lunedì 6 giugno 2016

Situations at risk: memo

Agency Habeshia

– Saudi Arabia
4 Eritrean refugees live totally segregated. Almost 7 months ago a UNHCR representative visited them, but since then no one cares about them anymore. They are currently detained and their personal freedom has been taken away: detainees can leave their cell for no more than 30 minutes a day.

Botswana and Tanzania.
A group of Eritreans faces the risk of being returned to Asmara. They are all sport champions who fled during away games.
Botswana. During August 2015 10 football national team members applied for asylum and refused to return to Eritrea. Since then no one protects them no one and cares about their future. Asmara has strengthened its pressure on them and requires Botswana to expel them.  
Tanzania. Same situation for 3 young people (two of them are previous volleyball players). T. B. T; T. S. H; G. W. M. are currently in Dar Es Salaam. Tanzania rejected their asylum claims. The first claim was issued on April 20th 2015 at 9.30. Tanzania rejected the claims a couple of days ago. UNHCR intervention is needed.
– Egypt.
Besides many refugees trapped after having arrived from Sudan, on May 27th 2016 a group of 14 Eritreans has been kidnapped. The group was in Sudan and the situation remembers some similar cases which happened in Sudan starting from 2009. According to what Mebrathon, one of the victims who managed to flee, said, they were all separately approached in Kharthoum from an Eritrean guy called Samuel (Mamush) who, together with the Sudanese colleague Ahmed, persuaded them to go to Egypt assuring them to be able to get a job. They left Kharthoum on January 28th and soon after crossing the border they were detained in an unknown region. The Kidnappers demanded 30.000 dollars for their release and tortured them to make them pay. Someone paid, but 2/3 have been killed because they refused to. After 5 months Mebrathom managed to flee and reached Assuan. Then he went on to Cairo and gave the alarm at Habeshia. He does not know where the exact spot where he was detained is, but he thinks that it should be between the Sudanese border and Assuan.

– Ethiopia - Dubai
4 young guys from the army asked UNHCR for help. They applied for asylum after they concluded a military training. They never went back to Eritrea and reached Ethiopia instead, where they applied for asylum.

– Filippins
7 women and some children are currently detained in a “safe-home” for victims of sexual abuse. They are asylum seekers coming from South-East Asia and the Middle East (they are not victims of abuse), and this home happened to be a temporary accommodation. However, they have been living as detainees in this home for many months yet, and they do not have any chance to know about their status. UNHCR assigned them to this house, but since than it does not care about their situation anymore.

– Djibouti.
War prisoners.
At least 19 Eritrean soldiers happen to be war prisoners since 2008, even though the war with Qatar ended in 2010 and prisoners had to be released. They should be detained at the Negad prison, but everyone seems to have forgotten them. They were arrested between June 10th and June 13th 2008. Asmara did not release prisoners and denied having Djibouti detainees, even though the presence of Djibouti citizens in concentration camps in Eritrea had been stated in 2012 thanks to an inquiry by the UN Security Council. As a result Djibouti held some Eritrean prisoners as a bargaining chip. During the last months Asmara decided to release 4 prisoners who have been waiting to be released for 6 years. No Eritrean prisoner has been released though.
Eritrean pilot in exile in prison.
In the Djibouti prison there is also another soldier, a former pilot who fled with his aircraft to apply for asylum. The government welcomed him, but a real “headhunting” has started against him: Eritrea wants him back since he is a betrayer, and Addis Abeba wants his extradition because he has been accused of being involved of indiscriminate bombing of Ethiopian cities between 1998 and 2000. Djibouti arrested the pilot, claiming that this is the best way in order to protect him.

– Greece.
6 Eritreans (most of all women and children) are stuck in a detention centre in one of the Greek islands for months. They ask to be relocated. Their claims have been ignored so far.

– Libya.
Controls have been strengthened, and mass repatriation have been taking place without paying attention to the refugees´ destiny in their homelands. There is evidence that 204 Eritreans have been already expelled. Fleeing is impossible, since the police in the detention centres shots everyone (5 people have already been killed and many have been injured as they attempted to escape Al Nasrm, near Zawia, in April). On May 24th the cost guards and the police captured 800 migrants who had just got on board of the ships. According to media, it was the same traffickers who informed the security forces (maybe because there did not have enough ships available for all the other migrants who already paid for their trip and did not fit in into the ships). 766 more have been intercepted on the 26th in Sabratha (550) and in Zuwara (216), two of the main departure points to Italy. 320 were intercepted on the 27th.

– Sudan.
Many refugees have been deported to Eritrea. They face prison, tortures and death. For some weeks the police has started to carry out strict controls in Khartoum and in other main cities where refugees heading to Libya and Egypt gather. Between May 16th and 18th almost a thousand have been captured in Khartoum: 380 have been sent back within a couple of days and the remaining ones are waiting for the same treatment in a detention centre. The same situation is believed to take place in Ondurman, the last stop in Sudan before starting the trip to the north of Africa.

– Turkey.

In Ankara an Eritrean refugee has been facing the same treatment of the Djibouti pilot. He arrived with a flight willing to apply for asylum, but he was held at the airport. Since then he is segregated in the airport. He cannot continue his trip and he does not want to go back. The Turkish government has been dealing with Asmara in order to find and agreement according to which all Eritrean refugees intercepted on the Turkish territory have to be sent back. Should the agreement be signed, the future of this young guy is already written. 

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