TORTURE HAVEN - BBC Radio 4, File On 4
investigative programme (March
BBC Radio 4, File on 4
will be broadcasting its investigative programme
on Tuesday 24th March 2009, 20:00 (8 PM)
Has Britain become a haven for torturers? Fran Abrams investigates the
case for new laws and
tougher policing to prevent human rights abusers taking refuge
in the UK.
Producer: Andy Denwood. Editor: David Ross.
Here's the link to the BBC File on 4 website:
The programme will cover the cases of four alleged perpetrators from
four different countries who have committed crimes against humanity,
including torture, in their own countries, and are currently living in
the U.K. One
of the four alleged torturers is Eritrea’s Ex-Minister Mr Naizghi Kiflu.
Here are the links to the reports by Human Rights Concern – Eritrea and
Reporters Without Borders on Mr Kiflu’s alleged crimes for your
Human Rights Activist
Human Rights Concern - Eritrea
Human Rights Watch: Eritrea World Report Chapter-2009
Please see below Human Rights Watchâ€™s World Report chapter on Eritrea,
released January 2009. It is also available on our website:
The rest of our work on Eritrea can be found on our country website:
you have any questions please
do let me know.
Associate, Africa Division
Human Rights Watch
1630 Connecticut Ave.
Washington, DC 20009
Eritrea <http://www.hrw.org/en/world-report/2009/eritrea> -
Events of 2008
In less than two decades of independence, the government of President
Isayas Afewerki has established a totalitarian grip on Eritrea.
Increasing numbers of citizens are fleeing oppression and seeking
refuge in neighboring countries and beyond.
President Isayas's government controls all levers of power: political,
economic, social, journalistic, and religious. A constitution approved
by referendum in 1997 remains unimplemented. No national election has
ever been held, and an interim parliament has not met since 2002. The
judiciary exists only as an instrument of control. The press is
entirely government-owned. No private civil society organizations are
sanctioned; all are arms of the government or the sole political
party, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ).
International human rights organizations are denied entry.
Isayas uses Ethiopia's failure to permit demarcation of the border
with Eritrea as the excuse to justify his repressive rule, claiming
that the country must remain on a war footing. In 2008 he said that
elections will not be held for decades because they polarize society
"vertically." He declared he will remain in full control until Eritrea
is secure, "as long as it takes."
Suppression of Free Expression
Dissent in any form has been ruthlessly suppressed since 11 PFDJ
leaders were arrested in September 2001 for questioning the
president's leadership. They remain detained without charge or trial
in a remote maximum-security prison in solitary confinement. The
independent press was destroyed in 2001 and its editors and
publishers, except those who managed to flee, remain detained. In 2008
Reporters Without Borders ranked Eritrea last of 173 countries on its
Press Freedom Index. An Asmara-based British reporter was expelled in
2008 after he refused a demand from the Ministry of Information for
the names of sources for his report that veterans of the war of
independence complained about life in Eritrea. More than 40 community
leaders were detained in September 2008 for no apparent reason other
than that they had complained about Isayas's economic policies at
Prison Conditions and Torture
Detention conditions are harsh. There are generally no trials or terms
of confinement; detention lasts as long as the government chooses. No
independent monitoring organization has access to Eritrean prisons.
Former detainees and guards report that prisoners are packed into
unventilated cargo containers under extreme temperatures or are held
in dark and cramped underground cells. Torture is common, as are
indefinite solitary confinement, starvation rations, lack of
sanitation and medical care, and hard labor. Of 31 political leaders
and journalists arrested in 2001, nine are reported to have died.
Other deaths in captivity have also been reported. For example, the
family of a founder of the Eritrean Liberation Front-an armed
pre-independence group-who was arrested in 2005, learned of his death
in jail in 2008 only when called to collect his body.
Military Conscription and Arrests
Under a 1995 decree, all men between ages 18 and 50, and women between
18 and 27, must serve 18 months of military service. In fact, men
serve indefinitely and boys under 18 years of age increasingly report
being conscripted. In 2008 the World Bank estimated that 320,000
Eritreans are in the military. Conscripts are used as labor on
infrastructure and projects benefitting military commanders. Working
conditions are severe. Dozens of conscripts have died from intense
heat, malnutrition, and lack of medical care; female conscripts are
often victims of rape.
Eritreans flee the country by the thousands despite "shoot-to-kill"
orders for anyone caught crossing the border. When Eritrea deployed
troops to the border and clashed with Djiboutian forces in early 2008,
at least 40 soldiers deserted. A refugee camp in northern Ethiopia
became so cramped in 2008 that the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees opened two new camps to accommodate new arrivals.
Thousands of Eritreans escape through Sudan to Egypt and Libya despite
efforts by Sudanese officials and Eritrean intelligence agents to
return truckloads of people. Over 2,500 Eritreans arrived in Israel,
mostly by way of Egypt, in the first nine months of 2008. In June 2008
Egypt forcibly returned about 1,200 refugees to Eritrea. Although
women with children were soon released, single women and most men were
incarcerated at Wi'a, a notorious military camp near the Red Sea.
In 2008, President Isayas claimed that international reports of
increasing Eritrean refugees are deliberate distortions and that
defections are caused by an "orchestrated, organized operation
financed by the CIA."
Unable to staunch the flow of escapees, the government uses collective
punishment to extort money. Once the government identifies those who
have evaded or fled service, it fines their families at least 50,000
nakfa (US$3,300); if the family cannot pay, it imprisons family
members or seizes their land. No law authorizes either practice.
The government permits members of only Orthodox Christian, Catholic,
and Lutheran churches and traditional Islam to worship in Eritrea.
Although four other denominations applied for registration in 2002,
none has been registered. Members of unregistered churches, especially
Protestant sects, are persecuted. Over 3,000 members of unregistered
churches are incarcerated. Many are beaten and otherwise abused to
compel them to renounce their faiths. Some are released after a month
or two, but others are held indefinitely. Youths who protested
confiscation of religious books at a military training school in 2008
were locked into shipping containers.
"Recognized" religious groups have not been spared. In 2006 the
government removed the 81-year-old patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox
Church after he refused to interfere with a renewal movement within
the church. He has been in solitary confinement since May 2007.
Members of the renewal movement have been arrested and abused in the
same fashion as members of non-recognized churches. In 2008 the regime
revoked the exemption from military service of most Orthodox priests.
The government has also interfered with the Roman Catholic Church. It
has taken over church schools, health clinics, and other social
service facilities. Since November 2007 it expelled at least 14
foreign Catholic missionaries by refusing to extend their residency
Relations with Neighboring Countries
Tensions with Ethiopia remain high. Ethiopia has not implemented the
2002 border demarcation recommended by the Border Commission
established under an armistice agreement that Ethiopia and Eritrea
signed at the end of their 1998-2000 war. The commission's decision
was supposed to be binding, but Ethiopia refuses to permit demarcation
to the extent that the demarcation awards the village of Badme, the
flashpoint of the war, to Eritrea.
In July 2008 the United Nations disbanded a peacekeeping force that
had been patrolling the border. Eritrea had heavily restricted the
force's activities by denying it access to fuel and to large sections
of the border, and the opportunity to engage in aerial observation.
Heavily armed Ethiopian and Eritrean troops are now within meters of
As in previous years, in 2008 a UN team monitoring an arms embargo on
Somalia accused Eritrea of smuggling weapons to insurgents fighting
the Somali transitional government and Ethiopian troops in Somalia.
Eritrea hosts a faction of the Somali armed opposition led by Hassan
Dahir Aweys, as well as several Ethiopian armed opposition groups,
consistent with Eritrea's policy of supporting armed groups fighting
the Ethiopian government.
In early 2008 Eritrea launched border incursions against Djibouti. On
June 10, the Eritrean military opened fire on Djiboutian troops after
Djibouti ignored an ultimatum to return Eritrean troops, including
officers, who had deserted. The clash resulted in 35 deaths and dozens
of wounded, according to a UN investigation. Although the UN did not
receive access to Eritrea to investigate the incursions, it concluded
that Eritrea was the aggressor.
Key International Actors
Eritrea depends heavily on remittances from Eritreans living abroad,
including a 2 percent tax on foreign incomes. Because of Eritrea's
repressive policies, remittances have fallen, from 41 percent of GDP
in 2005, to 23 percent in 2007.
As a result, Eritrea still depends on substantial foreign aid despite
Isayas's policy of self-sufficiency. In 2008, the European Union
announced it will provide €115 million between 2008 and 2013. The
World Bank announced US$29.5 million in grants for electrification and
for early childhood health and education.
The United States provides no direct assistance partly because Isayas,
angered by US support of Ethiopia, refuses its aid. Nevertheless, the
US contributed $3.1 million through UNICEF and other channels. The US
did not in 2008 declare Eritrea a state sponsor of terrorism as it had
earlier threatened to do because of Eritrea's support of Somali groups
the US regards as "terrorists." However, in October the US government
did ban arms sales to Eritrea on the basis that it is "not fully
cooperating with anti-terrorism efforts."
Despite Eritrea's efforts to encourage financial assistance from Iran,
China, and Middle Eastern countries, funding from those sources
A 60 percent Canadian and 40 percent Eritrean government-owned
gold-mining venture in Bisha, western Eritrea, is scheduled to begin
Eritrea's human rights record is due to be reviewed under the
Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council in
A WORD OF APOLOGY
TO OUR RESPECTABLE READERSHIP:
Dear friends and regular visitors of www.baden-kunama.com,
due to unavoidable technical difficulties, our web-site has been out for
sometime, but it is now back again.
The team cordially apologises to its readership for the inconvenience
caused and promises to recapture the lost time and continue its
With greetings and regards,
The VKP/KAM’s team: (October 25,
Important Public Notice from Stockholm City
Peaceful Rally against the Stockholm Festival
Popular Resistance against tyrannical
The Eritrean civil and political organizations branches in Sweden will
organize a peaceful rally against the festival used for political
propaganda and fund raising for the tyrannical regime in Eritrea that
will be held in the city of Stockholm from 8th to 10th August 2008. The
aim of the rally is to express the Eritrean peoples’ suffering,
intimidations, mass arresting and extra judicial killings and is to echo
the human rights abuses committed by the tyranny in Eritrea. We
cordially call all concerned Eritrean -Swedish citizens to participate
in this rally
Date: Saturday 9th August 2008
Time: From 10.00- 20.00
Place: Eggebygård- Järva Folkets Park Spånga
Meeting place: At Shell station on the side of the Enköpings road
between Tensta and Husby.
See the attached map:
ሰ ላ ማ ዊ
ሰ ል ፊ
ኣብ ከተማ ኤድመንተን ካናዳ
ዕለት: 9ን 10ን,
2008 (AUGUST 09 & 10, 2008)
82 AVENUE 50 STREET (TEHADSO
August 01, 2008)
ሎሚ ዘመንውን ከም ዓሚ ብዝሐብን ሕብረትና ንፈስቲቫል ህግደፍ ከነፍሽሎ ኢና።
ነዚ ጸላኢ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ዝኾነ ፍንፉን ስርዓት ህግደፍን ኰራኹሩን ዳግም ንምፍሻል ነፍስ ወከፍ ኤርትራዊ ኣብናይ ኣልበርታ ኣውራጃ ከተማታት ዝቕመጥ ብተግዳስነት ኣብ ተዳልዩ ዘሎ ሰላማዊ ክትሳተፉ;
ከምኡውን ኣብ ካልኦት ከተማታት ካናዳ ብፍላይ ኣብ ቀረባና ከተማታት ቫንኩቨርን፤ ሳስካቱንን፤ ዊኒፐግን፤ረጃይናን፤ ረድዲርን፤ ለስብሪችን፤ ከምቲ ዓሚ ዘዐወትኩሙና ሕጅውን ተገዲስኩም ክትመጹና ብኽብሪንዕድመኩም።
ብ ደ ሓ ን ም ጹ!
መን ይስለፍ ... ሕልና ዘለዎ
መን የዳኽር … ሕልና ዘይብሉ
መን ይቃወም … ሕልና ዘለዎ መን የጣቕዕ … ሕልና ዘይብሉ
መንከ ይዕወት … ሕልና ዘለዎ መን ይሰዓር … ሕልና ዘይብሉ
መን ይሕጐስ … ንህዝቡ ዘይከሓደ መን ይጠዓስ … ንህዝቡ ዝከሓደ
PLEASE WELCOME AND POST THE DECLARATION OF THE
NEW BORN ORGANIZATION (June
I WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL FOR THE POSTING OF PREVIOUSLY ESTABLISHED
ORGANIZATION /TEHADSO/ AND SO FAR IT HAS BEEN CARRYING MEETINGS WITH ALL
EDA MEMBERS SOON WILL OFFICIALLY BE JOINING THE ALLIANCE AND SOON MANY
PRESS RELEASES ARE COMING SOON.
ANY WEB SITE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE AN INTERVIEW WITH THE PRESIDENT OF
TEHADSO IS WELCOME.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION
SALIH M. OMAR
C/O MEHARI WOLDE-GIORGIS
127 MAITLAND ROAD NE
T2A 4Z3, CANADA
Source:- http://www.chicagotribune.com SHIMEBA
REFUGEE CAMP, Ethiopia -
Refugees fear sharing same fate as Kunta
'Roots' mini-series, cop shows and rebel threats deter Eritreans from
moving to U.S.
Part 1 By
Paul Salopek | Tribune foreign correspondent
July 17, 2007
Visit chicagotribune.com at http://www.chicagotribune.com
Refugees fear sharing same fate as Kunta Kinte
'Roots' mini-series, cop shows and rebel threats deter Eritreans from
moving to U.S.
By Paul Salopek
Tribune foreign correspondent
July 17 2007
SHIMEBA REFUGEE CAMP,
A strange thing happened here recently on the long and twisting refugee
trail to America.
More than 4,000 war-displaced pastoralists belonging to Eritrea's Kunama
tribe, some of them languishing in this malarial holding camp for years,
received a golden offer that the world's 9 million other refugees only
dream of: free resettlement in the land of riches and liberty, the
United States. Yet, to the bewilderment of aid workers, the overwhelming
majority of Kunamas answered with a resounding, "No thanks."
"People don't want to be sold as slaves in America," refugee Dawit
Feliche, 30, explained matter-of-factly in his dank camp hut.
Sensing skepticism, he added gravely, "And they don't want to be killed
by your police."
Or at least that's the message emanating from a makeshift video parlor
operated in Shimelba camp by local rebels.
In one of the more surreal cases of a liberation movement intimidating
refugees, the insurgents -- a tiny Eritrean group that depends on the
camp for recruits and war taxes -- have been replaying old episodes of
"Roots," the fabled 1970s mini-series about the horrors of the
trans-Atlantic slave trade, to convince the unworldly Kunamas that
whipping posts and shackles await them in America.
Kunta Kinte, the series' hapless 18th Century protagonist, was on many
refugees' lips during a recent visit to the remote camp. So were anxious
questions about the ultraviolent cop shows that rebels were screening to
impress the tribe with U.S. police brutality.
The result: By last week, barely 700 Kunamas, a disappointing fraction
of the thousands of grizzled herders who have fled persecution in
neighboring Eritrea, were packing up their sandals and flying off to new
lives in U.S. towns and cities.
"It's pretty standard to run into interference from rebels in Africa,"
said David Murphy of the International Rescue Committee, an aid group
working in Shimelba camp. "But this is something else. It's just
A stolen opportunity
And, for many Kunamas, tragic. Most of the refugees duped by the rebels'
Hollywood fare won't get a second chance to seek haven in the U.S.,
immigration experts said.
The doleful saga of the Kunamas began seven years ago, United Nations
sources say, after Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a fierce border war that
killed at least 70,000 people.
Though they are Eritreans, the independent-minded Kunamas backed the
Ethiopians in that conflict -- a decision that exposed the
100,000-strong tribe to brutal crackdowns in their homeland. Eritrean
security forces began arresting the largely illiterate pastoralists for
sedition. Some Kunamas were shot. And by late 2000, the frightened
herders were pushing their bony cows and camels across minefields into
Ethiopia, where about 4,200 have been stuck in desolate camps ever since
-- one of the hundreds of displaced populations in Africa.
Then, in 2005, the Kunamas won the equivalent of the global refugee
jackpot: The UN successfully nominated the oppressed minority for
resettlement to the United States.
The U.S. takes in more refugees than any other nation -- about 41,000
worldwide in the last year alone. But hosting entire populations, such
as the famous "Lost Boys" of Sudan, has become exceedingly rare.
"We got our first surprise when three-quarters of the eligible Kunamas
didn't even apply," marveled a UN refugee worker who spoke on condition
of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the news media.
"We had people walking 50 kilometers [31 miles] to tell us they didn't
want to go to America. That was new."
Indeed, the Kunamas' broad rejection of U.S. generosity has made them
minor celebrities within aid circles in Africa.
Reasons besides fear
Most refugee workers have pegged the tribe's reluctance to leave Africa
to romantic notions, particularly a deep attachment to the land. And
many older people in Shimelba, who still cook their meals on the ground
and are unfamiliar with the operation of a doorknob, did seem unwilling
to stray too far from their nomad's paradise of white thorns and red
"I will stay," said Tuqua
Kena, 76, an elder in a dingy robe whose herd of 15 cows died of
unknown sicknesses in the camp. "I have heard good things about America.
But it is too cold."
But even a brief walk through the camp's rain-sodden alleys revealed a
different sort of chill blowing through refugees' huts.
Part 2:- Refugees fear sharing same fate as Kunta Kinte
'Roots' mini-series, cop shows and rebel threats deter Eritreans from
moving to U.S.
By Paul Salopek | Tribune foreign correspondent
July 17, 2007
REFUGEE CAMP, Ethiopia - In separate interviews, more than a half-dozen
frightened Kunamas detailed a crude but effective intimidation campaign
being waged against U.S. resettlement by the Democratic Movement for the
Liberation of the Eritrean Kunama, an obscure rebel group opposing the
rule of Eritrea.
Several factions of the insurgents, numbering a few hundred guerrillas,
are using the camp as a recruiting pool, the refugees said. The rebels
also were exacting a weekly tax of one Ethiopian birr -- or about 11
cents -- from each adult in the camp.
"They show the Kunta Kinte videos, and tell people that's going to
happen to them," said a refugee who was too frightened to share his
name. "They spread stupid stories. They tell the villagers that white
people in America want to take the Kunamas' organs."
Such rumors are backed up with late-night visits by rebel enforcers who
first cajole then threaten to beat those who had signed up for
resettlement, all of the refugees said.
"Only the most educated among us are still committed to going," said a
Kunama teacher who also asked not to be identified. "All of our old
people don't know any better. They accept everything the rebels say."
The teacher sat forlornly in his hut, dressed in clean, hand-washed
shirt and polished shoes as if already waiting to board his flight to
Florida or Nevada -- two of the destinations slated for Kunama refugees.
He claimed refugee officials knew about the rebel bullying, but chose to
keep quiet for political reasons.
Ethiopia has long supported DMLEK in its battle against its arch-enemy
Eritrea, Western diplomats say, just as Eritrea funds rebels fighting
against Ethiopia. A UN worker did not dispute the teacher's charge.
Rebel denies accusations
In mud-smeared Shimelba, a rebel representative seemed unnerved when
confronted with the accusations.
"The movies are for entertainment," said Usman
Saleh, a skinny insurgent clad in a T-shirt stenciled with the
phrase "Together in Harmony." "There is no pressure. What you are saying
Yet it isn't, as most aid workers know. From Darfur to Lebanon, refugees
have been coerced to stay put by local militias who have needed them for
cannon fodder. During Sudan's recent north-south civil war, rebels even
forced refugees to settle near their bases at gunpoint, soso as to skim
their food aid.
On the hardscrabble plains of northern Ethiopia, the barrier to leaving
wasn't that dramatic.
It was a grass-roofed hut that showed bloody American videos on a
generator-powered television. The Kunamas who chose to ignore them
arrive in America this week.
The VKP/KAM’s team apologises to its readership, for its long silence:
Due to unexpected and unavoidable technical problems which had affected
its web-site, the VKP/KAM’s team did not
even have the chance to announce in advance and apologise to its
customers that it was facing such problems. It is
now, back to work and hopes it will continue as usual.
The team cordially thanks and apologises to all for their understanding.
The VKP/KAM: (June 20, 2007.