Special for Africa ExPress
Juba, March 9th 2015
African ExPress through its own reliable sources was able to obtain a copy of the letter written by the Eritrean Embassy to Diplomatic Community in Kenya.
I have viewed the letter and have found it to be very revealing as to the attitude of the Eritrean Government towards its citizens and provides glimpse of what the restrictions and the harassment that are applied to Eritreans in Eritrea.
“The Embassy has learn that a group of subversive Eritreans national in Naiorbi are planning to organise an illegal political gathering or meeting under the name of “Eritrean Diaspora in East Africa” on Friday 20th February 2015 with a main aim of inciting national against the Government of the State of Eritrea”
The meeting organised by the Eritrean Diaspora in East Africa (EDEA) was not illegal in Kenya. The organisation is registered in Kenya and in fact Kenyan officials were invited to attend. Therefore the reference to illegality can only be reconciled with the fact that the EDEA was organised by Eritrean citizens independently of the Eritrean Embassy or the Eritrean Government. The objection is to Eritreans exercising, in the host country, the right of free assembly and free speech. These are rights that at present Eritreans are not able to exercise in Eritrea and are often intimidated so as to not to exercise the rights in host countries. . The message is that Eritreans who want to exercise their right to meet and discuss issues independently of the Government suddenly lose their status of Eritrean Citizens and become Subversive Nationals.
The Embassy has also received information that the Group has invited the Ambassadors or representatives of East African Countries namely Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, South Sudan, Rwanda Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Embassy would like to inform the esteemed Diplomatic Community that neither the group nor their idea is recognised by the Government of the State of Eritrea and their agenda is unacceptable and doesn’t represent the interest of the Eritrean People and Government and would therefore kindly request the esteemed Missions or their representatives not to attend the illegal meeting”
The letter fails to mention, that in fact the Eritrean Embassy was invited to attend. It was the choice of the Eritrean Embassy to embark in a process of intimidation and threats and to silence the process thus eminently demonstrating the nature of the Eritrean Government and the difficulties faced by Eritreans who want to engage and openly exercise their rights and have their real concerns heard.
Given the plight of the Eritrean Youth and the fact that presently there are Eritreans seeking asylum in Angola, Namibia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya, Israel , Europe ; it can be argues that . The situation of Eritreans in the diaspora and specifically that of young Eritreans is desperate enough that more diplomats and representatives of such organisations as UNHCR, Danish Refugee Council, and ICRC could have been invited.
With this letter the Eritrean Embassy seems to be saying that the Eritrean People that are not allowed to independently gather and talk about the state of Eritrea nor are we allowed to discuss and look for solutions to the following issues:
– The condition of our youth in Eritrea
– The flight of our youth from Eritrea
– The kidnapping and trafficking of our youth
Because it is not an agenda of the Government of Eritrea, Eritreans are not e not allowed to talk about the fact that many of our young Eritreans are moving or are being moved into areas that are now heavily influenced by the ISIS agenda . We are not allowed to discuss or find solutions for the problem that many of our youth may be killed and others again may be enticed to join ISIS. Surely we should not await for the permission of the Government of Eritrea address these issues . Surely we should lead.
To the amazement of the Embassy of the State of Eritrea, Amb Haile Menkerious and Eritrean with South African passport and a very senior official in the UN system to indicate his position exactly. UN special envoy to African Union, is cited as a guest of honour in the gathering. The Embassy categorically opposes such involvement by a UN staff because it is against the principles and charter of the United Nations.
The letter is disingenuous. Ambassador Haile Menkerious is one of the Group of 15 who in in 2001 had dared to hold the Government to task and to account on such issues as accountability, implementation of the constitution, hearing the voices of the people. For the request of accountability and to listen to the voices of the People, the members of G 15 have disappeared and or are in exile. Lest we forget the G15 are:
- Mahmud Sheriffo presumed dead
- Haile Woldensae ( Duro) unknown
- Mesfin Hagos exile
- General Ogbe Abrha presumed dead
- Hamid Hmd presumed dead
- Saleh Kekya presumed dead
- Brigadier General Estifanos Seyoum presumed dead
- Berhane GhebreEgzabiher presumed dead
- Astier Feshatsion presumed dead
- Mohammed Berhan Blata unknown
- Petros Solomon unknown
- Germano Nati presumed dead
- Beraki Ghebreselassie presumed dead
- Adhanom Ghebremariam exile
- Haile Menkerios exile
Ambassador Haile Menkerious is a South African citizen, because the Eritrean Government has pursued a policy of persecution so as to render him stateless a situation remedied by South Africa
Ambassador Menkerios and other participants such as Mr Andebrhan Weldegiorgis (a former Ambassador of Eritrea to Brussels) are , according to their agenda, scheduled to address the gathering with politically motivated speech sucha as “ Current situation in Eritrea and the Region” as part of their ongoing agenda to oust the constitutionally elected Government of Eritrea illegally”
The statement made above is not correct. According to the agenda of the meeting the only person that was to speak on the issue of “Current situation in Eritrea and the Region” was Ambassador Andebrhan Weldgiorgis who also happens to be Adjunct Professor – Diplomacy and African Studies at the Vesalius College Brussels.
The statement is also incorrect in referring to the current Government of Eritrea as “constitutionally elected”. Since the 1992 independence referendum there has been no election in Eritrea to elect either the President or the Parliament. Therefore the current Government can’t be referred to as constitutionally elected. It is not logical for the same entity that continuously asserts that the constitution is not implemented and worst that the constitution is “ Dead” to then rely on the same instrument for its legitimacy;
The Embassy further would also like to bring to the attention of the esteemed Diplomatic Missions that the office of the Embassy of the State of Eritrea in Nairobi and the Association of Eritrean Community in Nairobi are the only appointed and legal representatives of the Government of the State of Eritrea and the Eritrean Community in the Republic of Kenya respectively and hence kindly request the Government of Kenya to stop the illegal activities of these subversive elements.
This is an assertion that inverts the roles and makes the Association of Eritrean Community in Nairobi a tool of the Government of Eritrea that is a community organisation is viewed by the Embassy and the Government of Eritrea as a representing the Government of Eritrea. Clearly we are not talking about a Government interested to hear and represent the People of Eritrea