli GabremasgAl: head of the Eritrean Protestant Alliance. Arrested on 23rd May 2004.

127- Fr. Tesfasion Hagous: of the Protestant Rima Church. Arrested on 27th May 2004.

128- Fr. Kedani Waldai: arrested in 2004.

129- Fr. Abraham Blai: arrested in 2004.

130- Mr. Adam Ali Ismail: arrested in May 2004 and has been moved from Tesnai prison to an unknwn place in July 2004.

131- Fr. Gabr Medhanie Ghbregargis: a priest in Orthodox Church, the biggest church in the country.He was arrested in late November 2004.

132- Dr. Tekhliab Mengestab: a priest in the Orthodox Church. He was arrested in late November 2004.

133- Dr. Fazom Gabringous: a priest in the Orthodox Church. He was arrested in late November 2004.

134- Fr. Kidani Ghbremosgal: is a priest at the Full Gospel Church. He is at his fifties. He was arrested in March 2005. He has been deported from a policestation in Asmara to Semble Prison.

135- Fr. Fanuel Mehretab: is a priest at the Full Gospel Church too. He is at his fifties. He was arrested in March 2005. He has been deported from a policestation in Asmara to Simble Prison.

136- Mr. Towlde Ghbremedhin: was a trade unionist who was arrested on 30th March 2005. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

137- Mr. Menési Andzion: was a trade unionist who was arrested on 30th March 2005. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

138- Mr. Hebtom Wadmichael: was a trade unionist too who was arrested on 11th April 2005. His whereabouts is unknown and his family is not allowed to visit him. No charges were filed against him nor been taken to a court.

139- Mr. Tekhli Tesfai: is 73 years old and affiliated to Jehovah Witnesses. He has a dual nationality, Eritrean and Dutch. He was arrested on 27th may 2005 and informed by the director of Wengl Marmar prison that he had been sentenced to five years of imprisonment.

140- Salih Ali Abo Ali: used to work in trading between Sudan and Eritrea, arrested in June 2005 in Adebra disctrict. His whereabouts is unknown.

141- Mr. Fotoy Gazai: works for the USA Embassy in Asmara as a web editor. Was arrested in September 2005. Minister of Information accused him of trafficking.

142- Mr. Benyam Germai: the deputy manager of the buildings at the USA Embassy in Asmara. Was arrested in September 2005. He has been accused of trafficking, which mostly means helping others to leave the country.

143- Mr. Idirs Mohammed Ali: one of the most prominent singers in the country, arrested in late November 2005.

144- Mr. Salah Grenit: was an employee of the Eritrean Airlines in Asmara, arrested in late November 2005.

145- Mr. Geime Saíd Kemel: was a reporter and sport journalist at Eritrea El Haditha newspaper, arrested in late November 2005.

146- Mr. Mohammed Geime Arri: was a police officer, arrested in November 2005.

147- Mr. Adam Salih: a journalist arrested in November 2005 in Asmara.

148- Mr. Abubaker Bareg Ramadan: Was an employee at the Administration of Keren town, arrested in late November 2005.

149- Mr. Abdlallah Ramadan: a businessman, arrested in late November 2005.

150- Mr. Omer Kikia: was an employee at the Ministry of Education in Keren, arrested in late November 2005.

151- Mr. Mohammed Nour Ahmed: arrested in late November 2005.

152- Mr. Mohammed Abdelhalim Hamouda: a writer and a businessman, arrested in Barento in late November 2005.

153- Mr. Mohammed Adam Shalshal: was a police man arrested in November 2005.

154- Mr. Ahmed Musa Geime: was an army officer, arrested in November 2005.

155- Mr. Nasr El Din El Silaihabi: a Sudanese national, arrested in November 2005. He is detained in Wenjel Marmara prison.

156- Mr. Khalil Mohammed Khalil: a Sudanese national, arrested in December 2005. He is detained in Semble.

157- Mr. Ahmed Bokari: was a government employee arrested in Dankalia in December 2005. He is detained in Adi Khala prison.

158- Mr. Ibrahim Lee: trader works at the Yemen-Eritrea borders, arrested in December 2005 at Dankalia. He is at his seventies.

159- Mr. Nouri Ahmed: arrested in South Dankalia in early 2006.

160- Mr. Wad Garray: arrested in Tesnei in April 2006.

161- Mr. Tesmgen Barhi: arrested in Tesnei in April 2006.

162- . Ms El Ganish Fesha: mother of the officer Alexander Aragi, arrested in 2006

163- Mr. Malaki Mabrahtu: arrested in Tesnei in April 2006.

164- Mr. Abdlallah El Faki: a tailor arrested in Barento in May 2006.

165- Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim Ahmed:was a commissioner of Af Hambul, then moved to Artillery Forces. He was arrested in Barento in May 2006.

166- Mr. Idirs Musa Kalam (Wad Barento): an owner of a tourism office. Arrested in Asmara in May 2006.

167- Mr. Hamid Mahmoud Dalli: a mechanic, arrested in Barento in May 2006.

168- Mr. Omer Malik Baro: was a judge, arrested in Barento in May 2006.

169- Mr. Musa Osman Kheyar: arrested in Barento in May 2006.

170- Mohammed Ismail Anga: a journalist in Eritrea El haditha newspaper and painter, arrested in May 2006.

171- Mr. Salah Idris (Sinyous): a former editor-in-chief of El Nabd, the newspaper of the National Union of Youth, arrested in May 2006.

172- Mr. Hussien Musa Halab: arrested in Tesnei on 5th August 2006.

173- Omer Humad: arrested in Agordat in Dcember 2006.

174- Mr. Totai Mohammed Salih Ali: arrested in Ablet district in September 2006.

175- Mr. Hebti Tekhle Sambet: arrested in Haikuta in September 2006.

176- Mr. Omer Ali: arrested in Kellit I September 2006.

177- Mr. Abdllah Salih Nassir: arrested in Tesney in September 2006.

178- Mr. Ibrahim Abdelgader Jailani: was an officer in the Endowment Department, arrested In Asmara in Ocotber 2006.

179- Mr. Salih Osman Ali (El Rashid): from Id Ibrahim village in western Eritrea. Graduated in the Military Academy in Iraq. Worked as an instructor at the Military Academy in Asmara and trainer in Sawa camp. Arrested in Agordat in November 2006.

180- Mr. Sharif Ali Idirs: arrested immediately after independace and released. Worked in trading between Eritrea and Sudan. Arrested in November 2006.

181- Mohammed Ali Osman Yousif (Abu Samira): worked as a commissioner for Germika and in trading in Agordat. Arrested in late November 2006.

182- Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed Omer: worked for ruling party then for the Conderation of Laborers and in trading in Agordat. Arrested in late November 2006.

183- Mr. Mahmoud Haj Omer: arrested in Agordat in December 2006.

184- Mr. Yaseen Hamid: arrested in Hagat town in December 2006.

185- Mr.Omer Abu Alsadig: a former soldier, arrested in December 2006.

186- Dr. Omer El Din Ibrahim: a dentist graduated from Damscus University, arrested in December 2006.

187- Mr. Ezra Agba Selassie: a merchant in Tesnei, arrested in December 2006 and is properties have been confiscated.

The Conditions of Prisons

The prisons which were essentially designed and built to negatively affect the mental and physical status of prisoners, continued to be at a very bad state. The places of detention where prisoners of conscience are kept, are placed at extremely hot regions, or built underground or at times containers are used for the purpose. One interrogator who worked at one of these centres called ‘Alla 17’ and who escaped from Eritrea informed our Centre that the detention place has 9 rooms (4mx4m each) and in each room there were 23-26 prisoners. The detention place is in a mountainous area where no-body passes by. He explained that there is a special room for investigation and torture which is built of cement. The prisoners were allowed to go out to defecate once during a day where they are made to walk without shoes. The prisoners were allowed to bathe once a week but they used the same clothes for months.[31][31]

There are no health facilities in Eritrean prisons especially at the secret locations. Prisoners do not get any medical attention even if they suffered from serious diseases which caused many deaths which remained secret. The prisoners are made to sleep on the ground or on small thin mats of woven palm leaves. Many are not allowed to use a pillow or any cover and this causes back and muscular ailments and pain for a long time.

Provision of food to prisoners consists of two little meals served daily without meat or vegetables. This makes the prisoners prone to many diseases due to malnutrition in addition to the physical and mental torture they were systematically subjected to and the denial to see their families. Some of the prisoners are detained in solitary confinement which makes it worse, besides they do not know for how long they will be detained. Due to all these factors mental illnesses are wide spread in those prisons and they are left without any medical services.

The interrogator mentioned above indicated that he also served in another prison between the towns of Dekamare and Segeniti. He said that the prison consists of containers, in each one there will be between 12 – 15 prisoners. He indicated that this prison was later transferred and located between the towns of Mendefera and Arezza. He also indicated that torture was a normal practice in the prisons where he served. Torture includes beating with whips, plastic tubes and electric sticks, standing on a very hot sunny day at noon, tying the hands and feet like the figure of 8, tying the hands and feet backwards (known as helicopter), tying to trees, forcing the head down into a container with very cold water, beating the heels of the feet and the palms and in addition the interrogator is allowed to use whatever fantasy that comes to his mind.

The Eritreans that were deported from the Sudan and Egypt and other countries and are accused of evasion of the military service or leaving the country without permission are made to work like slaves in road building, in digging mountains and breaking stones working bare-footed so as not to escape.

SECTION FOUR

State of Eritrean Refugees

The total number of Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers in different countries, mostly in Sudan and Ethiopia, is estimated to be in hundreds of thousands. The percentage of those fleeing the country has been in continuous increase till the end of 2008. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of Eritrean asylum seekers in 2006 was 19,400 and increased to 36,000 in 2007 showing an increase of 85%. As a result, Eritreans are ranked the 3rd highest number among nationalities of asylum seekers in the world. Eritreans are also ranked as first followed by Somalia in terms of the acceptance of their asylum applications. In 2007, out of 36,000 Eritrean applicants for asylum, 17,900 were accepted.[32][32]

The risks that face Eritreans escaping from their country or trying to enter other countries have increased. The border patrols and the security forces in Eritrea have been shooting at those seen to cross the border to Sudan or Ethiopia thus killing, injuring and arresting many in the process. Others had died trying to cross the Setit River in eastern Sudan on their way to Khartoum and many died on their way to Egypt, and others had died on their way to Libya due to the hardships of the journey in the Sahara desert or when they were deserted by smugglers in wilderness to meet their tragic fate.

Many Eritrean refugees also died crossing the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to Yemen. Others drowned in the sea trying to cross to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea because of the unfit and overstuffed boats they used or because they were left alone when the captain deserted them when he felt intercepted by the naval patrols.

Some also died and others were injured by the Egyptian police who fired at them when they were trying to cross the Egyptian border to Israel.

Although the UNHCR has been calling to bring an end to the deportation of Eritrean asylum seekers to Eritrea, due to real fear of imprisonment and torture, a number of countries had deported Eritrean refugees back to Eritrea where they were imprisoned and tortured.[33][33] The Sudanese and Egyptian governments had deported hundreds of Eritreans mostly after quick and unfair trials base only on immigration laws and procedures in both states. And these measures of deportations of asylum seekers were carried out by Egyptian authorities despite the court rulings in their favour.

European countries, like Germany, Britain and Sweden, had deported some Eritrean asylum seekers despite the calls made by international organizations and in clear contradiction with their international commitments. Following is a description of the conditions of refugees in countries where they live most:

1) Conditions of Refugees in Sudan

A/ Conditions of those who have had Refuge in Sudan During the Liberation War:

The Sudanese Commissioner for Refugees has estimated the number of Eritrean Refugees in Sudan to be around 385,000 in November 2008. More than 100,000 of them live in refugee camps in Eastern Sudan. The largest camp of the 1st refugees (who came during the independence struggle) is the Wed Sherifey camp with around 30,000 people, while the new refugees who fled after the liberation of Eritrea, are centered in Kilo 26 where 30,000 refugees are also hosted.

The international community has not paid much attention to the plight of Eritrean refugees despite the visit of the UN High Commissioner of Refugees to the Refugee Camps in Eastern Sudan in April 2007 and his statement that the world has neglected their conditions.

Health care services have been deteriorating and there is only one health care centre in the Wed Sherifey camp, belonging to the Sudanese Red Crescent, which suffers from shortages of medical facilities and professional medical staff. The Shegerab camp has also one health centre provided by a local NGO and suffers from the same shortages as the one in Wed Sherifey while another one is located in Umgargur camp with similar conditions.

The refugees who have been there since the liberation struggle period face problems of education as there are no high schools in the camps, but recently as a solution to this, the refugee schools in Umgargur have been placed under the Ministry of Education in Gedaref State and the refugee schools in Kassala area are expected to be affiliated to the State of Kassala.

The camps also face shortages of clean drinking water, and the water pump that pumps water from the wells works only of two hours in the morning and the same in the evening due to shortages of fuel.

As of March 2008, the Sudanese government and the UNHCR have started re-registration of refugees to update the census and make a needs assessment. Some of the refugees are totally dependent on help, others need some help to stand on their feet to start their own small businesses while others are in need of resettlement in third countries. But the important aim of this registration is the renewal of refugee status to some 70,000 people who have lost that status when the UNHCR withdrew the refugee status after introducing the legal screening and many have refused to be screened in 2004.

B/ Conditions of those who had Refuge after Independence:

These are those who came due to the break out of the recent war between Eritrea and Ethiopia (1998-2000) and are mostly young people. They escaped as a result of the unlimited extension of the military service and the harassments and hardships they face at the Eritrean Government's military camps due to the repressive military practices or due to their religious beliefs. The escapees reach Sudan through Wed Sherifey, Hamdayet, and Gergef to Kassala State and Garora and Agetay to the Red Sea State, from there they move to the Shegerab camp for their legal refugee screening. Most of the refugees have to wait between 3 to 5 months before their applications are processed. Many of them escaped from these reception centres and entered the Sudanese cities because of the long waiting period to be screened, add to that shortages of food and harsh living conditions. They live in tents made of clothes that get very hot in summer. Some of these tents were burned in June 2008. One refugee had to leave the camp because he could not pay for the passport size pictures needed to complete the registration procedure.

Some refugees died because of the risky and dangerous routes the smugglers use to take them to the Sudanese cities. A well known case was when 15 Eritreans and 5 Somalis who were trying to cross the Atbara River on a boat near the Shegerab camp, on their way to Khartoum, drowned.[34][34]

C/ Deportation of Eritrean Asylum Seekers from Sudan

The Sudanese authorities had repatriated forcibly to Eritrea, hundreds of Eritreans between 2007 and 2008, accusing them of violating Sudanese immigration laws, after appearing shortly in courts in Kassala and Khartoum.

In 2008, 217 Eritreans, of the age group 20-30 years, of whom 38 were females, were deported from Kassala.

Although the Centre can not verify if any of those possessing refugee identity cards issued by the Sudanese authorities were deported, the way the deportations were conducted were not legal according to Abbas Said, a Sudanese lawyer, who volunteered to defend the Eritrean asylum seekers in Kassala.[35][35] Said made the following remarks about the trials:

    1. The Sudanese immigration law was applied as basis for deportation, although the Sudanese Refugee Act of 1974 and other international treaties on refugee and asylum seekers, protection should have been applied.

    2. At times, one trial was held for 15 people as a group in one session that did not last for more than 15 minutes.

    3. No proper translation facilities from Tigrinya to Arabic were provided as most of the refugees did not speak Arabic.

    4. Many were deported before the deadline for appeal was over.

A lot of the refugees tried to resist these deportations and one of them even demanded to be shot instead of going back to Eritrea as he was going to face the same fate.[36][36] An eyewitness reported that many of them were holding tightly to the iron bars used on the deportation cars that their fingers were bleeding. Another eye-witness to the deportations said that a number of them tried to escape after being handed over to the Eritrean security but were shot at, some died and others were wounded.

Because of the deteriorating conditions at reception centres in Eastern Sudan, the long time they have to wait there and by the virtue that most of the new refugees are single youth and they do not see any hope or future there so they try to go to the cities, particularly Khartoum looking for work and for educational opportunities, which is regarded as illegal by the authorities. Others try to cross the border to Egypt and then to Israel or to Libya where they cross the sea to Europe. Those who were caught moving to cities in Sudan were presented to trials and penalized up to one month imprisonment and deportation especially for those not possessing refugee cards issued in Sudan.

The refugees pay thousands of dollars to smugglers who will take them across the borders out of Sudan where they are crammed on cars to make it to Egypt or on unreliable boats to Europe risking their lives out of desperation. The smugglers leave the refugees in the deserts or in the middle of seas or oceans and escape if they sense that they have been discovered by the police or the naval patrols.

2) Conditions of Refugees in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a signatory to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. The Administration of Refugees and Repatriation Authority (ARRA) is a government body that deals with such issues.

The flow of Eritrean refugees to Ethiopia started at the end of the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia in 2000. The refugees were settled in the Shimelba camp in the Tigrai region since 2004 when they were transferred from Wa'ala Nehbi camp due to its proximity to the Eritrean border. The Shimelba camp is located 33kms south of Sheraro town. Another camp has also been opened in Mai Ayni away from the Eritrean border as the first one was full to capacity.

The WFP estimated the number of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia by the end of 2008 to be around 32,000.[37][37] 20,000 of those lived in the Shimelba camp. In 200, around 7800 asylum seekers were registered in Ethiopia at the rate of about 650 refugees per month.[38][38]

There are also two refugee camps in the Afar Region in Ethiopia hosting about 6,000 from the Eritrean Afar tribe. The Shimelba camp is under the UNHCR and the ARRA administration. The refugees receive food help and educational and health services provided by some NGOs like IRC, ZOA and NRDP.

Two members of the Suwera Centre visited the Shimelba camp in June 2008 and conducted interviews and noted an overcrowded camp and the refugees had problems of transportation to and from the camp and there were also shortages of medical care.

In 2008, the Ethiopian government said that it will allow Eritrean refugees to live in cities outside the camps, and allow them to join higher educational institutions in Ethiopia as long as they can depend on themselves.

The Ethiopian Government, volunteered in November to accept around 100 asylum seekers from Egypt whom the Egyptian government was planning to deport back to Eritrea. They were taken to Shimelba camp after going through the legal procedures to verify their legibility for asylum.

Resettlement

In 2007 and 2008, hundreds of Eritreans from Shimelba camp were resettled in third countries through the resettlement programme. These were especially from the Kunama ethnic group of whom 700 were resettled in the USA, in July 2007. In August 2008, the US Office of Immigration and Refugees Affairs announced that refugees in the Shimelba camp will be eligible for resettlement to the US according to the following:

1) Eritrean refugees along with their families who had been registered by the UNHCR between 2002-2004 in the Wa'ala Nehbi camp and were accepted at Shimelba in November 2004

2) Refugees registered by the UNHCR between December 2004 and 7 August 2007.[39][39]

After the resettlement programme is over, the Shimelba camp will be closed and the remaining refugees will be moved to the newly established camp in Mai Ayni.[40][40]

3) Conditions of Refugees in Egypt

Egypt is considered to be one of the first countries that received Eritrean refugees in the 1950s. Some of these were politicians who opposed Emperor Haile Sellasie’s unilateral dissolution of the Federation of Eritrea with Ethiopia. Students also arrived in large numbers to Cairo for continuing their education after Ethiopia banned education in Arabic and Tigrigna and replaced these with Amharic. Most of those arrived through Sudan without travel papers. The Egyptian government provided financial help to the politicians and scholarships to students. The 1960s also witnessed a flow of large numbers of Eritrean students to Egypt through Sudan without travel papers and were welcomed by the Egyptian Government the same way, it had welcomed the first group.

The, ELF, the front that started the armed struggle for liberation in Eritrea was established in 1960 in Cairo by Eritrean politicians in exile and students who were among the refugees of the 1950s in Egypt.

Refugees continued to flow to Egypt in the 1970s for educational opportunities. Many Eritrean families also used the country as a transit to travel to other countries. In fact, thousands of Eritreans migrated to Europe, Australia and North America from there in the 1980s and 1990s.

Egypt is a signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol and the Organization of African Unity Convention of 1969 governing the specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa, but has no national legislation on refugees. The Egyptian government signed a memorandum of understanding with the UNHCR in 1954 by which the latter was to decide on asylum cases to Egypt.

UNHCR statistical data shows that there were 20 Eritrean asylum seekers in Egypt in 1997. There were no such requests in 1998 and 1999 when the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia was at its peak. But the number increased to 211 in the year 2000.[41][41]The Centre could not get the exact number of Eritrean asylum seekers by the end of 2008, but it is estimated to be in thousands. The Egyptian government had deported back 1200 Eritrean refugees in 2008 and unknown numbers of refugees are still in prison. Eritrean refugees, estimated at 5000 have crossed to Israel through the Sinnai desert.

The Egyptian security agents have been shooting at those seen crossing the border and refusing to listen to its orders to stop. Tens of refugees, among them Eritreans, had been killed at the Egyptian-Israeli common border between 2007 and 2008 according to human right groups.[42][42]Those arrested were made to appear in military courts and sentenced for one year imprisonment with fines imposed. [43][43]

In 2008,the Egyptian authorities have tightened control over areas in its southern border with Sudan and along the Red Sea coast, where asylum seekers cross to Egypt, thus leading to the arrest of hundreds of Eritreans who were denied access to the UNHCR.[44][44] The first group of those arrested trying to reach Cairo after crossing the border with Sudan, was made up of 71 refugees of whom 28 were women. These appeared for trials in April 2008 at the "Genah Drawa" court in Aswan province in southern Egypt.[45][45]

Thirteen of the group were presented to the court on 13/4/2008 under case number 625 of 2008 and were accused of entering Egyptian territory without possession of passports or any other valid documents. The court declared that they had entered Egypt through illegal border crossings and without entry visas issued by the Ministry of Interior. The court ruled that they should be charged according to articles 1/41/ 1,2 and 4 of the Presidential Decree no. 89 of 1960 which was amended by the legal act no. 99 of 1996 and legal act no. 88 of 2005.

The other 58 asylum seekers were made to appear in court under the case no. 661 of 2008 and the court looked at the two cases on the same day. Two other groups, the first made up of 24 and the second composed of four people were presented to the "Genah Kom Ambo" Court on 20/4/2008 and 16/4/2008 respectively. On 23/4/2008, 32 Eritreans, of whom 8 were women and 3 children, were presented to the "Genah Adfo" Court. On 26/4/2008, 25 Eritreans, 6 women and one child, and 10 Ethiopians were presented to the same court.[46][46] According to lawyer, Mustafa al Hassan, who defended the asylum seekers, there were other groups of refugees at other places which ‘Hisham Mubarak Center’ did not know about and the distribution of the refugees was as follows:

    · Nasr al Nuba city had 71 refugees which later rose to 188 during the deportations.

    · Aswan police station had 38 refugees

    · Central Security forces camp in Shelal had 66 refugees

    · Qina city had 61 refugees

    · Mersa Alem city had 110 refugees in addition to 18 who died on the way

    · Al Qerdeqa city had 147 refugees

In addition to the above - mentioned detention centers, others were held in the Genater prison, Giza prison, Al Isma'elia prison and Ras Qarib police station.[47][47]

Due to the poor detention conditions especially in the Nuba police station, most of the asylum seekers were infected with skin diseases and other sicknesses that result of over crowdedness and poor ventilation. There were ill treatments at the detention centres and the detainees were not allowed to go out in the sun except for a very limited time.[48][48]

Court Rulings Cases of Asylum Seekers

A group of lawyers from the ‘Hisham Mubark Center defended the asylum seekers and appealed on their behalf to be acquitted of the charges they were facing. The lawyers depended on their defense, on the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 protocol, and on the Presidential Decrees numbers 231 and 333 of 1980 issued on their basis according to article 151 of the Egyptian constitution. The defense also demanded that the UNHCR be allowed to meet the detainees.

All of the above - mentioned courts passed rulings of one month imprisonment not to be executed but the Egyptian government did not respect these rulings and continued detaining them.[49][49]

Deportation Processes

The Egyptian authorities gathered hundreds of asylum seekers from their detention centres to the central security camp in Shelal after informing them that they will be handed over to the UNHCR. A group of 200 asylum seekers were taken to Aswan airport on 11/6/2008 from which they were deported on a special Egypt Air flight to Asmara, such trips continued on the 12th, 13th and 14th of the same month. Despite pleas by local and international organizations, the authorities continued the deportations until the number reached 1200 by 19/6/2008.[50][50] The Egyptian authorities had deported 4 Eritreans in 2006 for the first time without allowing the UNHCR to meet them and see their cases [51][51]

On 19/6/2006, 18 Egyptian civic organizations sent a letter of appeal to the Egyptian Minister of Interior and demanded the immediate suspension of deportations and asked for increased cooperation with the UNHCR and allow the UN agency to investigate the asylum cases of Eritreans. Thirty other African organizations also demanded the African leaders meeting in the African Union Summit in Sharm El Sheikh in June 2008 to:

    1. Request the Egyptian government to respect its international commitment and stop the deportation of Eritrean asylum seekers who will face risks of torture and unlawful treatment if returned to their home country.

    2. Demand the Eritrean government to stop all forms of indiscriminate arrests, torture and inhumane treatments.

    3. Ask that UNHCR be given free access to meet imprisoned Eritrean asylum seekers and look into their asylum cases.

    4. Demand that the Eritrean and Egyptian authorities allow and enable the Human Rights Organizations to meet the Eritrean detainees without delay, and respect their human rights in accordance to the African Union’s basic laws according the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

    5. Call on the special representatives of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa to investigate urgently these cases.[52][52]

Many international organizations, such as (AI) and (HRW) released statements and appealed to the Egyptian government to stop the deportation n of Eritrean asylum seekers back to Eritrea. The Human Rights Commissioner at that time, Louise Arbor, expressed her dismay on the Egyptian government's deportation of Eritrean asylum seekers and demanded its discontinuation.

On 15 June, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner asserting its international commitments on protecting refugees and allowing the UNHCR in Cairo to meet with the asylum seekers who entered Egypt illegally. The office of the High Commission looked into 179 asylum cases in the detention centre, and most of them were given the right of refuge status in Egypt. However, hundreds of other Eritreans remained under arrest, and were not allowed to meet the UNHCR.

After halting the deportation process for six months and ignoring the international and local calls, 25 asylum seekers, who were handed back by the Israelis after they crossed to Israel were deported to Eritrea on December 25.

As expected and feared by the aforementioned international organizations, those deported from Egypt were detained, tortured and sent to the 'Wia' camp for imprisonment to be sent later to the military service.

(4) Conditions of Refugees in Israel

Although Israel is a state party of the Refugee Convention of 1951 and its protocol of 1967, it has no national refugee legislation and has only accepted 170 refugees since its signature of the treaty, of whom a hundred left in 2008.[53][53]

In 2002, the Israeli Interior Ministry set up an advisory committee to oversee the asylum cases, but the committee did not accept any case.

The first group of Eritrean asylum seekers reached Israel in mid 2007 after crossing the Egyptian borders and were arrested by the Israeli authorities and later moved from the prison to agricultural areas where they started to work there. Due to the lack of legislations to protect workers in these areas, they faced exploitations such as low wages and unfair living conditions.[54][54]

An Israeli organization has estimated the number of Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel by November 2008 to be around 5,500.[55][55] While the number was 28 in 2006, it had increased to 1,763 in 2007.[56][56]

In 25/12/2007, Israel stated that it will give Eritrean asylum seekers six-month working permits, and on January and February 2007, 2000 Eritreans were given work permits. On February 2008, the authorities started rounding up hundreds of asylum seekers in Tel Aviv, including those with work permits and protection cards issued by the UNHCR and declared that they will deport Eritreans back to their home country, but instead issued work permits for 600 more refugees, who entered the country after 25/12/2007, with a pre-condition of not working in Tel Aviv. This shows that the Israeli government has no fixed policy on asylum seekers.[57][57]

The Israeli Interior Ministry refused the UNHCR's request to renew the work permits which had expired after 6 months, and many lost their jobs as a result. [58][58]In August 2008, for the first time, the Israeli authority carried out verifications on the asylum seeker cases and renewed the expired work permits for one month, but still did not give refuge status to Eritreans based on the Geneva Convention of 1951 and did not allow the UNHCR to meet with the Eritrean asylum seekers.

Deportation of Eritrean Refugees from Israel

In an interview with ‘Haaretz’, an Israeli newspaper, the Eritrean ambassador to Israel objected to the Israeli government's issuing of work permits to the Eritreans and considered them either as economic immigrants or soldiers who escaped from duty and said he did not regard them as political refugees.

Israel's Interior Minister had said that the reason for the issuing of work permits to Eritreans is because the regime in Eritrea is repressive and the Israeli embassy in Asmara sent a report stating that Eritreans who return may face death or torture.[59][59]

After the increasing flow of African refugees to Israel through the Egyptian border, Israel decided applying the border infiltration law of 1954 known as the "Hot Return", by which the Israeli Armed Forces return any illegal immigrant before he can meet the concerned bodies to look into his asylum case. The first victims were 6 Eritreans who were returned to Egypt in 25/4/2007 by the Israeli army.[60][60] Another group was deported back in August 2008. [61][61]

The legal advisor of the Israeli government explained this as an action against illegal entry, not deportation.[62][62] In reality, Israel did not respect its commitment to the international treaties by returning them to Egypt who returned them back to their home country.

There is fear for the future of Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel as it depends on Israeli interest and policies, and not in its international commitments as it had not given asylum to any Eritrean until the end of 2008.

As a result, on 16/12/2008, Eritreans in Tel Aviv demonstrated against not being acknowledged as refugees according to the Refugee Convention of 1951.[63][63] Some Eritrean Civil Society Groups and Human Rights Activists sent a petition to the Israeli interior Minister in support of the demonstrators and expressed their willingness to help in conducting interviews with the Eritrean asylum seekers.[64][64]

5/ Conditions of Refugees in Libya

There is no exact statistical data on the number of Eritrean refugees in Libya, as they only use the country as a stepping- stone to European countries and stay there for only a short period of time till they are ready to move, or get caught before or during their attempt to cross the sea.

Libya is not a signatory of the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Refugees of 1951 or its Protocol of 1967, and has no national legislation on refugees, nor does it have a memorandum of understanding signed with UNHCR to facilitate its work in Libya.[65][65]

Most of the Eritrean Refugees reach Libya through a lot of risky smuggling routes from Sudan, and many had died after losing track in the Sahara or during attacks by bandits or the smugglers themselves. Libya does not recognize refugee cards issued by the UNHCR, and is detaining many of them. About 700 Eritrean refugees, among them 30 children and 60 women, were held in a prison in Mesrata, east of the capital, until the end of 2008.[66][66] These refugees were arrested either at sea, on their way to Italy by Libyan naval patrols, or during round ups against foreigners.

The refugees are detained under harsh condition, with no health care services, and there were cases of skin diseases and some of them had depression. There were also pregnant women, among the detainees, some of whom gave birth in prison and stayed there after birth, while some were raped during the first weeks.[67][67]

Eritrean refugees in Libya live in fear since 2004 when Libya deported back Eritreans.[68][68] Libya had deported Eritrean refugees back, despite pleas by international organizations and despite the fact that the constitutional declaration of 1969 prohibits deporting political refugees. The legal act no. 20 of 199 also gives the right of protection for refugees.

By deporting the Eritrean asylum seekers, Libya had disregarded to commitment to the Treaty against torture and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the African treaty against deporting refugees.

In January 2008, the Libyan authorities issued a decision to deport people who do not possess legal residence permits.[69][69] Fear of deporting more Eritreans increased in June 2008 when authorities prepared travel documents for 230 Eritreans with the false promise that they were to be resettled in Italy, while in reality, there were no such arrangements at the time.[70][70]

In July 2008, the UNHCR signed treaties with 3 Libyan organizations: The IOP, CR,CDIP and the ICR to provide protection for the refugees and asylum seekers in Libya, but there is no independent verification of the applicability of this treaty in providing protection to asylum seekers from being deported.[71][71]

6/ Conditions of Refugees in Yemen and Saudi Arabia

There are thousands of refugees in Yemen, some of whom have escaped during the Eritrean war of independence and remained in Yemen ever since. Most of the Eritrean refugees live in a camp in "Al- Khokha", situated near Al Hadeeda City. Yemen has no legislation concerning refugees and the Yemeni Authorities recently stated that they will start deporting Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees to their respective countries, a matter that the UNHCR requested be made clear, as Yemen is a party to the Geneva Convention of 1951 and its Protocol of 1967.[72][72]

The Yemeni Authorities have arrested several Eritrean asylum seekers during the years 2007 and 2008, and have deported others as well.[73][73]

There is no accurate statistical data on the number of Eritrean refugees in Saudi Arabia. The UNHCR has estimated, in its 2008 work plans in the Gulf countries, the number of Eritrean refugees in Saudi Arabia was estimated to reach about 400 by December 2008.[74][74]

During 2004, 215 Eritrean soldiers sought asylum in Saudi Arabia, and were given refugee status by the UNHCR regional office in Riyadh, and the Saudi government provided residence and means of living for them , though it not signatory to the 1951 Geneva Convention for the Protection of Refugees or its protocol of 1967. Due to the refugees military background, they were hosted in Jizan, south of the kingdom, under the supervision of the naval patrol, a division of the Saudi Ministry of Interior and their movements were restricted. During 2006 and 2007, 185 of the Eritrean refugees there, were resettled in the United States of America, while the remaining 32, who were joined by the end of December 2006 by two Eritrean pilots also seeking asylum, remained to the end of the year without being resettled.[75][75]14 of the Eritrean asylum seekers detained in Jizan went on a hunger strike in August 2008, demanding their speedy relocation.[76][76]

Many Eritreans who live and work in Saudi Arabia with UN refugee travel documents issued previously in Sudan face problems in renewing their travel documents issued by the Sudanese government, due to the withdrawal of refugee status from Eritreans in Sudan by the UNHCR in 2004. However, the Sudanese embassy in Riyadh had renewed some of the travel documents after the intervention of the regional office of the UNHCR in Riyadh in an exceptional manner and for humanitarian and pressing reasons.

In a telephone call to the Centre from Saudi Arabia, one of the Eritrean refugees, who possessed such a travel document, mentioned that he had renewed it in Sudan in 2007, but it had expired by August 2008, and stated that he now lives there illegally, and cannot travel to Sudan to visit his ailing mother.

7/ Conditions of Refugees in Europe and North America

There are tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers in Europe and North America. Most of them reach Europe through illegal ways. According to a report by the UNHCR about the trends of refugees in industrial countries in the first half of the year 2008, 4,044 Eritreans requested asylum in these countries during that period. The European countries which received high asylum requests by Eritreans are Britain (995), Norway (760), Switzerland (736), Sweden (384), and Italy (345).[77][77]

The Eritrean refugees were ranked first amongst those nationals whose asylum applications were accepted in the UK.[78][78]

However, European countries have, in few cases, deported Eritreans from their territories, to Eritrea, such as Germany, which deported two Eritrean asylum seekers, Yonas Haile Mehari and Petros Afeworki Mulgeta , on the 14th of May 2008.[79][79] It was feared that they were arrested upon their arrival in Asmara and transferred to an unknown location.

Section Five

The International Community's Response on the Violations of Human Rights in Eritrea

Background

The adventurous policies adopted by the Eritrean government during the years 2007 and 2008 led to its increased isolation in the international community. Accordingly, the Security Council by its Resolution No. 1827 passed on 30 July 2008 terminated the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Mission to Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE). As a result of this step, the buffer zone between the common borders between the two countries have been without international monitoring, and this posed the threat of renewal of hostilities any time. Again the Eritrean government's intervention in Somalia and its support of the Islamic opponents of the Transitional Government in addition to the hosting of the leaders of the Islamic Courts in Asmara and its non-compliance with the UN's resolution of the arms embargo against Somalia- all these acts caused more and more problems between the Eritrean government and the international community which extended its recognition and support to the Somali transitional government.[80][80] Also the conflict between the government of Eritrea and the State of Djibouti added more tension to its relations with international community.

Eritrea during 2007 and 2008 didn't participate in the summits and meetings of the African Union (AU) in protest of choosing Addis Ababa as its headquarters and also because of its dissatisfaction at the stands of the AU on regional issues. Besides, Eritrea suspended its membership in IGAD because of its differences with this organization over the Somali situation.

Tension was also heightened with the USA during the year 2008 against the background of the Eritrean government's accusations to America of alignment and backing of Ethiopia's position on the border conflict. The Eritrean regime's support for the Somali Islamists in addition to continued American criticism of the Eritrean government's record in the field of human rights worsened the relations. The deterioration reached its height when the USA threatened in August 2007 to include Eritrea in the list of the states sponsoring terrorism if it did not stop its support to the Islamists in Somalia. ([81][81])

In this context, American officials met during the year 2007 and 2008 with leading members of EDA which opposes President lsaias' regime. The officials also met with leaders of opposition parties and members of Eritrean civil society organizations in Diaspora.

Most of the international organizations which used to be active in the fields of development, education and health in Eritrea departed from the country because of the Eritrean government's restrictions on their work. Accordingly, by the end of 2008.Eritrea was receiving support only from China, the EU and some Arab states.

Responses of Principal Parties Regarding Violations of Human Rights in Eritrea:

1- The European Union (EU):

In May 2007, the commissioner of development of the (EU) Louis Michel, warmly received President lsaias Afwerki at the headquarters of the EU in Brussels.[82][82] He later declared that the EU decided to offer a financial support of 122 million Euro to the Eritrean government for the years 2008-2013.[83][83] Although the EU said that it is not extending direct support to the Eritrean government, in fact it is doing so.It said that its office in Asmara is supervising directly the implementation of the projects because of the absence of transparency in spending on the part of the Eritrean government. However, this justification is no longer accepted by many. In this respect, Dr Charles Tannok, member of the European parliament for London directed a question to this parliament on 15 September 2008 regarding the situation of human rights in Eritrea and the bad record of the government in this respect.[84][84]

As it used to do in the previous years, the EU issued a statement in 2008 on the 7th anniversary of the detention of the G-15 members in which it called for the release of the members of the group or bringing them to a court of law. The EU expressed its concern regarding the situation of human rights in Eritrea. This came within the context of the EU's report on the human rights situation for the year 2008. In this regard, the report pointed to the worsening situation of the freedom of religion and the press in Eritrea. According to the said report, the EU conveyed direct messages to the Eritrean President on these issues.[85][85]

Three members of the European parliament: Renate Weber (Roumania), Luisa Morgantini (Italy) and Anna Maria Gomez (Portugal) in coordination with the organizations: RSF, AI, CSW, and ODO in Brussels organized roundtable meeting under the theme: (How should the EU deal with the Escalating Human Rights Crisis in Eritrea?) Eritrean human rights activists and two leaders of the Eritrean Democratic Alliance participated in the roundtable forum.[86][86]

On 19 December 2007, the committee of foreign relations in the Italian parliament passed a resolution in which it denounced the violations of human rights in Eritrea.[87][87] However, European states such as Britain, Germany and Sweden returned Eritrean political asylum seekers to their country turning a blind eye to the violations and in total disregard of the directives issued by the UNHCR requesting all states not to repatriate Eritrean asylum seekers because of the gross violations of human rights being committed by the Eritrean government and because of fear that deportees may be exposed to torture and imprisonment.

2- The USA:

During the years 2007 and 2008, the USA directed strong criticisms to the Eritrean government on human rights. The US State Department's two reports in 2007 and 2008 on the situation of human rights in the states of the world included details of the violations committed by the Eritrean government against its citizens. The State Department reports considered Eritrea with five other states in the world to be worst violators of religious freedom. Eritrea was put in that list of six for the first time in 2004 and stayed there. And because of its negative record in the field of religious freedoms, the US imposed embargo on arms sales to the Eritrean government.

A number of American congressmen wrote a letter to the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in March 2007 in which they expressed their concern about the serious situation of human rights in Eritrea especially the arbitrary arrests and detentions of journalists and the group of reformists in September 2001 in a addition to the reports of the death of some of these detainees. The congressmen demanded from Secretary Rice to investigate those reports which spoke about those violations and to demand from the Eritrean authorities to uncover openly and immediately the whereabouts and places of detention of those detainees and to declare whether there were deaths among them. They requested in particular information about the condition and place of the detention of journalist Fessahaye Yohannes (Joshua).([88][88]) The congressmen asked Secretary of State Rice to demand from the Eritrean government to immediately and unconditionally release all the detainees and prisoners of conscience in Eritrea.([89][89])

The ex-ambassador of the USA in Eritrea, Scot Delcy, directed, after he departed from his office in Asmara, a goodbye message to the people of Eritrea in which he said that despite the escalating violations to human rights, civil rights, free economy and principles of democracy committed by the Eritrean government, the government of the USA still hoped that one day the Eritrean people will enjoy the fruits of their heroic struggle for independence.[90][90]

The American Ambassador T. Vance McMahan, representative of the US in the UN Economic and Social Council, a discussion forum on 24 July 2008 in New York about the situation of human rights in a number of states including Eritrea. Sennayit Yohannes, an activist in the field of human rights and sister of Aster Yohannes presently under arrest in Eritrea, spoke about the conditions of the detention of her sister and the others arbitrarily arrested in Eritrea.([91][91])

3- International and Regional Human Rights Organizations:

(a) UN Human Rights Committee:

1- In response to a complaint made by two Eritrean citizens, the group responsible for arbitrary detention cases in the Human Rights Committee, considered the continued detention of the 11 Reformists (G-15) as violation to articles 9 and 19 of the International Convention pertaining to civil and political rights and it demanded from the Eritrean government their immediate release.([92][92])

2- The then UN Commissioner of Human, Louise Arbor, said she was extremely concerned with the reports which spoke of the deportation of 700 Eritrean refugees asylum seekers to their country by the Egyptian authorities. She requested the Egyptian government not to repatriate more Eritrean refugees.([93][93])

(b) Committee for the rights of the Child:

This Committee, which is mandated to monitor the implementation of the UN Agreement on the rights of the Child, criticized in its final remarks on the second and third regular reports of the Eritrean government which the Committee discussed in its 48th session convened at Geneva on 2 June, 2008 .The Committee noted the Eritrean government’s non-compliance with the terms and letter and spirit of the UN Declaration and Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Committee expressed its deep regrets and concern about the harsh conditions under which the Eritrean children are living at present because of poverty and their exposure to many violations such as detention, torture and recruitment to military service.([94][94])

(c) African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights:

The Commission had previously taken a resolution in its 34 session convened at Gambia on 20 November 2003 regarding a complaint made by an Eritrean citizen, Mussie Ephrem, about the detention of the (G-15). It said in its resolution that the Eritrean government was abrogating and contradicting some of the articles of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights, and demanded the immediate release of the members of the Reformist Group and asked the government of compensating them for their period of detention.

In subsequent years, this Commission made other resolutions regarding Eritrea, including the one it passed in its session No. 38 held in December 2004 denouncing the violations of human rights and the suppression of the democratic opposition. Commissioner Bahame T.M. Nyandunga in his report to the Commission said that he did not conduct an investigative mission to Eritrea because there was no agreement on a date for making a visit to Eritrea since his appointment in 2006. He reported that Eritrea did not submit report during the said period .He added that the Commission, however, found Eritrea non-complaint and violating the Charter especially of denying suspects and accused persons, the rights of obtaining and receiving fair and just trial. It also denied the right to organize , to assemble and the right to free press in addition to imprisoning opponents and journalists.([95][95])

4- Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Concerned About Human Rights Issues:

(a) Amnesty International:

This organization published many reports and appeals on the situation of human rights in Eritrea and especially in regard to the conditions of Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers. It gave great attention to the deportation of Eritrean refugees from Egypt, Libya and those threatened for deportation by some European states. Amnesty also issued a statement on the 7th anniversary of the arrest of the group of reformists (G15) and independent journalists.

Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF):

This organization published many reports and statements regarding the situation of human rights in Eritrea. It considered Eritrea the worst country in the world to journalistic freedom for the year 2008. The organization demanded from the European Union (EU) during the meeting of Euro-African Summit in December 2007 to consider President Isaias Afwerki and his aides as personae non grata in the states of the EU due to their gross human rights violations. The organizers considered Eritrean journalist Seyoum Tsehaye, detained since September 2001, the journalist of the year 2007. During 2007 and 2008, RSF issued statements and reports on the anniversary of the closure of independent newspapers and the detention of independent journalists and the violation of the freedom of the press in Eritrea.

(c) Human Rights Watch:

On its report this organization also issued several statements and reports on the situation of human rights in Eritrea. In particular ts Middle East section showed great concern for the dire conditions and misery of deported Eritrean asylum seekers and those still under threat of deportation from Egypt. In this respect, the organization in repeated requests demanding the Egyptian authorities to stop deportations and to allow the UN High Commission for Refugees to meet the Eritrean asylum seekers.

(d) Other Organizations:

Many other organizations showed their great concern about the situation of human rights in Eritrea like the International Committee to Protect Journalists based in New York. The latter had in 2002 granted its annual prize for press freedom to the Eritrean journalist Fessahaye Yohannes "Joshua". Besides, there is the CSW which published and made many statements and reports on the suppression of Christian sects in Eritrea. There is also the Swedish National Press Club which gave its award of the freedom of speech and press freedom for year 2007 to the detained journalist Dawit Issac.([96][96])

Recommendations

During the year 2008, violation committed in all fields against Eritrean citizens by the Eritrean government had increased. The government did not release from detention all those it had arrested in previous years. It even didn't report on places of detention, and didn't allow their families to visit them. All these illegal acts and suppressive policies could not be curbed by local action or international pressure. The numbers of those fleeing the country have increased. Those who chose flight from the country and the sad situation in it were exposed to all types of risks and dangers. Hundreds of asylum seekers were drowned in high seas, or died of thirst or were shot dead by border guards of the countries which they attempted to enter or to leave. On the other hand, some governments deported hundreds of these refugees ignoring the directive of UN High Commission for Refugees. The UNHCR instructions to all states clearly requested that Eritrean seeking refuge should not be deported to Eritrea, for fear of being imprisoned and tortured.

The Suwera Centre for Human Rights (SCHR), in the light of its present report, makes the recommendations listed below to the institutions of civil society active in the field of human rights and to the international organizations working in the same field, and expresses the hope that the year 2009 would witness firmer positions against the Eritrean government , and expects to see more positive role being played towards improving the conditions of Eritrean refugees and other victims of all the multiple violations of the Eritrean government against its own people.

1- The Eritrean Organizations Concerned with the Defence of Human Rights:

(a) To coordinate and boost efforts in exposing the Eritrean government's violations before the international community.

(b) To organize worldwide campaigns with the participation of friends of the Eritrean people for putting more pressure on the Eritrean government to stop its violations against human rights of Eritreans and to set free arbitrarily arrested people.

(c) To step forward for adoption and sponsoring of the cases of the individuals who suffered from the violations ongoing in Eritrea by concerned regional and international organizations.

(d) To give more emphasis to the work of raising consciousness and awareness of Eritreans on the values and tenets and conventions of human rights. Eritreans indeed need training on monitoring, reporting and thus exposing the violations of human rights, including the ones committed against Eritrean refugees and asylum seeker.

(e) To play an active role in extending aid and support to Eritrean refugees and engage with their problems as well as sensitizing them on the risks and dangers of illegal migration. In addition they should work for creating a dossier on the cases of deaths and their circumstances and the names of the dead refugees and asylum seekers among those who were killed or died while on their way to take refuge in other countries.

2- The African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights:

We recommend its continuation of applying pressure on the Eritrean government to respect and honour its obligations as stipulated in the African Charter for Human and Peoples Rights, and to comply with the Commission's resolution of 20 November 2003 which called for the release of the group of reformists (G-15) and compensating them for their period of illegal detention, and to allow the rapporteur whom the Commission appointed to visit Eritrea for assessing the situation of human rights.

3- The UN Human Rights Council:

The Suwera Centre for Human Rights (SCHR) urges this international body to work towards appointing a rapporteur for human rights in Eritrea because of the gravity and extent of continued human rights violations .

4- The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):

(a) To sponsor and call for the convening of an international conference on the situation of the Eritrean refugees with object of finding solutions for their problems.

(b) To re-emphasize the directives which it issued in 2004 for stopping the deportation and forcible repatriation of Eritrean asylum seekers. We also urge the Commission to address the states which deported the Eritrean asylum seekers in the previous years and demand that they should not repeat such inhumane acts.

(c) To investigate the cases of the deaths of some asylum seekers during their attempts to enter different states of the world and to make known the names of those who died so that their families could be informed of their fate.

(d) To give more concern and emphasis to the situation of Eritrean refugees especially in camps in the Sudan and Ethiopia in particular to their food, health and education services and freedom of movement.

(e) To make concerted efforts in convincing states to accept more Eritreans in the third- country resettlement programme.

5- The International Organizations On Human Rights:

(a) To exert more pressure on the Eritrean government to allow them to visit Eritrea to observe on the ground the situation and conditions of the arbitrarily arrested persons in several prisons.

(b) To persuade Western countries to give Eritrean refugees increased opportunities for resettlement.

(c) To address and make pressure bear on the UN Human Rights Council to appoint a Special Rapporteur for Eritrea.

 Suwera Centre for Human Rights (SCHR)

The Suwera Centre for Human Rights (SCHR) is a non-profit independent Eritrean Centre that advocates the respect and promotion of Human rights in Eritrea. Its goals are as following:

1) Defending human rights and dignity of the citizen in Eritrea.

2) Raising the awareness of Eritreans in human rights and their knowledge about international human rights ,conventions, and mechanisms.

3) Striving to enhance the sprit of tolerance and the respect for the plurality of faith as well as ethnic and cultural diversity in Eritrea.

4) Upholding women’s rights that are stipulated in international human rights law, and defending women against all kinds of discrimination and violence.

5) Protecting children’s rights against all kinds of violations they may be exposed to.

6) Working for establishing the rule of law in Eritrea, including the independence of the judiciary and the abolition of special and summary courts;

7) Ensuring freedom of expression and press in Eritrea.

8) Working towards promoting and defending the rights of all Eritrean citizens in social, economic, cultural and political fields.9) Working in solidarity with all human rights organizations for the protection, promotion and respect of human rights at the international level. 

([1][1]) See the Human Development Report: Statistical Update 2008 and Human Development Report 2007/ 2008, on the links below: <http://hdrstats.undp.org/2008/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_ERI.html &http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_20072008_EN_Complete.pdf

([2][2]) Global Hunger Index, survey conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute in conjunction with Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide. The survey available on the link:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/7670229.stm

([3][3])WFP, see the link: http://www.wfp.org/node/3450

([4][4]) World Bank, see the link: http://devdata.worldbank.org/AAG/eri_aag.pdf

([5][5]) WHO's Statistical, see the link: http://www.who.int/whosis/data/Search.jsp

([6][6]) Human Index. previous source.

([7][7])Nation Master, see the link below: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/mil_exp_of_gdp-military-expenditure-of-gdp

([8][8])Nation Master, see the link below: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/mil_arm_for_per_percap-armed-forces-personnel-per-capita

([9][9]) To read RSF's report see the link below: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=24025

([10][10]) See the text of the report on the link below: www.africanchild.info/index.php?file=018.pdf

([11][11]) From an interview a reporter of the Centre conducted with Alara Antonio in the Sudanese city of Kassala on 13 May 2008.

([12][12]) Fissehay (Joshu) founder and editor of the independent newspaper ”Setit” banned from publication in 2001. He won the award of the International Committee for the Protection of Journalists based in New York in 2002. Other Eritrean journalists received awards also: Fissehay Sioum won the prize of the journalist of the year from RSF for the year 2007. Also Dawit Ishag received the prize of the (Freedom of Speech) from the Society of Publishers in Sweden for the year 2007.

([13][13]) Mengistab Ghirmai, from an interview conducted with him by (SCHR) in Addis Ababa on 6 and 9 November 2008.

([14][14]) One of the escapees from National Service in a dialogue conducted with him by representative of the SCHR told him, that he after arriving in Sudan he contacted his father by a phone in a shop near where his father’s house is, and the son came to know that his father and the shopkeeper were both arrested by the security forces in the same day of his contact. ([15][15]) The Decree’s text is available on the link: www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3dd8d3af4.html

([16][16]) Abdu A. in a dialogue conducted with him by the SCHR at Addis Ababa on 13 May 2008.

([17][17]) Solomon A. in a dialogue conducted with him by the SCHR at Shelia camp in Ethiopia on 2008. His two brothers were martyred in 1978 and 1985 respectively.

([18][18]) A. Haile Mariam from a dialogue conducted with him by the SCHR representative at the Eritrean refugees camp at Shimelba Ethiopia on 20 May, 2008.

[19][19] ([19][19]) See the Eritrean government's report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women discussed at New York on 24January 2004. Report available on the link: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/publisher,CEDAW,,ERI,41174b764,0.html

and the Eritrean government's report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child discussed at Geneva on 20 June 2008. Report available on the link: http://www.mineaction.org/downloads/1/CRC%20Eritrea%20-%2023.10.2007.pdf

[20][20] See the Human Development Index 2007/2008,,prevouis source.

[21][21] See the UN's Human Development indicators 2008 on the link: http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDI_2008_EN_Tables.pdf

[22][22] Rena, Ravinder and N, Narayanas, Gender Empowerment in Africa: An Analysis of Women Participation in Eritrean Economy, available on the link: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/11081/2/MPRA_paper_11081.pdf

[23][23] Previous source.

[24][24] The Eritrean government's report to the Committee of the Rights of Child, previous source.

[25][25] The previous source.

[26][26] Sennayit T., an interview conducted with her by representative of SCHR AT Shimelba refugee camp,Ehiopia,21 May 2008. Sennayit , 25 years old escaped from Eritrea with her husband after spending 9 years in NSP during which she was arrested and jailed three times.

[27][27] For reading the text of the Decree see the link below: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,NATLEGBOD,,ERI,,48578c812,0.html

[28][28] See third section of this report for information on those women.

[29][29] The documents regarding the complaint is available at: <http://www.awate.com/portal/view/4777/6/#one

[30][30] A former Sudanese prisoner at the same prison told the Centre in a recorded interview conducted in 30.08.2008 that he used to hear Taha coughing for months as he was imprisoned close to his cell.

[31][31] Mengestab Girmay. an interview with Suwera Centre. Addis Ababa, 6,9/11/2008.

[32][32] See the UNHCR's, 2007 Global Trends:

Refugees, Asylum-seekers, Returnees, Internally Displaced and Stateless Persons, June 2008,the report available on the link: http://www.unhcr.org/statistics/STATISTICS/4852366f2.pdf

[33][33] to see the appeals by the UNHCR to stop deportations : <http://www.unhcr.se/Pdf/Position_countryinfo_papers_06/eritrea04.pdf

[34][34] See the press release of the UNHCR on the incident <http://www.unhcr.org/news/NEWS/48da4f6a4.html

[35][35] Interviews with Abbas Said by Suwera centre in Kassala and Khartoum 2008.

[36][36] This was reported to the Centre by the lawyer who was defending a group of Eritreans who were to be deported in Kassala.

[37][37] See the UNHCR's appeal for 2009 on the link: <http://www.unhcr.org/publ/PUBL/4922d4150.pdf

[38][38] Global Trends report of 2007, previous source.

[39][39] See the link below on the USA department of state website: http://www.state.gov/g/prm/rls/115892.htm

[40][40] Appeal by the UNHCR for 2009, previous source.

[41][41] See the 2005 UNHCR's Yearbook about the Statistics of refugees in Egypt on the link: http://www.unhcr.org/statistics/STATISTICS/4641835d0.pdf

[42][42] See HRW's report : Sinai Perils: Risks to Migrants, Refugees, and Asylum Seekers in Egypt and Israel it's available on the link: <http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/related_material/egypt1108arweb_0.pdf and the AI report MDE12/015/2008

[43][43] The two previous sources

[44][44] Amnesty International previous report.

[45][45] Mustafa Al Hassan Taha, Eritrean Refugee Cases in Egypt: Hisham Mubarak Centre a series of court cases, vol. 2, Al Mahrusa Press and Information Centre, Cairo, p.5

[46][46] The previous sources.

[47][47] Dalia Malik, Exposing the Protection Gap :Detention as Perpetuating Refoulement in Egypt, the American University, May 2008, see the link: www.aucegypt.edu/ResearchatAUC/rc/cmrs/Documents/Exposing%20the%20protection%20gap.pdf

[48][48] The previous source.

[49][49] The previous source.

[50][50] See the AI's press release on this link: http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGNAU200806135097〈=e

[51][51] Dalia Malik, previous source.

[52][52] To read the full text of the appeal see the link: http://www.hrea.org/lists2/display.php?language_id=7&id=8884

[53][53] A report for the RRF( forum includes eight organizations in Israel) see the link below to read the full report: http://www.acri.org.il/pdf/refugees2008.pdf

[54][54] HMW's Quarterly newsletter, Issue no.12,May 2008 ,on the link: http://www.hotline.org.il/english/publications/newsletter-12-0508.htm

[55][55] RRF, REPORT, previous source.

[56][56] HRW, report, , previous source, see margin no 3 on the report.

[57][57]RRF, report, previous source. See also HMW's Quarterly newsletter, previous source.

[58][58]HRW, report, previous source

[59][59] A report published on the website of the Haaretz Newspaper, available on the link: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/968145.html

[60][60] A report for HRW, previous source.

[61][61] The previous source.

[62][62] RRF, report, previous source.

[63][63] A report published on the website of the Haaretz Newspaper, available on the link: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1047273.html

[64][64]See the link below on the website of the Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights: http://www.emdhr.org/content/view/410/64/lang,en/

[65][65] HRW, report titled : Stemming the Flow:

Abuses Against Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees, available on the link:http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2006/09/12/stemming-flow-0

[66][66] AI, public statement, 11/7/2008, available on the link: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE19/007/2008/en/a18438b3-4f5e-11dd-a20f-af4976c1087c/mde190072008eng.pdf

[67][67] Fortress Europe, report, available on the link below: <http://www.infinitoedizioni.it/fileadmin/InfinitoEdizioni/rapporti/REPORT LIBYA.pdf

[68][68] Suwera Centre for Human Rights,2005's report, available on the centre website: http:/ www.suwera.com

[69][69] HRW: Forcible Returns of Those in Need of Protection is Illegal, January 16, 2008, available on the link: http://www.hrw.org/ar/news/2008/01/16/libya-summary-deportations-would-endanger-migrants-and-asylum-seekers.

[70][70] AL, previous source.

[71][71]UNHCR, see the link below: http://www.unhcr.org.eg/news_det.asp?doc_id=1106

[72][72] UNHCR, see the link below: http://www.unhcr.org/news/NEWS/48fda44e2.html

[73][73] UNHCR, see the link below: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,USCRI,,IRQ,4562d8cf2,485f50dc8a,0.html

[74][74]UNHCR's regional plan for the Gulf countries in 2008-2009, see link:

[75][75]The previous source.

[76][76] CSW, press release, available on the link below: http://dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=press&id=766

[77][77] Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries, First Half 2008, available on the link: http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWFiles2008.nsf/FilesByRWDocUnidFilename/VDUX-7KHMEC-full_report.pdf/$File/full_report.pdf

[78][78] 65% of the Eritrean asylum cases in Britain for the first three months of 2008 were accepted and the Somalis followed by 58%. See the link:

[79][79] To read the full text of the AI's appeal, see the link below:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR64/002/2008/en/f7b818f9-2d94-11dd-a96c-df479ae1e786/afr640022008eng.pdf

[80][80] The UN Monitoring Group of Somalia, report issued on 10/12/2008, the repot available on the link: http://www.eritreadaily.net/News0208/UNRPRTSO121008.pdf

([81][81]) This came in a press conference of Gendai Fraiser Assistant of the Secretary of State for African Affairs on 17 December 2008. To read about the details of that conference see: http://www.state.gov/p/af/rls/spbr/2007/91231.htm

[82][82] Louis Michel said in a joint press conference with Isaias Afwerki in Brussels on 4/5/2007 he was proud to meet Afwerki without mention to human rights violations in Eritrea. For a summary of the press conference referred to belowو see the link on the website of Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL0451942120070504

[83][83] David Cornin, report posted on the website of the European Edition of the IPS Daily Journal on 11 July 2008. See link: <http://www.ipsterraviva.net/Europe/article.aspx?id=6283

[84][84] To read the intervention of Dr. Tannok and respond to it see the link: h<ttp://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-2008-4901+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN

[85][85] See the part on Eritrea of the European report on human rights in the world. It's available on the link: <http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/st14146-re02.en08.pdf

[86][86] The roundtable progamme and the names of the Participants are available on the link: http://www.eepa.be/wcm/dmdocuments/humanrights_eritrea.pdf

[87][87] See the resolution about Eritrea on the link: http://www.senato.it/japp/bgt/showdoc/frame.jsp?tipodoc=SommComm&leg=15&id=00297034∂=doc_dc-allegato_a:1&parse=no

(88) Fessahaye Yohannes ( Jusho) has been arrested in 2001 there had been report about his death in prison in January 2007.The Eritrean government didn't confirm or deny these reports.

([89][89])This note was signed by Republican member of Congress, Mark Steven Kirk from Illinois, Democrat, Rep. Mark Kolarado of Awdal, a senator from Arizona, Trent Franks, a member of the House of Representatives from Georgia, Jim Marshall. To read the text of the letter addressed to the Secretary Rice, see the link: http://www.asper-eritrea.com/public/documents/Dear_collegue.pdf

[90][90] To read the text of the ambassador's message see the link:http://eritrea.usembassy.gov/farewell_statent_by_the_amb.html

([91][91])To read Sennayit 's contribution see the link: http://www.awate.com/portal/content/view/4914/6/

(13) To read the documentation of the complaint, see this link: http://www.awate.com/portal/content/view/4777/6/#three

([93][93])See the statement of the UN High Commissioner Louise Arbor who was still in office at the commencement of the deportation.

([94][94])See the final observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the second and third periodic report of the Government of Eritrea on the link: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/type,CONCOBSERVATIONS,CRC,ERI,4885cfaad,0.html

([95][95]) To read the Report of the Commissioner on his activities during the period from May to November 2008 see the link: http://www.achpr.org/english/Commissioner's%20Activity/44th%20OS/Commissioners/ACom.%20Nyanduga.pdf

([96][96]) Dawit Issac, holds also Swedish nationality beside his Eritrean nationality. The Eritrean authorities transferred him to hospital in November 2006 what was considered at the time as release from detention, however, he was returned to prison again.

 
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