• Le #Brexit et les deux Irlandes

    En 1998, l’Accord du Vendredi Saint a mis fin à trente ans de guerre civile en Irlande du Nord. Pierre angulaire du traité, l’ouverture de la frontière avec l’Irlande du Sud a facilité l’application du #processus_de_paix. Mais le Brexit menace de la rétablir.

    #Irlande #UK #Angleterre #frontières #paix

  • Eritrean refugees defy border closures only to find hardship in Ethiopia

    The long-dormant border crossings re-opened with such fanfare between Eritrea and Ethiopia last year as a symbol of warming relations are all now closed – but that isn’t stopping a steady flow of Eritrean refugees from fleeing across the heavily militarised frontier.

    According to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, around 300 people continue to cross each day, using remote paths to avoid arrest by Eritrean border guards. They are prima facie refugees, typically escaping compulsory national service, repression, and joblessness, or looking to reunite with family members who have already made the journey.

    New arrivals join roughly 170,000 Eritrean refugees already in Ethiopia, staying in overcrowded camps, or living in nearby host communities. Younger, more mobile men and women typically head to the capital, Addis Ababa, to look for work, taking advantage of Ethiopia’s liberal employment policies for refugees.

    Finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet in Ethiopia, many Eritrean refugees are choosing to move on, seeking better opportunities in Europe – or even further afield in the Americas – to support their families.

    Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993, but relations between the two governments soured, leading to a war from 1998 to 2000 in which 100,000 people died. Eritrea’s closed economy and the harshness of a regime that has remained on a war footing created a generation of exiles – some 460,000 people had fled the country by the end of 2016 out of a population of 5.3 million.

    The peace agreement signed in July 2018 between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki ended almost two decades of frozen conflict – and won Abiy a Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month. The accord was meant to usher in trade and development, and revive the historical ties between the two nations. But, as progress towards normalising relations has stalled, the four frontier posts thrown open under the agreement have shut, with the last one, Assab-Bure, closing in May.

    “No proper explanation was given, but most probably the [Eritrean] regime fears the risk of losing control over the command economy and further acceleration of the mass exodus,’’ said Nicole Hirt, a researcher on Eritrea with the German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    Safety, but little work

    The Ethiopian government’s “open-camp” policy means refugees don’t have to stay in camps and can work or continue with their education.

    But most Eritreans here have no proof of their academic qualifications. The Eritrean government doesn’t issue them to those who haven’t completed national service or can’t show evidence of an exemption.

    That complicates the search for work, as Eritrean refugees have to compete in an economy that is struggling to deliver jobs to an already large pool of unemployed youth.

    In the densely-populated Mebrat Hail suburb of Addis Ababa, many apartment buildings are home to Eritreans who arrived after the peace agreement was signed.

    The influx of people looking for work and accommodation led to a jacking up of rents – adding to the struggle of new refugees trying to make a fresh start in Ethiopia.

    “Rent is becoming very expensive in Addis Ababa and, even when you can find a job, you can barely pay the bills,’’ said Abinet, a young Eritrean working as a taxi driver.

    Rent on a one-bedroom flat is between $150 and $200 – a large amount of money to find each month.

    Faven, who was a laboratory technician in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, came to Addis Ababa to join her family. She is now working in a small shop earning $34 a month. “Not even enough to pay my rent,” she said.
    No way back

    Compulsory national service is the “primary driver behind the mass exodus of thousands of young Eritreans each month who brave dangerous foreign journeys and callous governments to reach safety abroad”, Human Rights Watch has noted.

    Mickel, 22, fled the country after doing three years in the military – leaving him now marooned.

    “I’m afraid to return. I will end up in jail, or worse [if I do],” he told The New Humanitarian. “I don’t have a passport and I cannot move freely.”

    Attendance at Sa’wa, Eritrea’s national defence training centre, is compulsory for every high school student. Conscription can be indefinite. Human rights groups have repeatedly documented “slavery-like” conditions during military training at Sa’wa, including torture and sexual violence.

    “I wake up in the night and I feel the government is coming to take me.”

    "We are prisoners of our dreams in Sa’wa. We are not free. That’s why I ran away,” said a 27-year-old former physics teacher, who taught at Sa’wa before escaping.

    Filomon, a teenager, said he constantly worries he could be kidnapped in Addis Ababa by Eritrean secret police and taken back to Asmara – a fear heightened by the reopening of the Eritrean embassy in July last year.

    “I wake up in the night and I feel the government is coming to take me. I still feel they can arrest me at anytime,” Filomon told TNH. “I don’t feel safe here.”
    Travelling on

    For many Eritreans, life in Ethiopia is a frustrating state of limbo.

    Those who can, make plans to leave the country. For example, Robel, 27, is waiting for his application for a family reunification visa to the UK to be processed. In the meantime, his brother sends him money each month.

    Others contemplate more difficult journeys, north to Sudan and then the Mediterranean route to Europe via Libya – although that is tempered by the well-known dangers.

    “We are aware of the risk and we all know what’s happening there,’’ a young Eritrean woman said in reference to Libya, where migrants can face detention, extortion, and torture at the hands of militia, even before attempting the perilous sea crossing to Europe.

    It is difficult to gauge how many Eritreans are journeying on from Ethiopia, but according to UNHCR, it is a significant number, with many of them unaccompanied minors.

    Apart from the well-trodden journey north to Sudan, new routes are emerging – or being re-explored.

    For those who can afford it, Latin America is a growing destination – with the hope of then making it on from there to the United States or Canada – according to the UN’s migration agency, IOM.

    “Nothing is impossible if you have money,” said Ghebre, who arrived in Addis a few months ago but is already dreaming of a better life abroad, and who preferred to only give one name.

    Forged travel documents that can get you to Colombia, Ecuador, or Panama are available from smugglers in Uganda for $3,500 per person, TNH was told by several Eritreans in Addis Ababa. It is then a treacherous overland trek to Mexico.

    Getting through Mexico, though, is a major hurdle. A report this month by the Mixed Migration Centre noted that some 4,779 Africans were apprehended in Mexico from January through July of 2019 – almost a fourfold increase over the same period the previous year. Among those were Eritreans, according to IOM.

    Between 1,500 and 3,000 Africans are currently stranded in the southern city of Tapachula – although the Mexican authorities say they are on pace to triple the number of African migrants being processed this year, up from 2,100 in 2017.

    An unknown number of migrants are also camped on Mexico’s northern border – stalled by the tough new US immigration policies. In a one week period earlier this year, the US Border patrol at Del Rio stopped more than 500 African migrants – some with children – who had taken the risk to cross undocumented.

    Even if Eritreans do make it to the United States, there has been an “alarming uptick” in deportations by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, which specifically targets them, according to news reports.

    The US Department of Homeland Security has also imposed visa restrictions on Eritreans, in direct retaliation for Asmara’s perceived non-cooperation over the deportation of its citizens – a move that in reality punishes the migrants rather than the government.

    #fermeture_des_frontières #ouverture_des_frontières #paix #processus_de_paix #asile #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiés_érythréens #Erythrée #Ethiopie #Addis_Abeba #travail

  • Giraldillas desobedientes
    Retour sur le sabotage institutionnel d’initiatives de désobéissance civile au #Pays_Basque sud, par Jonathan Martinez, chercheur en communication

    Le 20 août 1999, deux activistes du mouvement Solidarité avec les PreSOS ont assisté à l’inauguration des Championnats du monde d’athlétisme à Séville, se sont déguisés en giraldillas - la mascotte officielle de l’événement - ont tourné en dérision le dispositif de sécurité de quatre mille policiers et cent caméras de surveillance, et ont marché pendant vingt minutes à travers le stade de La Cartuja avec des drapeaux contre la dispersion des #prisonniers_politiques basques. Une troisième personne a infiltré l’événement avec une caméra, une autre a distribué des tracts dans l’espace réservé à la presse et six autres activistes sont descendus en rappel dans les gradins et ont déployé une banderole en faveur du rapprochement des prisonniers. La police a arrêté un total de dix jeunes d’Errenteria.

    Le prince des Asturies l’a vu. Les soixante mille spectateurs qui ont assisté au gala l’ont vu. Nous étions chez nous devant la télévision entre stupeur et rigolade. Soixante chaînes du monde entier ont retransmis l’événement à un public potentiel de 3,5 milliards de personnes. Dans l’apothéose du trollage, l’une des mascotes de solidarité est venue serrer la main du présentateur, le journaliste Carlos Herrera, qui en a profité pour poser avec devant le public et l’appeler "notre giraldilla". Les deux militants camouflés ont applaudi l’hymne de l’Andalousie et sont restés immobiles sur scène pendant que le groupe sévillan Always Thus interprétait la chanson officielle des championnats. Plus tard, les délégations des pays participants ont défilé jusqu’à ce que les organisateurs détectent la blague et fassent sortir les mascotes.

    Après la manifestation, alors que la presse faisait déjà écho à l’événement, nous avons pu connaître la déclaration qui détaillait les intentions des solidaires. L’objectif n’était pas de boycotter le gala mais d’afficher une performance pacifique attirant l’attention sur la violation des droits de l’homme dans les prisons espagnoles. Igor Ahedo recueille cet épisode dans son livre "Le mouvement démo et la nouvelle cuisine basque (désobéissante)". « Nous avons traité la cérémonie avec respect. Nous aurions pu la couper complètement, mais nous nous sommes bien comportés et ne nous sommes placés que dans deux coins. Ils ont expliqué qu’#Euskal_Herria "compte 508 prisonniers politiques et plus de 2 000 réfugiés et exilés, et que l’État espagnol ne respecte pas ses propres lois pénitentiaires". Dans la tradition du mouvement de pro-amnistie, ils ont exigé la libération des prisonniers malades ainsi que de ceux qui avaient purgé les trois quarts de leur peine.

    Après une longue histoire de non-violence en Euskal Herria, les actions désobéissantes ont connu un rebond il y a vingt ans. Le contexte était bien sûr propice. Le 12 septembre 1998, les syndicats et la majorité politique basques avaient signé l’accord de #Lizarra-Garazi en quête de paix et de souveraineté. Une semaine plus tard, l’ETA a répondu par une trêve. Le modèle de négociation irlandais et le rôle de Tony Blair dans l’accord du vendredi saint ont trouvé leur réponse dans l’exécutif d’Aznar, qui a autorisé le 3 novembre « des contacts avec l’environnement du mouvement de libération basque ». Pendant la durée du gouvernement du parti populaire, il y a eu 311 libérations. Entre 1996 et 1999, le PP a approché 190 prisonniers, accordé 42 libérations conditionnelles et conçu un plan de retour pour 304 exilés poursuivis par la justice.

    Le cessez-le-feu et l’accumulation de forces souveraines ont créé un terreau propice à la #désobéissance_civile et ont placé les abus dans les prisons au centre de l’agenda politique basque. Trois mois après que l’ETA a déclaré le cessez-le-feu, Solidarité avec les PreSOS a planifié une action spectaculaire dans la prison d’Algésiras. À la veille du réveillon de Noël, un olentzero [personnage de la mythlogie basque associé au solstice d’hiver, devenu partiellement un équivalent du Père Noël, NdT] perché sur une fenêtre de la prison s’est enchaîné et a commencé à frapper les murs avec une pointe, tandis que deux autres militants déguisés en fermiers traditionnels déployaient une banderole en faveur du rapprochement des prisonniers. En novembre 1999, plusieurs détenus ont entamé une grève de la faim. Daniel Derguy a atteint 63 jours de jeûne au cours desquels il a perdu une trentaine de kilos.

    Mais la dynamique de la résistance pacifique s’est heurtée à la doctrine du "Tout est ETA" du juge Garzón. Dans un jeu retors d’illusionisme, les médias ont affirmé que la désobéissance civile était une forme de #terrorisme. À la fermeture du journal "Egin" en juillet 1998, s’est ajouté le raid contre la fondation Joxemi Zumalabe en octobre 2000. Le ministère de l’intérieur a porté des accusations aussi tordues que "l’ouverture de voies pour le non-usage de documents d’identité espagnols et français, arbitrant des documents exclusifs à Euskal Herria". Dans un galimatias d’instructions et d’accusations, plus de 250 personnes sont passées devant les tribunaux pour rendre compte de leurs activités dans le monde associatif. Sabino Ormazabal et ses compagnons désobéissants ont été acquittés en 2009, neuf ans après le raid. En janvier 2018, sortait de prison Joxean Etxeberria, dernier détenu de l’instruction 18/98.

    Les giraldillas désobéissantes ont vingt ans et la tentation de la comparaison nous assaille. Aujourd’hui, il n’ya pas de trêve, mais un #désarmement consolidé. Il y a eu beaucoup de négociations, mais le seul #processus_de_paix qui ait abouti est devenu celui dans lequel l’État n’était pas le protagoniste. Aujourd’hui, il n’y a pas d’accumulation de #souveraineté, mais une distribution de parts de gâteau entre le PNV, le PSOE et le PP. Aujourd’hui, on n’entend plus dire que "le Statut de Gernika est mort" et nous continuons à grapiller les compétences d’une loi organique violée depuis quarante ans [loi définissant l’autonomie de la Communauté Autonome Basque, toujours non intégralement respectée aujourd’hui, NdT]. Aujourd’hui, nous nous engageons dans des querelles préfabriquées concernant les ongi etorri [cérémonies de bienvenue aux prisonniers politiques retournant chez eux après leur sortie de prison, NdT], tandis que l’Audiencia Nacional explique que ce ne sont rien de plus que "des expressions de satisfaction, de solidarité et du désir d’une politique carcérale favorable". Nous avons aujourd’hui un représentant du gouvernement espagnol, comme Jesús Loza, qui se permet le luxe de brandir la menace d’une "recrudescence du terrorisme". Nous devrons attendre encore vingt ans pour voir un peu de lumière. Mais vingt ans ce n’est rien, chantait Gardel.

    [EDIT du 02/09, deux petites erreurs de traduction]

  • Un #barrage suisse sème le chaos en #Birmanie

    L’#Upper_Yeywa, un ouvrage hydroélectrique construit par le bureau d’ingénierie vaudois #Stucky, va noyer un village dont les habitants n’ont nulle part où aller. Il favorise aussi les exactions par l’armée. Reportage.

    Le village de #Ta_Long apparaît au détour de la route en gravier qui serpente au milieu des champs de maïs et des collines de terre rouge, donnant à ce paysage un air de Toscane des tropiques. Ses petites demeures en bambou sont encaissées au fond d’un vallon. Les villageois nous attendent dans la maison en bois sur pilotis qui leur sert de monastère bouddhiste et de salle communale. Nous sommes en terre #Shan, une ethnie minoritaire qui domine cette région montagneuse dans le nord-est de la Birmanie.

    « Je préférerais mourir que de partir, lance en guise de préambule Pu Kyung Num, un vieil homme aux bras recouverts de tatouages à l’encre bleue. Je suis né ici et nos ancêtres occupent ces terres depuis plus d’un millénaire. » Mais Ta Long ne sera bientôt plus.

    Un barrage hydroélectrique appelé Upper Yeywa est en cours de construction par un consortium comprenant des groupes chinois et le bureau d’ingénierie vaudois Stucky à une vingtaine de kilomètres au sud-ouest, sur la rivière #Namtu. Lors de sa mise en service, prévue pour 2021, toutes les terres situées à moins de 395 mètres d’altitude seront inondées. Ta Long, qui se trouve à 380 mètres, sera entièrement recouvert par un réservoir d’une soixantaine de kilomètres.

    « La construction du barrage a débuté en 2008 mais personne ne nous a rien dit jusqu’en 2014, s’emporte Nang Lao Kham, une dame vêtue d’un longyi, la pièce d’étoffe portée à la taille, à carreaux rose et bleu. Nous n’avons pas été consultés, ni même informés de son existence. » Ce n’est que six ans après le début des travaux que les villageois ont été convoqués dans la ville voisine de #Kyaukme par le Ministère de l’électricité. On leur apprend alors qu’ils devront bientôt partir.

    Pas de #titres_de_propriété

    En Birmanie, toutes les #terres pour lesquelles il n’existe pas de titres de propriété – ainsi que les ressources naturelles qu’elles abritent – appartiennent au gouvernement central. Dans les campagnes birmanes, où la propriété est communautaire, personne ne possède ces documents. « Nous ne quitterons jamais notre village, assure Nang Lao Kham, en mâchouillant une graine de tournesol. Nous sommes de simples paysans sans éducation. Nous ne savons rien faire d’autre que cultiver nos terres. »

    Le gouvernement ne leur a pas proposé d’alternative viable. « Une brochure d’information publiée il y a quelques années parlait de les reloger à trois kilomètres du village actuel, mais ce site est déjà occupé par d’autres paysans », détaille Thum Ai, du Shan Farmer’s Network, une ONG locale. Le montant de la compensation n’a jamais été articulé. Ailleurs dans le pays, les paysans chassés de leurs terres pour faire de la place à un projet d’infrastructure ont reçu entre six et douze mois de salaire. Certains rien du tout.

    Ta Long compte 653 habitants et 315 hectares de terres arables. Pour atteindre leurs vergers, situés le long de la rivière Namtu, les villageois empruntent de longues pirogues en bois. « La terre est extrêmement fertile ici, grâce aux sédiments apportés par le fleuve », glisse Kham Lao en plaçant des oranges et des pomélos dans un panier en osier.

    Les #agrumes de Ta Long sont connus loin à la ronde. « Mes fruits me rapportent 10 800 dollars par an », raconte-t-elle. Bien au-delà des maigres 3000 dollars amassés par les cultivateurs de riz des plaines centrales. « Depuis que j’ai appris l’existence du barrage, je ne dors plus la nuit, poursuit cette femme de 30 ans qui est enceinte de son troisième enfant. Comment vais-je subvenir aux besoins de mes parents et payer l’éducation de mes enfants sans mes #vergers ? »

    Cinq barrages de la puissance de la Grande Dixence

    La rivière Namtu puise ses origines dans les #montagnes du nord de l’Etat de Shan avant de rejoindre le fleuve Irrawaddy et de se jeter dans la baie du Bengale. Outre l’Upper Yeywa, trois autres barrages sont prévus sur ce cours d’eau. Un autre, le Yeywa a été inauguré en 2010. Ces cinq barrages auront une capacité de près de 2000 mégawatts, l’équivalent de la Grande Dixence.

    Ce projet s’inscrit dans le cadre d’un plan qui a pour but de construire 50 barrages sur l’ensemble du territoire birman à l’horizon 2035. Cela fera passer les capacités hydroélectriques du pays de 3298 à 45 412 mégawatts, selon un rapport de l’International Finance Corporation. Les besoins sont immenses : seulement 40% de la population est connectée au réseau électrique.

    L’Etat y voit aussi une source de revenus. « Une bonne partie de l’électricité produite par ces barrages est destinée à être exportée vers les pays voisins, en premier lieu la #Chine et la #Thaïlande, note Mark Farmaner, le fondateur de Burma Campaign UK. Les populations locales n’en bénéficieront que très peu. » Près de 90% des 6000 mégawatts générés par le projet Myitsone dans l’Etat voisin du Kachin, suspendu depuis 2011 en raison de l’opposition de la population, iront à la province chinoise du Yunnan.

    Les plans de la Chine

    L’Upper Yeywa connaîtra sans doute un sort similaire. « Le barrage est relativement proche de la frontière chinoise, note Charm Tong, de la Shan Human Rights Foundation. Y exporter son électricité représenterait un débouché naturel. » L’Etat de Shan se trouve en effet sur le tracé du corridor économique que Pékin cherche à bâtir à travers la Birmanie, entre le Yunnan et la baie du Bengale, dans le cadre de son projet « #Belt_&_Road ».

    Le barrage Upper Yeywa y est affilié. Il compte deux entreprises chinoises parmi ses constructeurs, #Yunnan_Machinery Import & Export et #Zhejiang_Orient_Engineering. Le suisse Stucky œuvre à leurs côtés. Fondé en 1926 par l’ingénieur Alfred Stucky, ce bureau installé à Renens est spécialisé dans la conception de barrages.

    Il a notamment contribué à l’ouvrage turc #Deriner, l’un des plus élevés du monde. Il a aussi pris part à des projets en #Angola, en #Iran, en #Arabie_saoudite et en #République_démocratique_du_Congo. Depuis 2013, il appartient au groupe bâlois #Gruner.

    Le chantier du barrage, désormais à moitié achevé, occupe les berges escarpées de la rivière. Elles ont été drapées d’une coque de béton afin d’éviter les éboulements. De loin, on dirait que la #montagne a été grossièrement taillée à la hache. L’ouvrage, qui fera entre 97 et 102 mètres, aura une capacité de 320 mégawatts.

    Son #coût n’a pas été rendu public. « Mais rien que ces deux dernières années, le gouvernement lui a alloué 7,4 milliards de kyats (5 millions de francs) », indique Htun Nyan, un parlementaire local affilié au NLD, le parti au pouvoir de l’ancienne Prix Nobel de la paix Aung San Suu Kyi. Une partie de ces fonds proviennent d’un prêt chinois octroyé par #Exim_Bank, un établissement qui finance la plupart des projets liés à « Belt & Road ».

    Zone de conflit

    Pour atteindre le hameau de #Nawng_Kwang, à une vingtaine de kilomètres au nord du barrage, il faut emprunter un chemin de terre cabossé qui traverse une forêt de teck. Cinq hommes portant des kalachnikovs barrent soudain la route. Cette région se trouve au cœur d’une zone de #conflit entre #milices ethniques.

    Les combats opposent le #Restoration_Council_of_Shan_State (#RCSS), affilié à l’#armée depuis la conclusion d’un cessez-le-feu, et le #Shan_State_Progress_Party (#SSPP), proche de Pékin. Nos hommes font partie du RCSS. Ils fouillent la voiture, puis nous laissent passer.

    Nam Kham Sar, une jeune femme de 27 ans aux joues recouvertes de thanaka, une pâte jaune que les Birmans portent pour se protéger du soleil, nous attend à Nawng Kwang. Elle a perdu son mari Ar Kyit en mai 2016. « Il a été blessé au cou par des miliciens alors qu’il ramenait ses buffles », relate-t-elle. Son frère et son cousin sont venus le chercher, mais les trois hommes ont été interceptés par des soldats de l’armée régulière.

    « Ils ont dû porter l’eau et les sacs à dos des militaires durant plusieurs jours, relate-t-elle. Puis, ils ont été interrogés et torturés à mort. » Leurs corps ont été brûlés. « Mon fils avait à peine 10 mois lorsque son papa a été tué », soupire Nam Kham Sar, une larme coulant le long de sa joue.

    Vider les campagnes ?

    La plupart des hameaux alentour subissent régulièrement ce genre d’assaut. En mai 2016, cinq hommes ont été tués par des soldats dans le village voisin de Wo Long. L’armée a aussi brûlé des maisons, pillé des vivres et bombardé des paysans depuis un hélicoptère. En août 2018, des villageois ont été battus et enfermés dans un enclos durant plusieurs jours sans vivres ; d’autres ont servi de boucliers humains aux troupes pour repérer les mines.

    Les résidents en sont convaincus : il s’agit d’opérations de #nettoyage destinées à #vider_les_campagnes pour faire de la place au barrage. « Ces décès ne sont pas des accidents, assure Tun Win, un parlementaire local. L’armée cherche à intimider les paysans. » Une trentaine de militaires sont stationnés en permanence sur une colline surplombant le barrage, afin de le protéger. En mars 2018, ils ont abattu deux hommes circulant à moto.

    Dans la population, la colère gronde. Plusieurs milliers de manifestants sont descendus dans la rue à plusieurs reprises à #Hsipaw, la ville la plus proche du barrage. Les habitants de Ta Long ont aussi écrit une lettre à la première ministre Aung San Suu Kyi, restée sans réponse. En décembre, une délégation de villageois s’est rendue à Yangon. Ils ont délivré une lettre à sept ambassades, dont celle de Suisse, pour dénoncer le barrage.

    « L’#hypocrisie de la Suisse »

    Contacté, l’ambassadeur helvétique Tim Enderlin affirme n’avoir jamais reçu la missive. « Cette affaire concerne une entreprise privée », dit-il, tout en précisant que « l’ambassade encourage les entreprises suisses en Birmanie à adopter un comportement responsable, surtout dans les zones de conflit ».

    La Shan Human Rights Foundation dénonce toutefois « l’hypocrisie de la Suisse qui soutient le #processus_de_paix en Birmanie mais dont les entreprises nouent des partenariats opportunistes avec le gouvernement pour profiter des ressources situées dans des zones de guerre ».

    La conseillère nationale socialiste Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, qui préside l’Association Suisse-Birmanie, rappelle que l’#initiative_pour_des_multinationales_responsables, sur laquelle le Conseil national se penchera jeudi prochain, « introduirait des obligations en matière de respect des droits de l’homme pour les firmes suisses ». Mardi, elle posera une question au Conseil fédéral concernant l’implication de Stucky dans le barrage Upper Yeywa.

    Contactée, l’entreprise n’a pas souhaité s’exprimer. D’autres sociétés se montrent plus prudentes quant à leur image. Fin janvier, le bureau d’ingénierie allemand #Lahmeyer, qui appartient au belge #Engie-Tractebel, a annoncé qu’il se retirait du projet et avait « rompu le contrat » le liant au groupe vaudois.

    #Suisse #barrage_hydroélectrique #géographie_du_plein #géographie_du_vide #extractivisme
    ping @aude_v @reka

  • Das Regime in Eritrea ist so repressiv wie vor dem Friedensschluss mit Äthiopien

    Das Land am Horn von Afrika hat mit seinem Nachbarn Äthiopien nach Jahrzehnten Frieden geschlossen. Doch punkto Menschenrechte bleibt es ein repressiver Staat, wie die Uno nun analysiert hat. Und es sieht nicht so aus, als würde sich das bald ändern.

    Die Menschenrechtslage in Eritrea ist auch nach dem letztjährigen Friedensschluss mit dem Nachbarstaat Äthiopien äusserst besorgniserregend. Zu diesem Schluss kommt das Uno-Hochkommissariat für Menschenrechte. «Im vergangenen Jahr haben wir in Bezug auf die Einhaltung der Menschenrechte keine Verbesserung feststellen können», sagte Kate Gilmore, stellvertretende Uno-Menschenrechtskommissarin, letzte Woche im Menschenrechtsrat in Genf.
    «Heute so repressiv wie vor dem Friedensschluss mit Äthiopien»

    Die dringend nötige Reform des unbefristeten Nationaldienstes, zu dem alle Eritreer verpflichtet sind, sei ausgeblieben. Noch immer komme es in dessen Rahmen regelmässig zu sexueller Gewalt, Folter und Zwangsarbeit, so Gilmore. Daniela Kravetz, die Uno-Sonderberichterstatterin für Eritrea, wies zudem auf die inakzeptablen Bedingungen für Gefangene hin. Weiterhin würden Eritreer ohne Begründung und ohne Prozess während Jahren eingesperrt; Angehörige würden über den Aufenthaltsort und den Zustand der Inhaftierten oft nicht informiert. Noch immer fehle dem Land zudem ein institutioneller Rahmen, um diese Probleme überhaupt anzugehen: «Es gibt keine Verfassung, kein nationales Parlament, keine unabhängige Justiz, keine Gewaltenteilung», so Kravetz.

    Auch für Vanessa Tsehaye, die Gründerin einer NGO, hatte das Tauwetter am Horn von Afrika bisher keine Auswirkungen auf die Menschenrechtslage in Eritrea. «Das Regime ist heute so repressiv wie vor dem Friedensschluss mit Äthiopien», sagte Tsehaye vor dem Menschenrechtsrat.

    Gilmore forderte Eritrea dazu auf, die überfälligen Reformen rasch in Angriff zu nehmen. Das Argument, der unbefristete Nationaldienst müsse aufgrund des Konflikts mit Äthiopien beibehalten werden, gelte nun nicht mehr. «Der Frieden mit Äthiopien liefert jene Sicherheit, die die eritreische Regierung immer als Voraussetzung angab, um den Nationaldienst einzustellen und den Fokus von der Sicherheit auf die Entwicklung zu verlagern.» Sollte es diesbezüglich keine Fortschritte geben, sei ein Ende des Flüchtlingsstroms aus Eritrea nicht abzusehen, so die stellvertretende Uno-Menschenrechtskommissarin.

    Tesfamicael Gerahtu, der Vertreter Asmaras, ging auf die geäusserte Kritik kaum ein. «Die Erwartung gewisser Kritiker, dass sich Dinge über Nacht ändern, ist unrealistisch», sagte er. Es sei falsch, den Nationaldienst als «moderne Sklaverei» zu bezeichnen. Vielmehr solle die internationale Gemeinschaft anerkennen, dass dieser das «nationale Überleben in einer Zeit von Feindseligkeit» sichergestellt habe. Es sei, fügte Gerahtu hinzu, nicht angezeigt, die eritreische Regierung zu harsch zu kritisieren: «Es wäre kontraproduktiv, Druck auf Eritrea auszuüben.»
    Unerfüllte Hoffnungen

    Äthiopien und Eritrea hatten im vergangenen Jahr nach fast zwei Jahrzehnten Frieden geschlossen. In der Folge keimte die Hoffnung, dass sich die Menschenrechtslage in Eritrea verbessern würde. Letzten Herbst ist Eritrea zudem dem Uno-Menschenrechtsrat beigetreten.

    Schon im Januar hat die Uno indes darauf hingewiesen, dass wesentliche Fortschritte im Menschenrechtsbereich bis dato ausgeblieben sind. Weiterhin verwehrt Asmara zudem der Uno-Sonderberichterstatterin Kravetz die Einreise ins Land.


    #COI #Erythrée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #répression #paix (well...) #Ethiopie #processus_de_paix

    • Amid border wrangles, Eritreans wrestle with staying or going

      An unexpected rapprochement last year between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the subsequent opening of the border, seemed to offer hope of a more lenient approach toward freedom of movement by the repressive Eritrean government.

      #frontières #ouverture_des_frontières #frontières_ouvertes

    • Why are Eritreans fleeing their country?

      Eritrea has accused the UN’s refugee agency of forcibly relocating some of its citizens stranded in Libya to Niger.

      In the past decade, thousands of Eritreans looking to improve their lives in Europe have become stranded in Libya.

      Detained during their illegal transit or rescued from drowning in the Mediterranean, refugees are sent to detention centres.

      But the battle for control of the capital Tripoli has left them exposed to the dangers of war with some going days without food.

      The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has intervened and relocated migrants to safer areas, while sending some to other countries.

      Among them, a group of 159 Eritrean nationals were sent to Niger before being relocated to a third country.

      And that hasn’t gone down well with Eritrea’s government.

      But what would happen if those Eritreans went back home?

      And is the country’s unlimited national service, a reason why many fled?

      Presenter: Richelle Carey


      #Suleiman_Hussein - Chairperson of Citizens for Democratic Rights in Eritrea

      #Fisseha_Teklae - Researcher for the Horn of Africa for Amnesty International

      Marie-Roger Biloa - Chief executive officer of MRB Networks


    • "Für die Menschen in Eritrea hat sich nichts geändert"

      Eritrea geht harsch gegen die katholische Minderheit vor - vermutlich weil Bischöfe demokratische Reformen gefordert hatten. Im Gespräch zeigt sich der eritreische Priester Mussie Zerai besorgt über die Lage in seiner Heimat.

      Seit Jahren gehört Eritrea weltweit zu den Ländern, aus denen die meisten Menschen flüchten: Allein im Jahr 2018 stellten laut Uno-Flüchtlingswerk UNHCR 42.000 Eritreer Asylanträge. Das kleine Land am Horn von Afrika gilt als repressive Diktatur und wird seit seiner Unabhängigkeit 1993 in Alleinherrschaft von Präsident Isayas Afewerki regiert. Der Uno-Menschenrechtsrat wirft dem Regime regelmäßig schwere Menschenrechtsverletzungen vor.

      Vor einem Jahr schloss Eritrea ein historisches Friedensabkommen mit dem Nachbarland Äthiopien, viele hofften danach auf Reformen. Im Interview mit SPIEGEL ONLINE spricht der eritreische Priester Mussie Zerai darüber, warum sich für die Menschen in seiner Heimat trotzdem nichts verändert hat.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Herr Mussie Zerai, die eritreische Regierung hat vergangenen Monat alle 21 katholischen Krankenhäuser im Land schließen lassen. Warum?

      Mussie Zerai: Das Regime in Eritrea bezeichnet sich selbst als kommunistisch und lehnt Religionen grundsätzlich ab. Nur der Staat soll die Autorität über alle Bereiche der Gesellschaft haben. Zwar wird die katholische Kirche geduldet, aber besonders wenn sie anfängt, sich sozial zu engagieren und Freiheitsrechte einzufordern, ist das dem Regime ein Dorn im Auge.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Was haben die Kirchen denn konkret getan?

      Zerai: Die katholischen Bischöfe in Eritrea haben an Ostern einen offenen Brief veröffentlicht, in dem sie Gewalt und Ungerechtigkeit im Land beschreiben und Reformen einfordern. Eigentlich müssen alle Publikationen in Eritrea von der staatlichen Zensurkommission freigegeben werden. Die Bischöfe haben sich dem aber widersetzt und den Brief einfach per E-Mail und über soziale Netzwerke verbreitet. Das hat den Präsidenten sehr verärgert. Die Schließung der Krankenhäuser war die Rache dafür.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Nur etwa fünf Prozent der Menschen in Eritrea sind katholisch. Wieso hat die Regierung Angst vor der Kirche?

      Zerai: Die katholische Kirche ist weltweit vernetzt und hat Beziehungen, die bis nach Rom reichen. Vor diesem internationalen Einfluss hat der Diktator in Eritrea Angst. Außerdem fürchtet er, zu wenig Kontrolle über die Kirche zu haben, weil sie viele soziale Einrichtungen im Land betreibt: Krankenhäuser und Schulen zum Beispiel. Deshalb sind Christen immer wieder Repressionen ausgesetzt. Leute werden verhaftet, nur weil sie öffentlich beten oder zum Gottesdienst gehen. Das Oberhaupt der orthodoxen Kirche in Eritrea, Abune Antonios, steht seit 14 Jahren unter Hausarrest.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Vor einem Jahr haben Eritrea und Äthiopien nach Jahrzehnten des Kriegszustandes einen Friedensvertrag abgeschlossen. Viele haben gehofft, dass sich die Menschenrechtslage in Eritrea dadurch verbessert. Ist nichts passiert?

      Zerai: Leider nein. Für die Menschen in Eritrea hat sich nichts geändert. Es gibt weiterhin den Militärdienst, der Menschen auf Lebenszeit zwingt, für den Staat zu arbeiten - ohne richtig dafür bezahlt zu werden. Politische Gefangene und inhaftierte Journalisten wurden nicht freigelassen. Unsere Verfassung ist immer noch nicht in Kraft getreten. Außerdem steigt die Armut im Land, weil das Regime jede Form der Privatwirtschaft unterbindet. Deshalb fliehen immer noch so viele Eritreer, gerade in der jungen Bevölkerung. Die Menschen sind sehr wütend.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Trotzdem gibt es keine Demonstrationen im Land?

      Zerai: Öffentliche Versammlungen sind in Eritrea verboten. Sobald mehrere Leute auf der Straße zusammenstehen, kommt die Polizei. Außerdem herrscht ein großes Misstrauen zwischen den Leuten, weil der staatliche Geheimdienst überall präsent ist. In den vergangenen 20 Jahren sind mehr als 10.000 Menschen verschwunden. Die Leute haben Angst, niemand vertraut dem anderen. Das macht es sehr schwierig, Proteste zu organisieren.

      SPIEGEL ONLINE: Fürchten Sie, dass das Regime in Zukunft weiter gegen die Kirche vorgeht?

      Zerai: Ja, wir haben Angst, dass der Staat als Nächstes die katholischen Bildungseinrichtungen schließt. Es gibt etwa 50 Schulen und mehr als 100 Kindergärten in Eritrea, die von der Kirche geführt werden. Gerade in ländlichen Gegenden sind das oft die einzigen Bildungseinrichtungen, die es gibt. Wenn die wegfallen, dann können viele Kinder im Land nicht mehr zur Schule gehen.


    • Eritreans wait in vain for change after peace with Ethiopia

      Eritrean taxi driver Mihreteab recalls brimming with hope in July 2018 when his country reached a peace agreement with neighbour and longtime foe Ethiopia.

      But a year and a half later, that hope has given way to disenchantment.

      “I don’t see any changes so far. People are still in jail and life is the same,” he said while waiting for passengers on a main avenue in Asmara.

      Like other ordinary Eritreans who spoke to an AFP journalist during a rare visit to the famously closed-off country, Mihreteab asked that his full name not be published.

      On the streets of the Eritrean capital, he was far from alone in feeling disillusioned.

      “I like my country and I think you are also enjoying your stay. However, life is still the same for me,” said Tekie, a small trader who sells home appliances at a market in the city centre.

      Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a deadly border war beginning in 1998 that claimed nearly 80,000 lives before a stalemate took hold in 2000 and lasted nearly two decades.

      Last year’s surprise peace deal remains the signature achievement of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and is the main reason he received this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

      During the whip-fast rapprochement that followed, embassies reopened, flights resumed and meetings were held across the region.

      But progress has since stalled and the land border between the two nations is once again closed.

      Inside Eritrea, speculation that peace would spur reforms and ease years of repression has so far proved misguided.

      The regime of Isaias Afwerki, the only president Eritrea has ever known, has given no sign of any kind of political opening, and the situation may in fact be getting worse.

      In June, officials ordered the closure of Catholic-run health centres after church leaders published a letter expressing concern over the lack of reforms.

      There are also reports of a new wave of attempts to nationalise private schools.

      Nevertheless, ordinary Eritreans appear to appreciate Abiy’s peacemaking efforts, and the Ethiopian leader seems genuinely popular on the streets of Asmara.

      “He’s a good man and really deserved the Nobel,” said Nigisti, a handicrafts vendor.

      –‘One day life will change’-

      Even if the hoped-for benefits of peace haven’t materialised, some Eritreans remain optimistic.

      Nazret, who sells cereal in Asmara, is among them.

      “The peace deal gives me hope that one day life will change. Peace is important for us,” she said.

      Buying vegetables nearby, Netsunet said she also chose to focus on the positive.

      Born in Ethiopia in 1982 to parents of Eritrean origin, she was forced out during the war and has spent half her life in a country she does not consider her own.

      She prefers not to dwell on the moment she was “separated by force” from Ethiopia, and said she is grateful that now she has an opportunity to return.

      “At least today, we can fly to see each other,” she said. “I plan to visit my old neighbours in Ethiopia in December.”

      Eritrean officials argue that it’s wrong to suggest nothing has changed in Eritrea.

      Instead, they say the pace of reform has been deliberately slow to preserve their country’s sovereignty.

      Last week, Asmara hosted a summit for the Addis Ababa-based United Nations Economic Commission for Africa that drew delegates from across the region.

      According to Mohammed Gumhed, a researcher at the Eritrean foreign ministry, this kind of event “could not have happened before the peace deal”.

      –A ‘new chapter’?-

      During his opening remarks at the conference, Eritrean Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed declared that a wave of hope and unity was washing over the Horn of Africa after decades of conflict.

      He emphasised Eritrea’s progress in expanding access to health services, water, education and transportation.

      Addressing criticism of Isaias’ iron-fisted rule during a briefing with conference delegates, Ghetachew Merhatsion, who works in the president’s office, said Isaias was merely respecting the will of the people.

      “We see multi-party systems in many African countries and that is good for democracy. However for now Eritreans have decided to have only one party and we are making progress,” he said.

      Alem Kibreab, director-general at Eritrea’s Ministry of Energy and Mines, held out hope that the peace deal could change how the world sees Eritrea and how international investors engage with the country.

      “Who would invest when there is no peace? Now a new chapter is beginning,” he said.

      Asked about progress on reopening the two countries’ land border, Ambassador Tesfamicael Gerahtu, an official at the Eritrean foreign ministry, predicted that the main crossings would soon be reopened, though he said this would have to wait until “implementation of the agreement is finalised”.

      “The dialogues are at an advanced stage and we hope it will soon be declared,” he said.


    • Fuggire la pace. L’Eritrea ad un anno dallo storico accordo di pace con l’Etiopia

      In Europa, l’accordo di pace tra Etiopia ed Eritrea è stato festeggiato come una svolta inaspettata: la prova che le autorità eritree avevano finalmente voltato pagina, un’occasione unica per riconciliarsi con il regime di Afewerkie. Fondi firmati EU sono stati già stanziati per realizzazione di grandi opere, ma l’aria che si respira ad Asmara è decisamente meno entusiasmante. Mentre il numero di persone in fuga dal servizio nazionale si è quadruplicato, i confini con l’Etiopia sono stati nuovamente chiusi e la sensazione di asfissia è tornata ad impadronirsi delle strade in stile modernista di Asmara. Dalla capitale Asmara alla regione di confine del Tigrai Nancy Porsia e la fotografa Cinzia Canneri ci raccontano un’altra Eritrea, quella che non crede alla «pace esterna».

      Con lo sguardo incollato sulla stradina sterrata che conduce verso uno dei palazzoni non finiti di periferia, Genet schiva le attenzioni dei passanti. La sua tunica abbondante non riesce a far passare inosservati la parrucca dal capello lungo e mesciato e il trucco molto marcato. Genet, nome di fantasia per tutelarne l’incolumità, è una prostituta e vive poco lontano dal centro di Asmara e i suoi edifici in stile modernista firmati da architetti italiani di fine Ottocento e del Ventennio, che dal 2017 sono Patrimonio Unesco.

      “Ci campo la famiglia” dice Genet, accennando un sorriso che malcela le sofferenze. In uno stanzone, suddiviso solo da tende, Genet vive con sua figlia, sua sorella e i figli, e suo fratello. Un televisore al centro della stanza e tutto intorno le pareti sono invase da poster colorati raffiguranti Gesù e i santi, come da tradizione ortodossa. In balcone un fornelletto da campeggio funge da cucina, mentre per il bagno tocca andare nell’androne dello stabile. Per questa sistemazione pagano circa 1000 Nakfa, più o meno 50 euro al mese. Una somma importante in un paese dove il salario medio è di 450 nakfa. Genet sta preparando con sua figlia la partenza. Direzione Etiopia dove il figlio più grande ha chiesto l’asilo politico già due anni prima, in fuga dal servizio nazionale.

      In migliaia fuggono ogni mese da quello che viene definito “il regime più sanguinario” d’Africa. Una volta all’estero gli eritrei raccontano storie inenarrabili di arresti e torture perpetrati con la logica di un regime che punisce chi si rifiuta di rimanere a vita al servizio dello Stato.

      Quando nel luglio del 2018 il Presidente Isaias Afewerki accettò l’offerta del neo primo ministro etiope di firmare l’accordo di pace bilaterale, gli eritrei rimasero increduli. Dal 1998 Eritrea ed Etiopia sono rimaste in guerra, o meglio in uno stato di “nessuna guerra, nessuna pace” da quando, nel 2000, l’Etiopia rifiutò le condizioni imposte da una commissione di frontiera istituita dal Tribunale dell’Aja in virtù dell’accordo di pace. Da allora in Eritrea è rimasto in vigore lo Stato di emergenza proclamato da Asmara due anni prima, e anche il limite di 18 mesi per il servizio nazionale previsto dalla costituzione del 1993, non è mai stato ripristinato.

      Eppure in giro per le principali strade del Paese, il regime non s’incontra. Nella capitale Asmara non c’è ombra di presidi militari, se non figure esili in divisa che si muovono a passo lento e con lo sguardo disinteressato di chi ha appena smontato dal turno di lavoro. Mentre donne molto anziane, con indosso abbondanti grembiuli grigio topo, spazzano i bordi dei marciapiedi della “piccola Roma”, come la chiamano i locali con una malcelata punta d’orgoglio. Con i suoi fiori rigogliosi, le ville in stile liberty, il suo ordine e la sua pulizia maniacali, Asmara restituisce tuttavia un senso di imbarazzo e asfissia. Quelle donne, che a fatica riescono a tirarsi dietro il bidoncino della spazzatura a loro assegnato, fanno parte dell’esercito ‘non armato’ del servizio nazionale eritreo, così come chi insegna a scuola, mette timbri in aeroporto, o fa il minatore, l’ingegnere e l’architetto.

      Su viale della Libertà, che taglia il centro storico da parte a parte, sono in tante le donne sedute agli angoli dei marciapiedi che con i loro figli mendicano. “L’accattonaggio è severamente vietato qui, ma da qualche tempo la gente ha preso coraggio e chiede l’elemosina. La gente qui ha fame” ci dice un insegnante incontrato in un caffè sempre piantonato da mendicanti.

      “La pace è un buon inizio” esordisce Solomon, ancora stupito di parlare con degli europei. Solomon lavora in un ufficio governativo da sei anni ad Asmara, e negli orari extra ufficio guida il suo taxi in giro per la capitale: “Per arrotondare” spiega. Poi racconta “Mio cugino è andato via due anni fa, ora è in Germania. E’ passato per il Sudan, Libia, e poi ha preso la via del mare”. La sua voce è bassa. Solomon sa che in patria chi scappa è un disertore, e che parlare dei disertori è pericoloso. Sorride come per prendere la rincorsa, e tutto d’un fiato ci dice “Io vorrei presto sposarmi, ma con lo stipendio del servizio nazionale non riuscirò mai a costruirmi un futuro”. L’ha detto, si è sbilanciato, ha superato la cortina di silenzio imposta dalla paura di un arresto.

      Eppure le sue parole non sanno di protesta. In Eritrea è vietato protestare. Ci si arrangia e quando non ce la si fa, s’impara a sopportare la fame. Chi scappa dal regime di Isaias Afewerki, l’ex guerrigliero che combatté per l’indipendenza dell’Eritrea e dal 1993 Presidente-dittatore, in patria è un traditore. E lo è anche per chi resta, almeno nelle conversazioni in pubblico.

      In Eritrea è difficile sentirsi al sicuro dagli occhi e le orecchie indiscreti del sistema. La connessione dati sul cellulare non esiste, e per connettersi alla rete tocca comprare qualche giga in uno degli internet point dove la massa di corpi non lascia spazio alla privacy. “La rete di informatori è fittissima” ci dice un ex giornalista che nel 2009, in quella che nel paese è passata alla storia come la seconda tornata più importante di repressione politica per via di arresti eccellenti contro la stampa, lasciò Asmara. Da allora è in una sorta di ritiro nella sua capanna di zinco alla periferia di Massawa. La città sul Mar Rosso che a fine Ottocento fu anche la capitale della colonia italiana, ancora oggi si presenta come un teatro post-bellico. Sul viale principale alcuni ragazzi scattano selfie davanti ai quattro carri armati etiopi, che gli eritrei catturarono durante la guerra di Liberazione che si protrasse dal 1961 per trenta anni. Nel centro città gli edifici di epoca romana sono distrutti e abbandonati. Una legge ne impedisce l’occupazione. Tutto intorno i corvi fanno da padrone sulle bidonville dove la gente comune vive. Solo i camion che trasportano i metalli preziosi, e fanno la spola tra il porto e la capitale, restituiscono un senso di vitalità.

      Nonostante la fine della guerra fredda con l’Etiopia, la politica di repressione del Presidente Afewerki a livello domestico è rimasta identica a sé stessa. Il servizio nazionale a tempo indefinito è ancora in vigore, e nessun prigioniero politico è stato rilasciato. Nessuna notizia si ha ancora dei politici e dei giornalisti arrestati nel corso di una retata nel 2001, né del Ministero delle Finanze, Berhane Abreh, arrestato nel settembre del 2018 dopo aver pubblicato un libro con cui esortava i giovani eritrei a manifestare per uno stato di diritto in patria.

      “La pace esterna” la chiamano gli eritrei all’estero, commentando l’accordo di pace che Asmara ha firmato con Addis Abeba. E gli eritrei continuano a scappare dalla fame prima, e dalle torture nelle carceri poi. Non si contano le migliaia di eritrei in prigione. Una sorta di gioco a ‘guardia e ladri’ in cui uomini e donne poco più che adolescenti vengono chiamati a servire il paese, accettano, resistono anni patendo stenti e umiliazioni, poi scappano, vengono riacciuffati, restano per qualche anno in galera, vengono rimessi in libertà ma a condizione di tornare a servire il paese. Tornano a lavorare per lo Stato, anche nelle miniere lungo la costa dove società straniere rivendicano estraneità allo sfruttamento dei lavoratori rimandando ogni responsabilità al Governo di Asmara, loro partner ufficiale. Dopo qualche anno di servizio, gli stessi già precedentemente arrestati, fuggono per essere nuovamente riacciuffati. Ancora anni di prigione, torture e poi rimessi in libertà. A questo punto però hanno messo su famiglia, non ce la fanno a dare da mangiare ai propri figli con quanto garantisce lo Stato durante il servizio, e quindi decidono che è arrivato il momento di scappare. Una volta non pervenuti al servizio, sono le loro mogli o i loro figli ad essere cercati e imprigionati. Uno schema sempre identico a sé stesso. Secondo il rapporto 2019 di Human Rights Watch (HRW) sull’Eritrea, il servizio nazionale infinito è da considerarsi alla stregua di una forma di schiavitù, e rimane il motivo principale di fuga dal Paese.

      Quando il regime di Afewerki ha aperto il confine con l’Etiopia nel settembre del 2018, il numero delle persone in fuga, alla ricerca di asilo nel paese confinante, si è quadruplicato, secondo il rapporto della Commissione Europea per la Protezione Civile Europea e le Operazioni di Sostegno Umanitario (ECHO).

      Nei campi profughi a Nord dell’Etiopia, organizzazioni non governative e agenzie internazionali hanno dovuto tirare su decine di migliaia di baracche in alluminio nuove di zecca per far fronte al grande esodo. Questo perché al momento della firma dell’accordo di pace, il regime di Asmara non ha fatto alcun cenno alla revoca dello stato di emergenza o al ripristino dei 18 mesi per il servizio nazionale, né al rilascio dei prigionieri politici all’indomani della firma dell’accordo di pace con l’Etiopia.

      “Da settimane Asmara ha chiuso di nuovo la frontiera di Humera e gli eritrei scappano a nuoto come prima” commenta già in aprile uno dei trafficanti ad Humera, città etiope al confine con l’Etiopia e il Sudan. Accovacciato sulla riva del fiume Tekeze che disegna il confine tra i tre paesi, osserva un uomo che da ore fa la spola tra la sponda eritrea, a Nord, e quella etiope. Un eritreo – ci spiega – è andato disperso mentre tentava di attraversare il fiume. E uno dei passatori ora cerca il suo corpo perché sua madre ha promesso una ricompensa per chi riuscirà a restituirglielo.

      Lungo il fiume Takaze sono un paio le squadre di passatori, ognuna ha un capo che decide di volta in volta a chi tocca affrontare la traghettata. Con una mano impegnata nella presa sulla zattera fatta di taniche legate con dello spago, i passatori nuotano contro corrente da una sponda all’altra del fiume solo con un braccio.

      Nei giorni in cui il valico di frontiera a Humera era aperto, centinaia di eritrei si sono accalcati lungo le sponde del fiume Tekeze. “Pagavano fino a 300 dollari per ognuno” dice uno dei passatori del Tekeze. “Dicevano di non voler stare nei campi qui in Etiopia, e puntavano al Sudan, poi Libia. Insomma avevano fretta di raggiungere l’Europa” ricorda l’uomo. “Comunque ora la frontiera qui è chiusa, e pure in Libia non si passa” spiega il passatore del Tekeze.

      All’imbrunire un ragazzo sopraggiunge con una coppia tra le rocce in riva al fiume, scambia poche battute con il trafficante di turno e si dilegua. “E’ uno degli smuggler eritrei che lavorano in zona, e quei due che sono saliti sulla zattera sono eritrei in fuga. Vanno in Sudan” spiega a bassa voce uno dei Caronte del Tekeze mentre mastica del tumbako, droga locale molto popolare.

      Nel campo Mai Aini, uno dei tanti che segnano il confine tra Eritrea e Etiopia, un uomo racconta le torture subite in prigione per aver defezionato dopo sette anni di servizio nazionale come militare al confine. “Sono rimasto sul fronte per sette anni, poi sono scappato. Mi hanno preso e buttato in prigione per cinque anni” dice Mikael mostrando i segni di tortura subiti durante la detenzione. Unghie strappate, frustate sulla schiena fanno parte della lunga lista di torture subite, ricorda mentre resta seduto sul gradino della sua casa nel campo, mentre sua moglie allatta la loro bimba di un mese, nata nella casetta di fango e paglia in cui vivono da alcuni mesi.

      A fare da cordone intorno ai rifugiati resta la comunità locale etiope. Nel Tigrai la popolazione fa parte della stessa etnia degli eritrei, tutti tigrini appunto. All’indomani del grande plauso da parte della comunità internazionale nei confronti del primo ministro Abiy Ahmed Ali per lo storico accordo di pace, qui la solidarietà verso i fratelli eritrei passa per una più complessa lotta per il potere tra le varie etnie nella capitale di Addis Abeba. Abiy fa parte dell’etnia degli oromo mentre il suo predecessore, l’ex premier Hailé Mariàm Desalegn, è un tigrino. Quest’ultimo fu costretto a dimettersi in seguito allo scoppio di violente rivolte da parte degli oromo, etnia di maggioranza nel paese. Nel nord del Paese la scorsa estate si sono registrati omicidi eccellenti di uomini vicini al nuovo primo ministro. E quando lo scorso ottobre, il braccio destro di Abiy, Jawar Mohammed, ha denunciato di essere scampato ad un attentato, gli oromo sono scesi in strada a suo sostegno, e da lì a poco anche i tigrini hanno occupato le piazze in diverse città. La tensione è degenerata in scontri in cui sono morti 67 manifestanti.

      “Come fa il primo ministro a stringere la mano ad un dittatore come Afewerki?” ci chiede un ragazzo molto giovane che da anni lavora come guida turistica a Shirè, una delle città più importanti del Tigrai. Tra i rifugiati eritrei serpeggia la paura che l’accordo di pace possa di fatto tradursi in una revisione del loro status di rifugiati in Etiopia.

      Tuttavia negli ultimi mesi i numeri dei nuovi arrivi in Tigrai si sono significativamente ridotti. Da aprile tutti i confini restano chiusi. Neanche i camion merci passano più. E la sensazione di asfissia torna ad impadronirsi delle strade in stile modernista di Asmara, mentre l’Unione Europea decide che la firma dell’accordo di pace con l’Etiopia basti come prova da parte del Governo di Afewerki di aver cambiato pagina, e di aver finalmente operato la svolta progressista che ci si attendeva. Fondi firmati EU sono stati già stanziati per realizzazione di grandi opere in Eritrea. Evidente l’Unione Europea aspettava l’occasione per riconciliarsi con il dittatore, anche al costo dell’oblio delle centinaia di storie di uomini e donne che da vent’anni fuggono torture e inenarrabili sofferenze.


    • L’espoir renaît dans la Corne de l’Afrique

      En juin 2018, fraîchement élu, le Premier ministre éthiopien #Abiy_Ahmed annonce accepter l’#accord_frontalier signé avec l’Érythrée en 2000. Cette décision historique met un terme à deux décennies d’hostilités. Une décision saluée par la communauté internationale et couronnée cette année par le prix Nobel de la paix.

      Après l’indépendance officielle de l’Érythrée en 1993, les tensions avec l’Éthiopie se cristallisent en 1998 à la frontière entre les deux pays, dont le tracé reste flou : l’Éthiopie accuse son voisin d’avoir violé son territoire en envahissant la petite ville de #Badmé. La guerre est déclarée, causant près de 80’000 morts. L’accord de paix signé en 2000 à Alger se révèle précaire, et deux ans plus tard, la commission indépendante chargée de délimiter une nouvelle frontière attribue la bourgade symbolique de Badmé à l’Érythrée. En premier lieu, l’Éthiopie rejette ces conclusions, continuant ainsi à alimenter les tensions. Un revirement de situation s’opère en juin 2018 lorsque, fraîchement élu (début avril), le Premier ministre éthiopien, Abiy Ahmed, annonce renoncer à Badmé et accepter l’accord frontalier. Cette décision historique, qui a mis un terme à deux décennies d’hostilités, est saluée par la communauté internationale, et couronnée par l’attribution du prix Nobel de la paix cette année.
      Le documentariste Thomas Aders explore les rouages et les enjeux d’un processus de pacification aussi complexe que fragile, qui fait souffler un vent d’espoir sur la Corne de l’Afrique.

      #film #documentaire

    • L’esodo infinito degli eritrei. Nel limbo dei campi al confine: “Per noi non c’è pace”

      REPORTAGE dal #Tigray, zona di confine. Al primo ministro Abiy Ahmed Ali il premio Nobel per la pace, ma per chi vive sotto il regime di Afewerki la situazione non è cambiata. Si continua a scappare: in Etiopia il numero di rifugiati sfiora il milione. Da qui partito anche il primo corridoio dall’Africa di Caritas e Cei.

      La strada di terra arsa che si perde all’orizzonte è intervallata solo da qualche curva, alcune costruzioni di mattoni e una collina: a destra c’è Mereb il fiume che segna il confine, a sinistra Badamè, la zona contesa per oltre vent’anni. “Lì dopo quella curva c’è l’Eritrea: le persone passano da lì, attraversano la frontiera a piedi, ogni giorno. Camminano fino a Dabaguna, dove c’è il primo centro e lì vengono registrati. Ci sono quindi ingressi circa, si stimano fino a circa 300 passaggi al giorno”, dice Alganesh Feassaha, presidente della Fondazione Gandhi, che ci accompagna nel viaggio insieme agli operatori di Caritas Italiana. Un esodo continuo, che neanche i recenti accordi di pace hanno arrestato, anzi da quando si sono aperti i confini, a scappare è un numero maggiore di persone. Siamo nella zona del Tigray, a venti chilometri da Shire. Qui ci sono almeno 164 mila profughi, in maggioranza eritrei, nei quattro campi ufficiali e nel campo di smistamento dell’Unhcr. “Doctor Aganesh” come la chiamano qui, continua a rivolgere lo sguardo oltre la collina, al suo paese, in cui da oltre 27 anni non può rientrare. “Penso di essere un ospite non gradita, diciamo così. Ma mi manca tanto, non vedo l’ora di rientrare”, dice. Attivista, medico ayurvedico, nel Giardino dei Giusti a Tunisi un albero porta il suo nome per ricordare la sua incessante attività di aiuto verso i migranti, non solo al confine con l’Eritrea ma anche in Libia e nel Sinai. Nel campo di May Haini la sua ong si occupa di assicurare almeno un pasto al giorno ai bambini presenti. Il campo conta più di 20 mila persone, che vivono nelle tende, ma anche in casolari di mattoni e lamiere. Il tempo di permanenza è infinito, si può restare qui anche 10 anni.

      Secondo l’ultimo rapporto di Unhcr, in Etiopia ci sono quasi un milione (905,831) di rifugiati: un numero altissimo, tanto da risultare il secondo paese africano dopo l’Uganda. Solo nella zona del Tigray ci sono circa 170 mila persone, in gran parte scappate dal regime di Isaias Afewerki. “I campi più grandi sono quello di Mai Aini e Aidi Arush - spiega Oliviero Forti, responsabile immigrazione di Caritas italiana -. Le persone vivono qui, ormai da anni, con grandi difficoltà anche rispetto alla popolazione locale, perché avere numeri così alti nei campi significa gravare sulla comunità locale. Bisogna trovare le vie per alleggerire questa accoglienza - aggiunge -. L’Etiopia non è un paese che potrà proseguire con questi sforzi perché i costi, sia economici che sociali, sono elevati”.

      In una delle case di cemento incontro due ragazze appena arrivate, preparano il caffè. “Veniamo da Asmara, abbiamo passato il confine una settimana fa - dicono - per ora siamo qui nel campo, poi proviamo ad andare ad Addis Abeba”. Nella casa affianco si entra passando un piccolo cancello: nel cortile improvvisato, un filo tirato tiene su i panni stesi di bambini molto piccoli, uno zaino. Per terra, vicino alle mura ci sono alcuni sacchi, a cui una capra attinge per mangiare. “Sono eritrea, nel mio paese ero un’insegnante - racconta Farah -. Sono andata via dal paese per raggiungere mio marito, che è stato costretto a scappare, e ora è in Canada. Qui ci siamo io e i nostri tre bambini - aggiunge - non è facile, perché non è il nostro paese e le condizioni non sono ottime. Ma speriamo di ricongiungerci con lui al più presto”.

      Davanti all’ingresso del campo, sotto il manifesto di Unhcr che recita “working together to prevent suicide”, decine di persone si ammassano in fila. Oltre a chi scappa da Asmara, c’è chi arriva dal Sudan e dalla Somalia. “La frontiera è lunga e pericolosa, anche mortale, ci sono dei fiumi da attraversare e per molti il viaggio è particolarmente difficile - aggiunge Forti -. Quando riescono ad arrivare, vengono smistati in questi campi attrezzati. Ma il tempo di permanenza è molto variabile: c’è chi rimane anche oltre 10 anni. Molti giovani sono nati qui e continuano a vivere in attesa di una risposta. Ma più i tempi si allungano più si affievoliscono le speranze di trovare un’alternativa. E questo spinge molti a pensare ad altre vie: in particolare la via del deserto, della Libia e del mare”.

      In molti si affidano ai trafficanti, nelle zone di confine ci sono diversi passeur che aspettano i rifugiati per offrire un passaggio a peso d’oro. Le alternative legali e sicure sono poche: i progetti di reinsediamento verso altri paesi sono numericamente risibili, negli ultimi anni si sono ridotti in particolare i programmi di resettlement verso gli Stati Uniti, per una stretta voluta dall’amministrazione Trump. Sono stati incrementati invece i programmi privati come i corridoi umanitari, ma anche questi hanno numeri ancora bassi. In particolare, il corridoio da Addis Abeba verso l’Italia, organizzato da Caritas italiana, Fondazione Gandhi e Unhcr, da protocollo prevede l’arrivo nel nostro paese di 600 persone. Il protocollo precedente ne contava 500. “Sono numeri poco significativi se pensiamo che ogni campo ha al suo interno almeno 20 mila persone - aggiunge Forti -. Ma ovviamente importanti perché permettiamo a queste persone di arrivare con una via legale e sicura”. Oltre il limbo dei campi al confine, la situazione è complicata anche nei sobborghi delle grandi città.

      A Jemo, quartiere di Addis Abeba, c’è una comunità numerosa di rifugiati cosiddetti out of camp, fuori accoglienza. Sono passati cioè dai campi ufficiali al confine per poi spostarsi in città, uscendo di fatto dall’accoglienza. Vivono in palazzi occupati e si mantengono facendo piccoli lavoretti: la legge non gli permette ancora di lavorare. Per loro - la situazione paradossalmente è peggiorata dopo la pace firmata tra Etiopia ed Eritrea: con l’apertura dei confini molti emissari del regime sono entrati nel paese, e ora chi è scappato teme di non essere al sicuro neanche qui.

      “Molti attivisti, scappati da Asmara, hanno un problema di protezione anche in un paese di primo asilo come l’Etiopia - spiega Daniele Albanese, che per Caritas italiana segue il corridoio umanitario dal Corno d’Africa, occupandosi di tutta la parte logistica. Ogni partenza ha alle spalle una lavoro di mesi, mi racconta, mentre arriviamo nel residence di Addis Abeba, dove vivono le persone beneficiarie del progetto. “Abbiamo incontrato le persone nei campi al confine, partiamo dalla segnalazione delle Nazioni Unite che ci fornisce una lista di persone vulnerabili - aggiunge -. Tutti hanno dovuto scappare e lasciare il paese in maniera traumatica. Questo, per ora, è l’unico corridoio umanitario dall’Africa. La maggior parte dei beneficiari sono eritrei perché nel paese continua la diaspora e il movimento di persone, specialmente dopo la pace con l’Etiopia l’afflusso è diventato enorme perché si sono aperti i confini. Fuori e dentro i campi alla frontiera ci sono anche tanti trafficanti che chiedono cinque o seimila euro a persona per arrivare in Europa. La rotta più battuta è quella verso la Libia. Quello che tentiamo di fare noi è offrire una testimonianza virtuosa che vorremmo diventasse sistema”.

      Il 10 dicembre scorso il primo ministro etiope Abiy Ahmed Ali ha ritirato il premio Nobel per la Pace 2019, che gli è stato conferito per l’accordo di pace raggiunto con l’Eritrea, dopo vent’anni di guerra tra i due paesi. Ma se in Etiopia i cambiamenti sembrano procedere sia dal punto di vista economico che sociale, in Eritrea non si respira un’aria nuova. “Sono scappato dopo la firma della pace tra Eritrea ed Etiopia - racconta Mehari Haile, che fa parte del gruppo partito il 29 novembre 2019-. In Eritrea il servizio militare continua a essere definitivo, io sono stato arruolato 5 anni poi non ce la facevo più, stavo impazzendo e ho lasciato. Quando si sono aperti i confini con l’Etiopia sono riuscito a scappare, lì ho lasciato mia madre. Ma ora non posso più tornare indietro. Avevo già pensato di lasciare il mio paese in modo legale, avevo ottenuto una borsa di studio a Trento e Milano ma non mi hanno mai rilasciato il passaporto. Non puoi andartene dall’Eritrea, puoi solo scappare”. E’ per questo - aggiunge - che molti provano la rotta più pericolosa, quella del mare. “Dopo la pace tra Etiopia ed Eritrea si sono aperti i confini, ma non è cambiato niente per noi - aggiunge - Sì, non c’è più la guerra, ed è una cosa positiva, ma le nostre vite sono rimaste uguali. C’è ancora un regime dittatoriale, non c’è libertà di parola e di pensiero. E’ come se fosse una pace finta. Ho dei parenti che hanno fatto la traversata via mare e mi hanno raccontato cose orribili, mi dicono che un viaggio terribile - aggiunge -. Io ho la fortuna di arrivare con un corridoio umanitario ma in tanti non hanno altra scelta”. In tutto saranno 600 i beneficiari del progetto dal Corno d’Africa in due anni.

      Redattore Sociale ha seguito l’ultimo corridoio del 29 novembre scorso (https://www.redattoresociale.it/article/notiziario/rifugiati_da_addis_abeba_a_roma_il_nostro_primo_viaggio_sicuro_), raccontando le storie delle persone pronte a partire verso nel nostro paese (https://www.redattoresociale.it/article/notiziario/una_via_sicura_dall_africa_viaggio_tra_i_profughi_che_arriveranno_i), che ora sono accolte nelle diocesi di tutta Italia. “Nessuno ha la presunzione di risolvere i grandi problemi dell’immigrazione con i corridoi umanitari: il nostro obiettivo è mandare un messaggio chiaro, vogliamo cambiare la narrativa per cambiare anche le politiche - aggiunge Oliviero Forti -. Vogliamo spingere, cioè, le istituzioni e i governi a impegnarsi realmente a realizzare vie sicure e legali, perché le persone non debbano più tentare altre rotte, che mettono a rischio la vita di migliaia di persone come quella del Mediterraneo centrale”.


  • Eritrea-Etiopia – Si tratta la pace ad Addis Abeba

    Una delegazione eritrea di alto livello è arrivata in Etiopia per il primo round di negoziati di pace in vent’anni. Il ministro degli Esteri eritreo Osman Sale è stato accolto in aeroporto dal neo premier etiopico Abiy Ahmed che, ai primi di giugno, ha sorpreso il Paese dichiarando di accettare l’Accordo di pace del 2000 che poneva fine alla guerra con l’Eritrea.

    L’Accordo, nonostante la fine dei combattimenti nel 2000, non è mai stato applicato e i rapporti tra i due Paesi sono rimasti tesi. Etiopia ed Eritrea non hanno relazioni diplomatiche e negli ultimi anni ci sono stati ripetute schermaglie militari al confine.

    #paix #Ethiopie #Erythrée #processus_de_paix

    • Peace Deal Alone Will Not Stem Flow of Eritrean Refugees

      The detente with Ethiopia has seen Eritrea slash indefinite military conscription. Researcher Cristiano D’Orsi argues that without a breakthrough on human rights, Eritreans will still flee.

      Ethiopia and Eritrea have signed a historic agreement to end the 20-year conflict between the two countries. The breakthrough has been widely welcomed given the devastating effects the conflict has had on both countries as well as the region.

      The tension between the two countries led to Eritrea taking steps that were to have a ripple effect across the region – and the world. One in particular, the conscription of young men, has had a particularly wide impact.

      Two years before formal cross-border conflict broke out in 1998, the Eritrean government took steps to maintain a large standing army to push back against Ethiopia’s occupation of Eritrean territories. Initially, troops were supposed to assemble and train for a period of 18 months as part of their national service. But, with the breakout of war, the service, which included both military personnel and civilians, was extended. All Eritrean men between the ages of 18–50 have to serve in the army for more than 20 years.

      This policy has been given as the reason for large numbers of Eritreans fleeing the country. The impact of the policy on individuals, and families, has been severe. For example, there have been cases of multiple family members being conscripted at the same time. This denied them the right to enjoy a stable family life. Children were the most heavily affected.

      It’s virtually impossible for Eritreans to return once they have left as refugees because the Eritrean government doesn’t look kindly on repatriated returnees. Those who are forced to return to the country face persecution and human rights abuses.

      In 2017, Eritreans represented the ninth-largest refugee population in the world with 486,200 people forcibly displaced. By May 2018, Eritreans represented 5 percent of the migrants who disembarked on the northern shores of the Mediterranean.

      Things look set to change, however. The latest batch of national service recruits have been told their enlistment will last no longer than 18 months. The announcement came in the midst of the dramatic thawing of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea. It has raised hopes that the service could be terminated altogether.

      With that said, it remains to be seen whether the end of hostilities between the two countries will ultimately stem the flow of Eritrean refugees.

      It’s virtually impossible for Eritreans to return once they have left as refugees because the Eritrean government doesn’t look kindly on repatriated returnees. Those who are forced to return to the country face persecution and human rights abuses.

      The Eritrean government’s hardline position has led to changes in refugee policies in countries like the UK. For example, in October 2016, a U.K. appellate tribunal held that Eritreans of draft age who left the country illegally would face the risk of persecution and abuse if they were involuntarily returned to Eritrea.

      This, the tribunal said, was in direct violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. As a result, the U.K.’s Home Office amended its immigration policy to conform to the tribunal’s ruling.

      Eritrean asylum seekers haven’t been welcome everywhere. For a long time they were persona non grata in Israel on the grounds that absconding national service duty was not justification for asylum. But in September 2016, an Israeli appeals court held that Eritreans must be given the chance to explain their reasons for fleeing at individual hearings, overruling an interior ministry policy that denied asylum to deserters.

      The situation is particularly tense for Eritreans in Israel because they represent the majority of African asylum seekers in the country. In fact, in May 2018, Israel and the United Nations refugee agency began negotiating a deal to repatriate African asylum seekers in western countries, with Canada as a primary destination.

      An earlier deal had fallen through after public pressure reportedly caused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to back out of it.

      Eritreans living as refugees in Ethiopia have been welcomed in Australia where they are one among eight nationalities that have access to a resettlement scheme known as the community support program. This empowers Australian individuals, community organizations and businesses to offer Eritrean refugees jobs if they have the skills, allowing them to settle permanently in the country.

      The government has always denied that conscription has anything to do with Eritreans fleeing the country. Two years ago it made it clear that it would not shorten the length of the mandatory national service.

      At the time officials said Eritreans were leaving the country because they were being enticed by certain “pull factors.” They argued, for example, that the need for low cost manpower in the West could easily be met by giving asylum to Eritreans who needed just to complain about the National Service to obtain asylum.

      But change is on the cards. After signing the peace deal with Ethiopia, Eritrea has promised to end the current conscription regime and announcing that national service duty will last no more than 18 months.

      Even so, the national service is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future to fulfil other parts of its mandate which are reconstructing the country, strengthening the economy, and developing a joint Eritrean identity across ethnic and religious lines.

      Eritrea is still a country facing enormous human rights violations. According to the last Freedom House report, the Eritrean government has made no recent effort to address these. The report accuses the regime of continuing to perpetrate crimes against humanity.

      If Eritrea pays more attention to upholding human rights, fewer nationals will feel the need to flee. And if change comes within Eritrean borders as fast as it did with Ethiopia, a radical shift in human rights policy could be in the works.


      #asile #réfugiés

    • Eritrea has slashed conscription. Will it stem the flow of refugees?

      Ethiopia and Eritrea have signed an historic agreement to end the 20-year conflict between the two countries. The breakthrough has been widely welcomed given the devastating effects the conflict has had on both countries as well as the region.

      The tension between the two countries led to Eritrea taking steps that were to have a ripple effect across the region – and the world. One in particular, the conscription of young men, has had a particularly wide impact.

      Two years before formal cross border conflict broke out in 1998, the Eritrean government took steps to maintain a large standing army to push back against Ethiopia’s occupation of Eritrean territories. Initially, troops were supposed to assemble and train for a period of 18 months as part of their national service. But, with the breakout of war, the service, which included both military personnel and civilians, was extended. All Eritrean men between the ages of 18 – 50 have to serve in the army for more than 20 years.

      This policy has been given as the reason for large numbers of Eritreans fleeing the country. The impact of the policy on individuals, and families, has been severe. For example, there have been cases of multiple family members being conscripted at the same time. This denied them the right to enjoy a stable family life. Children were the most heavily affected.

      In 2017, Eritreans represented the ninth-largest refugee population in the world with 486,200 people forcibly displaced. By May 2018 Eritreans represented 5% of the migrants who disembarked on the northern shores of the Mediterranean.

      Things look set to change, however. The latest batch of national service recruits have been told their enlistment will last no longer than 18 months. The announcement came in the midst of the dramatic thawing of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea. It has raised hopes that the service could be terminated altogether.

      With that said, it remains to be seen whether the end of hostilities between the two countries will ultimately stem the flow of Eritrean refugees.
      The plight of Eritrean refugees

      It’s virtually impossible for Eritreans to return once they have left as refugees because the Eritrean government doesn’t look kindly on repatriated returnees. Those who are forced to return to the country face persecution and human rights abuses.

      The Eritrean government’s hard line position has led to changes in refugee policies in countries like the UK. For example, in October 2016 a UK appellate tribunal held that Eritreans of draft age who left the country illegally would face the risk of persecution and abuse if they were involuntarily returned to Eritrea.

      This, the tribunal said, was in direct violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. As a result, the UK’s Home Office amended its immigration policy to conform to the tribunal’s ruling.

      Eritrean asylum seekers haven’t been welcome everywhere. For a long time they were persona non grata in Israel on the grounds that absconding national service duty was not justification for asylum. But in September 2016 an Israeli appeals court held that Eritreans must be given the chance to explain their reasons for fleeing at individual hearings, overruling an interior ministry policy that denied asylum to deserters.

      The situation is particularly tense for Eritreans in Israel because they represent the majority of African asylum-seekers in the country. In fact, in May 2018, Israel and the United Nations refugee agency began negotiating a deal to repatriate African asylum-seekers in western countries, with Canada as a primary destination.

      An earlier deal had fallen through after public pressure reportedly caused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to back out of it.

      Eritreans living as refugees in Ethiopia have been welcomed in Australia where they are one among eight nationalities that have access to a resettlement scheme known as the community support programme. This empowers Australian individuals, community organisations and businesses to offer Eritrean refugees jobs if they have the skills, allowing them to settle permanently in the country.
      The future

      The government has always denied that conscription has anything to do with Eritreans fleeing the country. Two years ago it made it clear that it would not shorten the length of the mandatory national service.

      At the time officials said Eritreans were leaving the country because they were being enticed by certain “pull factors”. They argued, for example, that the need for low cost manpower in the West could easily be met by giving asylum to Eritreans who needed just to complain about the National Service to obtain asylum.

      But change is on the cards. After signing the peace deal with Ethiopia, Eritrea has promised to end the current conscription regime and announcing that national service duty will last no more than 18 months.

      Even so, the national service is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future to fulfil other parts of its mandate which are reconstructing the country, strengthening he economy, and developing a joint Eritrean identity across ethnic and religious lines.

      Eritrea is still a country facing enormous human rights violations. According to the last Freedom House report, the Eritrean government has made no recent effort to address these. The report accuses the regime of continuing to perpetrate crimes against humanity.

      If Eritrea pays more attention to upholding human rights, fewer nationals will feel the need to flee. And if change comes within Eritrean borders as fast as it did with Ethiopia, a radical shift in human rights policy could be in the works.


      #conscription #service_militaire #armée

    • Out of Eritrea: What happens after #Badme?

      On 6 June 2018, the government of Ethiopia announced that it would abide by the Algiers Agreement and 2002 Eritrea-Ethiopian Boundary Commission decision that defined the disputed border and granted the border town of Badme to Eritrea. Over the last 20 years, Badme has been central to the dispute between the two countries, following Ethiopia’s rejection of the ruling and continued occupation of the area. Ethiopia’s recently appointed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed acknowledged that the dispute over Badme had resulted in 20 years of tension between the two countries. To defend the border areas with Ethiopia, in 1994 the Eritrean government introduced mandatory military service for all adults over 18. Eritrean migrants and asylum seekers often give their reason for flight as the need to escape this mandatory national service.

      Since 2015, Eritreans have been the third largest group of people entering Europe through the Mediterranean, and have the second highestnumber of arrivals through the Central Mediterranean route to Italy. According to UNHCR, by the end of 2016, 459,390 Eritreans were registered refugees in various countries worldwide. Various sources estimate Eritrea’s population at 5 million people, meaning that approximately 10% of Eritrea’s population has sought refuge abroad by 2016.
      Mandatory military service – a driver of migration and displacement

      As data collection from the Mixed Migration Centre’s Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism Initiative (4Mi) shows, 95% of Eritrean refugees and migrants surveyed gave fear of conscription into national service as their main reason for flight out of Eritrea. Men and women from 18 to 40 years old are required by law to undertake national service for 18 months — including six months of military training followed by 12 months’ deployment either in military service or in other government entities including farms, construction sites, mines and ministries.
      In reality, national service for most conscripts extends beyond the 18 months and often indefinite. There are also reported cases of children under 18 years old being forcefully recruited. Even upon completion of national service, Eritreans under the age of 50 years may been enrolled in the Reserve Army with the duty to provide reserve military service and defend the country from external attacks or invasions.

      According to Human Rights Watch, conscripts are subject to military discipline and are harshly treated and earn a salary that often ranges between USD 43 – 48 per month. The length of service is unpredictable, the type of abuse inflicted on conscripts is at the whim of military commanders and the UN Commission of inquiry on human rights in Eritrea reported on the frequent sexual abuse of female conscripts. Eritrea has no provision for conscientious objection to national service and draft evaders and deserters if arrested are subjected to heavy punishment according to Amnesty International, including lengthy periods of detention, torture and other forms of inhuman treatment including rape for women. For those who escape, relatives are forced to pay fines of 50,000 Nakfa (USD 3,350) for each family member. Failure to pay the fine may result in the arrest and detention of a family member until the money is paid which further fuels flight from Eritrea for families who are unable to pay the fine.

      The government of Eritrea asserts that compulsory and indefinite national service is necessitated by continued occupation of its sovereign territories citing Ethiopia as the main threat. In its response to the UN Human Rights Council Report that criticised Eritrea for human rights violations including indefinite conscription, Eritrea stated that one of its main constraints to the fulfilment of its international and national obligations in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms is the continued occupation of its territory by Ethiopia.

      In 2016, Eritrea’s minister for Information confirmed that indefinite national service would remain without fundamental changes even in the wake of increased flight from the country by citizens unwilling to undertake the service. The Minister went on to state that Eritrea would contemplate demobilization upon the removal of the ‘main threat’, in this case Eritrea’s hostile relationship with Ethiopia. Eritrea and Ethiopia have both traded accusations of supporting opposition/militia groups to undermine each other both locally and abroad. If the relations between the countries turn peaceful, this could potentially have an impact on Eritrean migration, out of the country and out of the region.

      In the absence of hostilities and perceived security threats from its neighbour, it is possible that Eritrea will amend – or at least be open to start a dialogue about amending – its national service (and military) policies from the current mandatory and indefinite status, which has been one of the major root causes of the movement of Eritreans out of their country and onwards towards Europe. Related questions are whether an improvement in the relations with Ethiopia could also bring an immediate or longer term improvement in the socio-economic problems that Eritrea faces, for example through expanded trade relations between the two countries? Will this change usher in an era of political stability and an easing of military burdens on the Eritrean population?
      A possible game changer?

      The border deal, if it materialises, could at some time also have serious implications for Eritrean asylum seekers in Europe. Eritreans applying for asylum have relatively high approval rates. The high recognition rate for Eritrean asylum seekers is based on the widely accepted presumptionthat Eritreans who evade or avoid national service are at risk of persecution. In 2016 for example, 93% of Eritreans who sought asylum in EU countries received a positive decision. This recognition rate was second to Syrians and ahead of Iraqis and Somalis; all countries that are in active conflict unlike Eritrea. If the government of Eritrea enacts positive policy changes regarding conscription, the likely effect could be a much lower recognition rate for Eritrean asylum seekers. It is unclear how this would affect those asylum seekers already in the system.

      While Eritreans on the route to Europe and in particular those arriving in Italy, remain highly visible and receive most attention, many Eritreans who leave the country end up in refugee camps or Eritrean enclaves in neighbouring countries like Sudan and Ethiopia or further away in Egypt. After they flee, most Eritreans initially apply for refugee status in Ethiopia’s and Sudan’s refugee camps. As Human Rights Watch noted in 2016, the Eritrean camp population generally remains more or less stable. While many seek onward movements out of the camps, many refugees remain in the region. With these potentially new developments in Eritrea, will the Eritreans in Sudan, Ethiopia and other neighbouring countries feel encouraged or compelled to return at some, or will they perhaps be forced to return to Eritrea?
      What’s next?

      Conservative estimates in 2001 put the cost of the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia at USD 2.9 billion in just the first three years. This has had an adverse effect on the economies of the two countries as well as human rights conditions. In 2013, Eritrea expressed its willingness to engage in dialogue with Ethiopia should it withdraw its army from the disputed territory which it further noted is occupied by 300,000 soldiers from both countries. Ethiopia has previously stated its willingness to surrender Badme, without in the end acting upon this promise. Should this latest promise be implemented and ties between two countries normalized, this might herald positive developments for both the economy and the human rights situation in both countries, with a potential significant impact on one of the major drivers of movement out of Eritrea.

      However, with the news that Ethiopia would move to define its borders in accordance with international arbitration, the possibilities for political stability and economic growth in Eritrea remain uncertain. On 21 June 2018, the President of Eritrea Isaias Aferwerki issued a statement saying that Eritrea would send a delegation to Addis Ababa to ‘gauge current developments… chart out a plan for continuous future action’. The possibility of resulting peace and economic partnership between the two countries could, although a long-term process, also result in economic growth on both sides of the border and increased livelihood opportunities for their citizens who routinely engage in unsafe and irregular migration for political, humanitarian and economic reasons.


    • Despite the peace deal with Ethiopia, Eritrean refugees are still afraid to return home

      When Samuel Berhe thinks of Eritrea, he sees the sand-colored buildings and turquoise water of Asmara’s shoreline. He sees his sister’s bar under the family home in the capital’s center that sells sweet toast and beer. He sees his father who, at 80 years old, is losing his eyesight but is still a force to be reckoned with. He thinks of his home, a place that he cannot reach.

      Berhe, like many other Eritreans, fled the country some years ago to escape mandatory national service, which the government made indefinite following the 1998-2000 border war with Ethiopia. The war cost the countries an estimated 100,000 lives, while conscription created a generation of Eritrean refugees. The UNHCR said that in 2016 there were 459,000 Eritrean exiles out of an estimated population of 5.3 million.

      So, when the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a sudden peace deal in July 2018, citizens of the Horn of Africa nations rejoiced. Many took to the streets bearing the two flags. Others chose social media to express their happiness, and some even dialed up strangers, as phone lines between the nations were once again reinstated. It felt like a new era of harmony and prosperity had begun.

      But for Berhe, the moment was bittersweet.

      “I was happy because it is good for our people but I was also sad, because it doesn’t make any change for me,” he said from his home in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. “I will stay as a refugee.”

      Like many other Eritrean emigrants, Berhe fled the country illegally to escape national service. He fears that if he returns, he will wind up in jail, or worse. He does not have a passport and has not left Ethiopia since he arrived on the back of a cargo truck 13 years ago. His two daughters, Sarah, 9, and Ella, 11, for whom he is an only parent, have never seen their grandparents or their father’s homeland.

      Now that there is a direct flight, Berhe is planning on sending the girls to see their relatives. But before he considers returning, he will need some sort of guarantee from Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki, who leads the ruling People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, that he will pardon those who left.

      “The people that illegally escaped, the government thinks that we are traitors,” he said. “There are many, many like me, all over the world, too afraid to go back.”

      Still, hundreds fought to board the first flights between the two capitals throughout July and August. Asmara’s and Addis Ababa’s airports became symbols of the reunification as hordes of people awaited their relatives with bouquets daily, some whom they hadn’t seen for more than two decades.

      “When I see the people at the airport, smiling, laughing, reuniting with their family, I wish to be like them. To be free. They are lucky,” Berhe said.

      Related: Chronic insomnia plagues young migrants long after they reach their destination

      Zala Mekonnen, 38, an Eritrean Canadian, who was one of the many waiting at arrivals in Addis Ababa, said she had completely given up on the idea that the two nations — formerly one country — would ever rekindle relations.

      Mekonnen, who is half Ethiopian, found the 20-year feud especially difficult as her family was separated in half. In July, her mother saw her uncle for the first time in 25 years.

      “We’re happy but hopefully he’s [Afwerki] going to let those young kids free [from conscription],” she said. “I’m hoping God will hear, because so many of them died while trying to escape. One full generation lost.”

      Related: A life of statelessness derailed this Eritrean runner’s hopes to compete in the Olympics

      Mekonnen called the peace deal with Ethiopia a crucial step towards Eritrean democracy. But Afwerki, the 72-year-old ex-rebel leader, will also have to allow multiple political parties to exist, along with freedom of religion, freedom of speech and reopening Asmara’s public university while also giving young people opportunities outside of national service.

      “The greeting that Afwerki received here in Ethiopia [following the agreement to restore relations], he didn’t deserve it,” said Mekonnen. “He should have been hung.”

      Since the rapprochement, Ethiopia’s leader, Abiy Ahmed, has reached out to exiled opposition groups, including those in Eritrea, to open up a political dialogue. The Eritrean president has not made similar efforts. But in August, his office announced that he would visit Ethiopia for a second time to discuss the issue of rebels.

      Laura Hammond, a professor of developmental studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, said that it is likely Afwerki will push for Ethiopia to send Eritrean refugees seeking asylum back to Eritrea.

      “The difficulty is that, while the two countries are normalizing relations, the political situation inside Eritrea is not changing as rapidly,” Hammond said. “There are significant fears about what will happen to those who have left the country illegally, including in some cases escaping from prison or from their national service bases. They will need to be offered amnesty if they are to feel confident about returning.”

      To voice their frustrations, thousands of exiled Eritreans gathered in protest outside the UN headquarters in Geneva on Aug. 31. Amid chants of “enough is enough” and “down, down Isaias,” attendees held up placards calling for peace and democracy. The opposition website, Harnnet, wrote that while the rapprochement with Ethiopia was welcomed, regional and global politicians were showing “undeserved sympathy” to a power that continued to violate human rights.

      Sitting in front of the TV, Berhe’s two daughters sip black tea and watch a religious parade broadcast on Eritrea’s national channel. Berhe, who has temporary refugee status in Ethiopia, admits that one thing that the peace deal has changed is that the state’s broadcaster no longer airs perpetual scenes of war. For now, he is safe in Addis Ababa with his daughters, but he is eager to obtain a sponsor in the US, Europe or Australia, so that he can resettle and provide them with a secure future. He is afraid that landlocked Ethiopia might cave to pressures from the Eritrean government to return its refugees in exchange for access to the Red Sea port.

      “Meanwhile my girls say to me, ’Why don’t we go for summer holiday in Asmara?’” he laughs. “They don’t understand my problem.”


    • Etiopia: firmato ad Asmara accordo di pace fra governo e Fronte nazionale di liberazione dell’#Ogaden

      Asmara, 22 ott 09:51 - (Agenzia Nova) - Il governo dell’Etiopia e i ribelli del Fronte nazionale di liberazione dell’Ogaden (#Onlf) hanno firmato un accordo di pace nella capitale eritrea Asmara per porre fine ad una delle più antiche lotte armate in Etiopia. L’accordo, si legge in una nota del ministero degli Esteri di Addis Abeba ripresa dall’emittente “Fana”, è stato firmato da una delegazione del governo etiope guidata dal ministro degli Esteri Workneh Gebeyehu e dal presidente dell’Onlf, Mohamed Umer Usman, i quali hanno tenuto un colloquio definito “costruttivo” e hanno raggiunto un “accordo storico” che sancisce “l’inizio di un nuovo capitolo di pace e stabilità in Etiopia”. L’Onlf, gruppo separatista fondato nel 1984, è stato etichettato come organizzazione terrorista dal governo etiope fino al luglio scorso, quando il parlamento di Addis Abeba ha ratificato la decisione del governo di rimuovere i partiti in esilio – tra cui appunto l’Onlf – dalla lista delle organizzazioni terroristiche. La decisione rientra nella serie di provvedimenti annunciati dal premier Abiy Ahmed per avviare il percorso di riforme nel paese, iniziato con il rilascio di migliaia di prigionieri politici, la distensione delle relazioni con l’Eritrea e la parziale liberalizzazione dell’economia etiope.


    • UN: No Rights Progress in Eritrea After Peace Deal With Ethiopia

      U.N. experts say Eritrea’s human rights record has not changed for the better since the government signed a peace agreement with Ethiopia last year, formally ending a two decades-long border conflict. The U.N. Human Rights Council held an interactive dialogue on the current situation in Eritrea this week.

      After a 20-year military stalemate with Ethiopia, hopes were high that the peace accord would change Eritrea’s human rights landscape for the better.

      U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore said that has not happened. She said Eritrea has missed a historic opportunity because the government has not implemented urgently needed judicial, constitutional and economic reforms.

      She said the continued use of indefinite national service remains a major human rights concern.

      “Conscripts continue to confront open-ended duration of service, far beyond the 18 months stipulated in law and often under abusive conditions, which may include the use of torture, sexual violence and forced labor,” she said.

      Gilmore urged Eritrea to bring its national service in line with the country’s international human rights obligations.

      “The peace agreement signed with Ethiopia should provide the security that the government of Eritrea has argued it needs to discontinue this national service and help shift its focus from security to development…. In the absence of promising signs of tangible human rights progress, that flow of asylum-seekers is not expected to drop,” Gilmore said.

      Human rights groups say unlimited national service forces thousands of young men to flee Eritrea every month to seek asylum in Europe. They say many lose their lives making the perilous journey across the Sahara Desert or while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

      The head of the Eritrean delegation to the Council, Tesfamicael Gerahtu, said his country has had to adopt certain measures to counter the negative effect of the last 20 years on peace, security and development. He insists there is no human rights crisis in his country.

      He accused the Human Rights Council of exerting undue pressure on Eritrea by monitoring his country’s human rights situation and adopting detrimental resolutions. He called the actions counterproductive.

      “The honorable and productive way forward is to terminate the confrontational approach on Eritrea that has been perpetrated in the last seven years and that has not created any dividend in the promotion of human rights. And, there is no crisis that warrants a Human Rights Council agenda or special mandate on Eritrea,” Gerahtu said.

      Daniel Eyasu , head of Cooperation and International Relations of the National Youth Union and Eritrean Students, agrees there is no human rights crisis in Eritrea. He offered a positive spin on the country’s controversial national service, calling it critical for nation building.

      Unfortunately, he said, the reports of the council’s special procedures characterizing national service as modern slavery is unwarranted, unjustified and unacceptable.

      The Founder of One Day Seyoum, Vanessa Tsehaye, said the government has not changed its stripes. She said it is as repressive today as it was before the peace accord with Ethiopia was signed.

      Tsehaye’s organization works for the release of her uncle, a journalist who has been imprisoned without a trial in Eritrea since 2001 and for all people unjustly imprisoned. She said they continue to languish in prison.

      “The standoff at the border cannot justify the fact that all capable Eritreans are enlisted into the national service indefinitely. It cannot justify the fact that the country’s constitution still has not been implemented and that the parliament still has not convened since 2002. It does not justify the fact that the only university in the country has been shut down, that the free press has still not been opened and that tens of thousands of people have been imprisoned without a trial simply for expressing their opinions, practicing their religion or attempting to leave their country,” Tsehaye said.

      But delegates at the council welcomed the peace process and expressed hope it will result in better protection for the Eritrean people. But they noted the prevailing abusive conditions are not promising.

      They urged the government to reform its military service, release all political prisoners, stop the practice of arbitrary arrests, and end torture and inhumane detention conditions.

      #processus_de_paix #droits_humains

  • L’impasse israélo-palestinienne version 2018

    L’esplanade des Mosquées ou mont du Temple, à Jérusalem, un des points de discorde entre Israéliens et Palestiniens © Thomas Cantaloube La situation n’est pas nouvelle, mais la décision de Trump de reconnaître Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël a levé le voile sur l’échec de l’Autorité palestinienne, le basculement à droite de la société israélienne et l’obsession du statu quo de la communauté internationale.

    #International #Benjamin_Netanyahou #Donald_Trump #Etats-Unis #Israël #Mahmoud_Abbas #Palestine #processus_de_paix

  • Kushner reportedly told Abbas: Stopping settlement construction impossible, it would topple Netanyahu - Palestinians - Haaretz.com

    A U.S. delegation headed by President Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this week that “stopping settlement construction is impossible because it will cause the collapse of the Netanyahu government,” according to diplomatic sources who spoke to international Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat. 

    The U.S. delegation, including envoy Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell, met with Abbas on Thursday during their regional trip aimed at kickstarting peace negotiations

    #arnaque pseudo #processus_de_paix #Palestine

  • Démantèlement de l’ETA : « Le pouvoir ne fait rien pour en finir avec la violence »

    Michel Berhocoirigoin Michel Berhocoirigoin, agriculteur de 64 ans, a été interpellé vendredi soir tandis qu’il tentait de procéder à la destruction de « 15 % de l’arsenal » de l’ETA. Dans un entretien à Mediapart au lendemain de sa mise en examen par la justice, il explique l’initiative de la société civile pour le #désarmement au #Pays_Basque.

    #France #Espagne #ETA

  • Des militants de la paix accusés de #terrorisme par le ministère de l’Intérieur - Basta !

    Sauf que derrière les « individus » en relation avec une organisation terroriste selon le ministère de l’intérieur, se profilent des figures de proue des mobilisations pacifiques et citoyennes, parmi lesquelles Jean-Noël Etcheverry (dit « Txetx », co-fondateur des mouvements Bizi ! et Alternatiba notamment) et Michel Berhocoirigoin (ancien président de la Chambre d’agriculture alternative du Pays Basque) [3]. Que faisaient ces militants, journaliste et vidéaste à proximité d’un stock d’armes ? Le 26 octobre dernier, Michel Tubiana, Txetx Etcheverry et Michel Berhocoirigoin publient sur le site Mediabask une lettre précisant leur intention. Après avoir rappelé qu’ils n’ont « aucun lien ni subordination avec l’ETA », ils déclarent avoir décidé « d’enclencher le processus de désarmement de l’organisation armée, et de procéder à la destruction d’un premier stock d’armes [correspondant] à environ 15% de l’arsenal mis sous scellé de l’ETA. » Tous trois justifient leur action par leur volonté de « contribuer à un avenir sans violence et démocratique pour le Pays Basque ».


  • Le ministère de l’intérieur entrave le #désarmement de l’ETA

    Enlisé depuis cinq ans, le processus de #paix au #Pays_Basque bute sur la question du désarmement de l’ETA. Plusieurs personnalités de la société civile ayant pris en main ce désarmement ont été interpellées dans le cadre d’une opération antiterroriste. Unanimes, les élus locaux dénoncent le « cynisme » du gouvernement.

    #France #Bruno_Le_Roux #ETA #ministère_de_l'intérieur #Police #terrorisme

  • FMR | Colombie : le processus de paix et les solutions pour les migrants forcés

    Si, comme cela parait probable, la Colombie parvient à conclure un accord de paix qui mette un terme à son long conflit interne, son règlement créera probablement les conditions juridiques et politiques nécessaires pour résoudre le phénomène de la migration forcée de ses citoyens.

  • Pourquoi le Sud du Yémen ne profite pas de la guerre pour faire sécession

    Le ressentiment des populations du sud du Yémen face à la mainmise du pouvoir de Sanaa depuis un quart de siècle est un terreau particulièrement fertile sur lequel croît la revendication séparatiste. À partir de la révolution de février 2011, les occasions de mettre fin à l’unité imposée avec le Nord en 1994 n’ont pas manqué. Pourquoi, malgré tout, n’y a-t-il pas eu sécession ? Les cinq années qui ont suivi la révolution de février 2011 ont fourni aux séparatistes de nombreuses opportunités de mettre fin à un (...)

    #Yémen, #État, #Coup_d'État, #Mouvement_populaire, #Processus_de_paix, #Houthistes, #Conflit_du_Yémen, #mouvement_sécessioniste

    http://zinc.mondediplo.net/people/orientxxi via Orient XXI

  • Orient XXI | Les Palestiniennes d’Israël dans un double étau

    Poursuite de l’occupation, oppression des femmes, solution à deux États, « modèle » sécuritaire israélien, autant de sujets qu’aborde Aïda Touma-Suleiman, membre du Parlement israélien, dans un #Entretien exclusif avec Orient XXI. Le regard espiègle derrière les lunettes austères vous saisit de prime abord, et cet air juvénile malgré la chevelure poivre et sel. Puis le contraste entre la fougue qui s’exprime volontiers avec les mains et la voix, grave et posée. Une langue arabe fluide. Un accent (...)

    #Israël, #Palestine, #Statut_des_femmes, #Conflit_israélo-palestinien, #Discrimination, #État, #Processus_de_paix


    Two weeks ago, on 30 March 2016, the Government of Colombia and the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) announced that they would start formal peace talks in an effort to end more than half a century of fighting. UNHCR welcomes this announcement. Today we are calling on the negotiators to give special attention to the rights of victims, especially internally displaced people and refugees.


    #Colombie #processus_de_paix #paix #IDPs #déplacés_internes #réfugiés #migrations

  • #Euskal_Herria : 80 000 personnes à #bilbao et Baiona pour la fin de la dispersion des #prisonniers_politiques_basques

    Lu sur Secours Rouge : Plusieurs dizaines de milliers de personnes ont manifesté hier soir, samedi à Bilbao et à #Bayonne, des deux côtés de la frontière franco-espagnole. Elles réclamaient « la fin de la dispersion » de plus de 400 détenus liés à ETA et leur rapprochement du #Pays_basque. A Bilbao, la ville la plus [&hellip

    #International #répression

    • J’ai fait l’école de la République, j’ai fait Normal-Sup qui est une espèce d’apothéose de cela. Et, vraiment, j’ai baigné dans le jacobinisme sans m’en rendre compte. C’est seulement aujourd’hui, grâce en particulier à des conversations avec des intellectuels basques, que je me rends compte que j’ai été élevée dans ces idées. De toute « évidence », la France était la patrie des Lumières, et tout ce qui était langue bretonne, langue basque,... tout ça, c’était ringard. Et j’ai fait tout un cheminement pour me poser des questions simples, pour me demander par exemple : si le Pays Basque était indépendant, cela menacerait qui exactement et pourquoi ? Comment se fait-il qu’il y n’ait jamais (dans les quotidiens Libération, Le Monde, etc.) de couverture des énormes manifestations qu’il peut y avoir à Saint-Sébastien ? Pourquoi n’y a t-il pas de couverture des tortures dans les commissariats ? Pourquoi est-ce à ce point nié ? Je ne vais pas comparer avec la Tchétchénie, il ne faut pas exagérer mais enfin... Un avocat (français, parisien) m’a expliqué que le niveau de violence de certaines tortures dans les commissariats espagnols est le même que certaines techniques d’Arabie Saoudite : la privation de sommeil, le sac sur la tête, les menaces de mort... Et Amnesty international s’en fait l’écho. Pourquoi n’en parle t-on jamais en France ? Je connais plein de journalistes français. Quand je me mets à parler de ça, ils croient que je suis paranoïaque. Ils croient que je suis folle. C’est exaspérant. Une planète de petits pays, je trouve que cela ne menacerait personne. Cela pourrait très bien fonctionner


  • À Bilbao, une vague humaine en faveur des prisonniers politiques

    Mis en ligne le 12 janvier 2016 Plus de 70 000 personnes sont descendues dans la rue, samedi 9 janvier à Bilbao, pour dire non à la violence et exiger la fin de la politique de dispersion et le respect des droits des prisonniers politiques basques. L’appel de l’organisateur SARE (Réseau de citoyens en faveur […]

  • Le #processus_de_paix malien est-il menacé ?

    BAMAKO, 4 mai 2015 (IRIN) - Ces dernières années n’ont pas été de tout repos pour le Mali, qui a connu une déclaration d’indépendance, un coup d’État, une mutinerie, une prise de contrôle du nord du pays par les groupes islamistes, une intervention militaire française, une crise d’otages, une guérilla, un accord de paix préliminaire et, enfin, un cessez-le-feu au mois de février.


  • #Pays_Basque
    Un acto del Friendship en Bruselas renovará hoy el compromiso internacional con el proceso

    El Friendship ha organizado para este martes una conferencia con #Brian_Currin y #Frieda_Brepoels coincidiendo con el quinto aniversario de la Declaración de Bruselas. El acto acogerá la presentación de una iniciativa internacional sobre #Arnaldo_Otegi y los presos y presas vascas. El arzobispo sudafricano #Desmond_Tutu, Nobel de la Paz, y la activista afroamericana #Angela_Davis son dos de las personalidades firmantes.


  • Nouvel acte de #sabotage du #processus_de_paix en #Pays_Basque.
    Après une manifestation de 80 000 personnes samedi à Bilbao http://seenthis.net/messages/329938, réclamant la fin de la dispersion des #prisonniers_politiques et #prisonnières_politiques (pour les épisodes précédents voir http://seenthis.net/messages/216214 ), ce matin la Guardia Civil a arrêté les avocats de 35 prévenus dont Aurore Martin http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurore_Martin, dont le procès était censé s’ouvrir aujourd’hui, et en a profité pour saisir les fonds récoltés pendant la manif, d’après le syndicat LAB qui a communiqué cette photo


    On the morning of the 12th January Guardia Civil officers have arrested 16 people (12 Basque Lawyers and 4 individuals allegedly linked with Herrira). Police is searching several premises including the offices of Basque Trade Union LAB in Bilbao.

    Spanish Media says, citing police sources, that they have been arrested on terrorist membership grounds and fiscal crime (not declaring VAT and not paying social security charges).

    3 of the Lawyers have been arrested in Madrid where they were to act as defendants for 19 of the 35 individuals taken to trial for their political activity. #35akLibre

    This operation has taken place after the huge demonstration on Saturday. Over 80.000 people took over Bilbao to ask for the end of the dispersal policy and respect for prisoners’ rights.

    One year ago several lawyers and former prisoners were arrested on an operation dubbed “Jaque” by Spanish Security forces, this operation seems to have been dubbed “Mate” (Jaque-Mate, means Checkmate as in Chess).

    Protest have been called all around the Basque Country and Social Media has taken #JesuisBasque and #abokatuakLibre as main hashtags.


    Ce matin, lundi 12 janvier, la Guardia Civil a arrêté 16 personnes dont les avocats d’inculpés au procès de Madrid. Sur 35 inculpés de la gauche abertzale, dont Aurore Martin et Haizpea Abrisketa, 19 se retrouvant sans avocat, à leur demande, le procès est suspendu jusqu’à nouvel ordre a déclaré Pernando Barrena, sur son compte Twitter.

    Parmi les personnes arrêtées, les avocats Arantxa Aparicio, Alert Larrarte, Onintza Ostolaza, Ainhoa Baglieto, Atxarte Salvador, Kepa Manzisidor, Jaione Karrera, Ane Ituno, Amaia Izko, Haizea Ziluaga, Eukene Jauregi d’après le site d’information Naiz.

    Ces trois dernières ont été arrêtées à Madrid alors qu’elles devaient défendre les militants abertzale dans le macro procès qui devait démarrer aujourd’hui à l’Audiencia Nacional. Parmi eux, Haizpea Abrisketa et Aurore Martin.

    D’autres personnes ont également été arrêtées à Barakaldo et Tolosa notamment. Ces avocats seraient accusés « d’intégration à une organisation terroriste ».

    D’après des informations de Naiz, un an après l’opération policière « Jaque » (Echec en espagnol) contre les avocats Arantxa Zulueta et Jon Enparantza, cette opération se nommerait « Mate » ("[et] mat" en espagnol).

    Le local du syndicat abertzale LAB de Bilbo serait aussi perquisitionné.

    La parlementaire d’EH Bildu Julen Arzuaga a dénoncé sur son compte Twitter l’opération et considère que c’est une réponse « misérable aux demandes des droits fondamentaux d’une volonté forte de paix de ce peuple », en référence à la manifestation de samedi dans les rues de Bilbo, qui a rassemblé plus de 80 000 manifestants.


    Le tant attendu procès à l’encontre de 35 représentants de la gauche abertzale, dont Aurore Martin et Haizpea Abrisketa, est suspendu suite aux arrestations de 16 personnes ce matin par la Garde Civile epsagnole, dont des avocats du procès. Des deux côtés de la Bidasoa, les réactions ne se sont pas faites attendre.

    Anaiz Funosas, au nom de Bake Bidea (mouvement civil en faveur du processus de paix au Pays Basque) a fait part de son inquiétude : « c’est une violation des droits fondamentaux contre des personnes engagées dans le processus de paix ». Elle affirme que la population a montré une réelle volonté de paix ces dernières années mais Madrid voudrait qu’ils se « résignent ; il ne faut pas tomber dans ce piège ».

    Les politiques aussi ont tenu à déclarer leur indignation. Le parti politique Sortu (gauche abertzale), joint par téléphone, a dénoncé fermement l’opération policière et demandé la libération immédiate de l’ensemble des personnes arrêtées. « L’opération arrive dans un contexte particulier au moment où la majorité de la population veut une résolution de la question des prisonniers pour la paix », a déclaré Jean-François Lefort, dit « Lof », représentant du parti. Il affirme que l’heure est aujourd’hui au dialogue mais que les Etats français et espagnol s’entêtent. « Nous demandons de travailler autour d’un schéma qui amène la libération de tous les prisonniers politiques basques », a t-il poursuivi.

    Les jeunes abertzale de l’organisation Aitzina ont dénoncé ces arrestations sur leur compte Twitter.

    La conseillère régionale Europe-Ecologie les Verts et membre du collectif de soutien pour A. Martin et H. Abrisketa, a déclaré en son nom être choquée « qu’on puisse marcher hier à Paris pour la liberté d’expression et empêcher le Pays Basque de le faire. On est tous Charlie mais pas au Pays Basque ».

    La députée PS Colette Capdevielle, avocate de profession, a déclaré sur son compte Twitter : « les droits de la défense sont des droits fondamentaux en France et en Espagne » et « le libre choix de l’avocat est un droit fondamental ».

    D’autres avocats se sont aussi exprimés. Me Jone Goirizelaia, depuis l’Audencia Nacional de Madrid a demandé la remise en liberté immédiate des avocats détenus. Me Xantiana Cachenaut, avocate de militants abertzale est elle aussi scandalisée par « cette violation honteuse des droits fondamentaux au lendemain de la manifestation de Bilbo et à la veille de la décision du Tribunal Suprême sur le cumul des condamnations ». Elle explique que dans la situation dans laquelle se trouvent les 19 inculpés, le droit français prévoit trois possibilités : la suspension du procès, les avocats toujours présents prennent la défense des inculpés privés d’avocat ou la mise en place d’avocats commis d’office. L’inculpé n’a alors pas le droit de le refuser et l’avocat bénéficie d’une durée définie pour étudier le dossier.

    Analyse d’Antton Etxeberri

    L’opération de la garde civile contre les avocats du Pays Basque intervient à un moment bien particulier. Deux jours après la très importante mobilisation de la société basque à Bilbo qui réclamait une nouvelle fois l’arrêt de la dispersion des prisonniers basques, le gouvernement espagnol a souhaité répondre de manière directe, en s’attaquant à la défense de ces prisonniers.

    Le chef du gouvernement espagnol, Mariano Rajoy, défilait dimanche dans les rues de Paris, auprès du président français François Hollande, pour défendre la liberté d’expression et de la presse. Comment peut-on justifier la présence du chef du gouvernement espagnol à cette manifestation ? N’est-ce pas un gouvernement dans lequel Rajoy était ministre qui a fermé des organes de presse, arrêté et emprisonné ses dirigeants, qui pour certains ont dénoncé des tortures ? La présence de Mariano Rajoy à Paris dimanche relève d’une #hypocrisie et d’un besoin de #récupération démocratique : elle représente plus une insulte à ceux qui défilaient pour la #liberté_d'expression.

    Le lendemain même de cette manifestation de Paris, l’Etat espagnol ouvre un procès contre 35 citoyens du Pays Basque, qui ont pour seul tort de défendre leurs idées politiques de manière publique. Parmi eux, deux ont la nationalité française, Haizpea Abrisketa et Aurore Martin. Celles-ci se retrouvaient donc convoquées dans un procès sans leur propre avocat, comme 17 autres accusés. La démocratie défendue par Rajoy. Les juges espagnols n’ont eu finalement d’autres choix que de suspendre le procès.

    L’arrestation de ces avocats intervient également à la veille d’une décision importante : le Tribunal Suprême espagnol doit rendre ses conclusions concernant une décision du Conseil de l’Europe à l’Etat espagnol. En effet, la Justice européenne estime qu’un condamné qui a accompli une peine de prison dans un Etat européen (ici en France) doit se voir décompter ces années de prison de la peine totale infligée dans un autre pays européen (ici l’Espagne).
    La Justice espagnole qui devrait suivre la décision du Conseil européen (celle-ci étant prioritaire), quelques dizaines de détenus devraient être libérés immédiatement. Les arrestations de ce lundi interviennent donc dans cette ambiance, et n’ont d’autre but que d’influer sur les magistrats espagnols qui doivent se retrouver mardi pour prendre leur décision. En effet, ce débat de libérer ou non les condamnés qui ont purgé leurs peines, a été forcé par le gouvernement espagnol, et a créé une forte division entre les juges espagnols.

    Depuis plus de trois ans, le Pays Basque travaille à la mise en place d’un processus de paix. Les gouvernements français et espagnol n’y ont jusqu’à présent répondu que par la répression et le déni. Le procès des 35 de Batasuna à Madrid, celui de Paris le 21 janvier contre Intza Oxandabaratz, l’arrestation de nombreux avocats... Autant d’éléments qui souhaitent entraver la volonté des habitants du Pays Basque de parvenir à la paix.

    Cette actualité fait repenser à cette vieille couverture de Reiser pour #Charlie_Hebdo

    Ça me rappelle cette interview de Jean-Marc Rouillan en 2013 http://www.argia.eus/argia-astekaria/2362/umiliatu-nahi-gaituzte-gauarekin-atera-atzeko-atetik où il disait

    On l’a vu dans l’histoire de l’Allemagne : pendant 20 ans ils disaient que si la Faction Armée Rouge déposait les armes ils libèreraient les prisonniers. La RAF a déposé les armes et la libération des prisonniers a trainé 4-5 ans de plus [...] Ils ne veulent pas de reconnaissance des torts, ils veulent juste nous humilier

  • Crowded streets in Bilbao with a silent cry: Repatriation of Basque Political prisoners now

    Tens of thousands of people gathered in Bilbao. (Photo: Dani Blanco/Argia)

    The City of Bilbao was becoming crowded by people arriving from all over the Basque Country as the day went on. By noon it was impossible to walk around the city centre. The main streets surrounding the meeting points from which the demonstration was going to start at 17:00 hours were getting packed as this time got closer. “Sare” (meaning literally “Network” in Basque, a citizen network struggling for the rights of Basque political prisoners) was in the way of achieving the objective of the day. This article is a chronicle of that demonstration.

    25 years ago the Spanish and French governments applied the policy of dispersal against the Basque political prisoners. Since then and according to the information given by “Sare” the family members and friends that visit the these prisoners travel 352.329 km every week, as much as turning around the earth 8.8 times weekly. The policy of dispersal has an average cost of 12.257 Euros per family a year and 16 people have died in traffic accidents while going to visit their dear ones. Like in the last years there has been a massive demonstration in Bilbo in order to demand the respect towards the rights of the Basque political prisoners and the end of the policy of dispersal.

    This year the demonstration had a different structure. Instead of starting from a square and going down to the City Hall (a distance of 2 kilometres) it started from both sides and they met together in a middle point between both ends. The families of the political prisoners opened the way in their usual lined structure.

    Currently there are around 460 Basque political prisoners in 73 jails in France and Spain. Within this collective there are members of ETA, pro-independence politicians, trade union members, members of the youth movement, journalists... even though the Spanish government catalogues the whole of them as “everything is ETA”.

    Like the organizers had underlined once and again the protagonists were the citizens and the families of the political prisoners. On Saturday those political parties, trade unions, organizations and well known people that had shown their support for the demonstration were kept in a second line.

    Among the protagonists there were also those that are key figures in this issue of the dispersal policy applied against the Basque political prisoners; the Mirentxin vans that week after week drive voluntarily the families to the prisons scattered all over France and Spain as a sign of solidarity. On Saturday they were the ones opening the roads of Bilbao too.

    Mirentxin drivers opened the road. (Photo: Dani Blanco/Argia)

    Two kilometres of distance packed with citizens. Lots of them didn´t have even the possibility of moving at all and following the recommendations of the organizers they have just occupy the streets.

    It has been achieved. Once again thousands of people demanded in silence the repatriation of the Basque political prisoners to the Basque Country. Like the main slogan stated, Now to the Basque Country! The demonstration was silent as demanded by the organizers, a demand well respected by the participants. Only two slogans have followed the whole demonstration in its way; “Basque prisoners to the Basque Country” and “Bring the Basque political prisoners home”.

    Family members holding banner against dispersal policy. (Dani Blanco/Argia)

    While many are the comparisons that can be made with last year demonstration http://seenthis.net/messages/216214 where around 130.000 people marched for “human rights, resolution, peace”, two are the ones that outstand among others. Last year demonstration was firstly prohibited by the Spanish National Court and that had as a consequence that the PNV (Basque Nationalist Party) supported also the demonstration. Certainly last year was in Bilbao a stronger feeling of solidarity and a great amount of euphoria. The support shown towards the Basque political prisoners this year has been strong too but within a more relaxed environment. This year the PNV hasn’t supported the demonstration outlining at the same time that last year they did so because of its prohibition.

    At the end of the event Saroi Jauregi and the singer Fermin Muguruza have taken the roll of presenters. The improvisers Maialen Lujanbio, Igor Elortza and Amets Arzallus have sung some poems. And the singers “The Aire systers”, Rafa Rueda and Agus Barandiaran have sung along with other thousands of people the popular song “Your mother is waiting, so is your father...”

    Maite Mangado and Hegoa Arakama family members of Basque political prisoners demanded that the rights of the Basque political prisoners as well as those of their family members have to be respected. “Those rights must be respected now! Not tomorrow or the day after! It has to be now because among other reasons this attitude also helps the peace process.” They have both outlined that the policy of dispersal is a policy of revenge and that with the support of the society “the wall representing the policy of dispersal will be brought to an end. We call you to walk together towards that end, step by step.” Finally they invited people to join “Sare”, the network working for the rights of Basque political prisoners.

    The light has become another protagonist of this demonstration. At the end of it thousands of lights have been lighten on the hands of the participants obtaining thus a strong picture.

    The singer Fermin Muguruza and Saroi Jauregi have brought the event to an end by stating that “in order to create together a future in which all human rights will be respected, now is the time to ensure that the rights of the Basque political prisoners and their families are respected. All together we will achieve it!”

    People have started moving on, some went towards the bars, others to take the buses...and lots of them probably still remember the last words of the poem sung by the improviser Amets Arzalluz: “It is not easy year after year/to bring more people here/and we hope that next year/ you will come to celebrate (we brought them home)”.

    Video summary by Topatu.info.

    Video made by Sare

    Dispersal policy in a map

    In white the number of prisoners in each prison, and in black, amount of kilometres from the Basque Country. (Infographics by Gara)

    #processus_de_paix #pays_basque #prisonniers_politiques #prisonnières_politiques #35aklibre #cartographie #visualisation

  • Israël - Inédit : 106 généraux de l’armée, directeurs du Mossad et membres de la police écrivent à Netanyahu pour lui demander de relancer le processus de paix - Haaretz


    In what appears to be the largest-ever joint protest by senior Israeli security personnel, a group of 106 retired generals, Mossad directors and national police commissioners has signed a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to “initiate a diplomatic process” based on a regional framework for peace with the Palestinians.

    Several of the signers told Israel’s Mako-Channel 2 News in interviews that Israel had the strength and the means to reach a two-state solution that “doesn’t entail a security risk,” but hadn’t managed to reach an agreement because of “weak leadership.”

    “We’re on a steep slope toward an increasingly polarized society and moral decline, due to the need to keep millions of people under occupation on claims that are presented as security-related,” reserve Major General Eyal Ben-Reuven told Mako’s Roni Daniel. “I have no doubt that the prime minister seeks Israel’s welfare, but I think he suffers from some sort of political blindness that drives him to scare himself and us.”

    The letter was initiated by a former Armored Corps commander, reserve Maj. Gen. Amnon Reshef. He told Yedioth Ahronoth in an interview published Friday, and posted in English on Yedioth’s Ynetnews.com website, that he was “tired of a reality of rounds of fighting every few years instead of a genuine effort to adopt the Saudi initiative.”

    He was referring to the Saudi-backed peace proposal that was adopted unanimously by the Arab League in 2002 (here is the full text) and later endorsed 56-0 by the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation, with Iran abstaining. It has since been repeatedly reaffirmed and its terms softened. As currently framed, it offers full peace, diplomatic recognition and “normal relations” between the Arab states and Israel in return for Israeli withdrawal to borders based on the pre-1967 armistice lines, with negotiated land swaps, and a “just” and mutually “agreed” compromise solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.

    The generals’ call echoes a proposal for a regional peace conference that was floated during the Gaza war this summer by Israel’s science minister, Yaakov Peri, a member of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and a former director of the Shin Bet security service. It’s currently being advocated within the security cabinet by Lapid and justice minister Tzipi Livni.

    Netanyahu takes the position that Palestinian statehood at this juncture would imperil Israel’s security.

    Retired generals have occasionally made joint statements in the past, but never in such numbers and rarely on political matters that aren’t directly related to army business. In January 2012, 52 ex-generals signed a petition calling for legislation to require military or equivalent national service for Haredi men. In November 2011, 19 ex-generals called on IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz to combat growing religious extremism in the army. In February 2010, 15 ex-generals signed a statement criticizing “leftist organizations,” including the New Israel Fund, that they said had damaged the IDF by aiding the Goldstone Report.

    The 106 signers of the current letter to Netanyanu include 101 IDF veterans with the rank of brigadier or major general, as well as two former chiefs of the Mossad intelligence agency and three former commanders of Israel’s National Police. (Yediot’s report, which preceded Mako, gave a total of 105.)

    The generals’ letter apparently doesn’t refer directly to the Arab Peace Initiative (I haven’t seen the letter’s full text yet), but in calling for a regional process it appears to rely on the willingness of the Saudis and Egyptians to sponsor a conference leading to negotiated peace that renders “the Arab-Israeli conflict ended,” based on the initiative.

    The purpose of enlisting the neighboring Arab states is to give the Palestinian leadership backing and legitimacy to accept compromises it has failed to embrace on its own in bilateral talks.

    Here are the portions of the letter published by Yedioth (translation by Ynetnews):

    We, the undersigned, reserve IDF commanders and retired police officers, who have fought in Israel’s military campaigns, know first-hand of the heavy and painful price exacted by wars.

    We fought bravely for the country in the hope that our children would live here in peace, but we got a sharp reality check [literal translation: “but reality slapped us in the face” — jjg], and here we are again sending our children out onto the battlefield, watching them don their uniforms and combat vests and go out to fight in Operation Protective Edge…

    This is not a question of left or right. What we have here is an alternative option for resolving the conflict that is not based solely on bilateral negotiations with the Palestinians, which have failed time and again… We expect a show of courageous initiative and leadership from you. Lead – and we will stand behind you.