domenica 20 novembre 2011

The Plight Of Eritrean Refugees Group from the Eritrean Chaplaincy, Toronto in Canada

19.11.2011 Video Conferenza. Canada Toronto
Good evening to all,
Thanks for the invitation I received from Abba Vittorio, I also thank all the parish community of Toronto, for your support and attention, with which he accompanied me in your prayers.
I would have liked to be present among you, but my recent appointment as chaplain for the Catholic community of Eritreans and Ethiopians in Switzerland, having to do my pastoral service, having to go everywhere around the Switzerland, at the beginning of my pastoral mission I could not arrange to come to you physically, but my voice has reached. Thanks to God
The situation of our diverse refugees in northern Africa or the Middle East and elsewhere. Varies from country to country.
We start from the situation in Libya, as you all know, for years that follow present the refugees in Libya, denouncing all the conditions of human rights violations and civil rights of our refugees in Libyan prisons. I also very much involved in seeking settlement programs kings European Union, there have been some results, even if numbers are not large, but hundreds of people were accepted in different countries in Europe. Countries like Norway, Sweden, Italy in three cases. Countries like Switzerland have focused on family reunification. After the outbreak of war on Libya, I have undertaken in collaboration with the Bishop of Tripoli, Monsignor Martinelli, and his closest collaborators, priests and nuns, have been working to evacuate refugees groped for Eritreans and Ethiopians, in that case I asked the Italian Foreign Ministry to make a humanitarian gesture evacuating about 110 people with two military aircraft, giving priority to women and children. When the bombing started that it was not possible to continue the evacuations have appealed to all to move to Tunisia or Egypt. Asking the UNHCR and the international community to offer hospitality with a program of re settlement, what is happening, albeit slowly, from Tunisia have already left hundreds of people in various ways, to Europe, USA, Canada, Australia. So also from the range Selum the border of Egypt & Libya, we have about 130 people, who are waiting to be re established, in recent months have already left 75 people, including Canada, there are already people who will have passed the interview they have to do the medical examination. The one we may have problems with the authorities in the region, which sometimes creates a barrier, preventing the refugees to go into town to control physician asks the Canadian government, but we are seeing how to overcome this.

They are also working on the side of the search for justice for those people who lost their lives at sea, because their appeal was ignored by the competent authorities, and the ships that have crossed over. Surely you've read a number of newspaper articles on this, the case of the 72 people who have wandered for 15 days in the Mediterranean, 63 of whom died of hunger and thirst, when I personally had warned the Italian Coast Guard, which in Once issued a warning to all ships in transit at that time the Coast Guard also sighted 26.03.2011 Maltese, but the surgery to save life is not reached, you are limited to sending a helicopter that has seen and gave him some biscuits to eat and water to drink, but not complete the save. According to what I say survivors of this tragedy is to eyewitnesses, have crossed two fishing vessels and military aircraft carriers, which are ignored. Now the investigation has committed the European Union, but we are working with various humanitarian organizations a legal action to identify individual responsibilities and states of these tragedies, it is not the first time that such things happen, even in August of 2009 , died 73 Eritreans in the Mediterranean after 15 days of agony of hunger and thirst, no one wanted to assume the responsibilities of the incident, discharging its responsibilities between Italy and Malta.

The situation of Sinai, as you can see or hear from a lot of news circulating these days, and dramatic, I have a year ago, I reported these facts, for months the Egyptian government has denied the existence of these people, we made several calls, and conferences in different institutional places requesting the intervention of governments, 28-29.11.2010 I made my first speech at the EU institutions in Brussels on the case, then on all international Media they gave us space in parliament Italian on several occasions thanks to the friendship of some MPs who have taken to heart this episode of our refugees hostage in the Sinai. My concern and our bishops, too, the Holy Father Benedict XVI on 05.12.2010 has launched an appeal for the release of the hostages Eritreans in the Sinai.
In certain situations of serious danger to ancestral some women hostage in Sinai, in particular pregnant women, or guys who were really in danger of dying, minors who were in danger of being sold as slaves in Arab countries, we have paid tens of thousands of dollars for their release. Money from, I have to say on the generosity of some Italians, and religious institutions, and institutions of the Italian Catholic Church.
These days much is said about 611 people who came to Israel, and we are real happy about that, now we're waiting to hear from them, from what conditions did they leave? If you have hostages before entering Israeli territory, etc ... right now, today, we still have hostages who are in the hands of traffickers who are in the town of Rafah. Two groups of 37, is 22 people, are close to the airport, because they see the lights of the control tower and hear the engine of the helicopter passes over them, they say they are on the outskirts of the city, an underground facility, approximately 10 to 15 minute drive from the border with Israel, the refugees that have called at 10.30 hours earlier I was told that the people he talks about 611 people, they know nothing, even by war among the Bedouins do not have seen or heard anything.
This is today's last update November 19 2011 hours 10.30 Italian.

There also the situation of Eritrean refugees who are in prison in Egypt, about 300 people, we are asking the Egyptian government to respect the Geneva Convention and the African Convention on the rights of political asylum, which Egypt has signed. Above all, we ask that the UNHCR access to detention facilities where they are our refugees, so they can verify the actual conditions of these people. We have reported in recent weeks, the forced deportation of our refugees, attempting to force the refugees to sign a declaration of voluntary return, which is why the 29.10.2011 in the Military of Shala-Aswan were beaten and forced to sign young Eritreans 118 , for which I presented a formal protest at the Egyptian embassy to the Holy See, which I received on 10.11.2011 asking to stop the deportations.
The other problem situations of our refugees, who are in Yemen around 2000 as other Eritrean Ethiopians, who are still unable to break the deadlock for the lack of cooperation of the UNHCR office in the region.
We have refugees and prisoners of war in Juba, we are trying to draw attention to UNHCR's see what you can do for them. We also refugees who fled from Libya took refuge in Benin about 12 people with whom we are in contact, as well as in the capital Damascus in Syria we have 6 women who now find themselves in prison.
We in Israel, about 20.000 Eritreans and Ethiopians about 3000, not counting Felasha.They live a very precarious situation, the fact that the state of Israel does not recognize as asylum seekers, but they are called the infiltrators. They have a draft document to be renewed a few months, so vulnerable to all forms of exploitation and discrimination, no no no protection from the state. There are also forms of racism against them, to name a few: In the south of Elat Israel to Jewish families who refuse to send their children in school and children of immigrants, so the school is denied to children of immigrants, now you're trying to separate schools. In the work immigrants working without any rights in the event of an accident at work have no compensation, there are cases that are not even paid for the work they have provided. Fortunately, there are also NGOs that work to give voice to the rights of refugees, or as a PHR that care and fighting for the right to health of our refugees in Israel, where the Comboni Sisters also work as a Sr. Azezet. I went to visit in the month of June.
The case of Sudan, it is estimated that there are 200,000 Eritrean refugees, as we all know the disaster situation in Sudan, the UNHCR and the fields are not well protected, do not offer all necessary assistance, in fact depart from here to the hundreds of refugees looking for a better situation, kidnappings happen here even before being sold to smugglers in Sinai. A few weeks ago, Sudan also has deported 300 Eritreans to their country of origin in violation of the Geneva Convention, which is why all of us together we UNHCR protested to the Sudanese authorities. hoping it does not happen again.
In Ethiopia we have arrived at the fourth camp, speaking more than 50,000 Eritrean refugees present, the fields are in the region of Tigirai, in a semi desert, so with all the discomfort that this entails. The king there is a program very slow in setting up procedures, we are now trying to create small businesses to make the wait less desperate in these fields, especially there are hundreds of children and adolescents often without the presence of parents can be easy prey of ill-intentioned, so we are trying to set up projects of education and ensure a meal a day for these children / and subtract them from child prostitution or other hazards that may exist.
Now what I ask you, since you are in Canada, the Canadian public's awareness of the plight of Eritrean refugees in the countries that I have listed, ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Interior to provide a program for settlement of King a large number of people from these transit countries for Eritrean refugees, this may also become a stop hundreds of Eritrean refugees because they do not die in the desert of Sinai or in the Mediterranean Sea.
Also ask the head of the Canadian diplomats to do two other things:
1. To make a strong pressure on the Egyptian government to free the hostages still in the Sinai, and put an end to the trafficking of organs and human beings.
2. To strive for a radical solution of the problem, pushing the Eritreans to flee their countries of origin.
Thank you for listening me.
Fr. Mussie Zerai 

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