The Kunama is a minority ethnic-group living in the western part of Eritrea.This page exposes the unjust and discriminatory activities of the Eritrean government. It also participates in the political dialogues in Eritrea.

Welcome to  BADEN - Kunama.Com

  Home / Arabic / Tigringa / Feedback



All the forces waging wars of „Genocide” against the Kunama people ,aim at disrupting and destroying the Kunama people’s traditional “ethnic identification marks,” their “egalitarian social system” and their traditional system of “commonly owning and administering their native and ancestral land”:








TORTURE HAVEN - BBC Radio 4, File On 4 investigative programme (March 21, 2009)

BBC Radio 4, File on 4

will be broadcasting its investigative programme


on Tuesday 24th March 2009, 20:00 (8 PM) GMT

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 information:

With regards

Elsa/Elizabeth Chyrum

Human Rights Activist

Human Rights Concern - Eritrea



 Human Rights Watch: Eritrea World Report Chapter-2009


Please see below Human Rights Watch’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: If you have any questions please

do let me know.

Thank you,


McKenzie Price

Associate, Africa Division

Human Rights Watch

1630 Connecticut Ave.

Suite 500

Washington, DC 20009

Tel: 202-612-4321

Fax: 202-612-4333

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

public meetings.

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.

Religious Persecution

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

each other.

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

remains modest.

A 60 percent Canadian and 40 percent Eritrean government-owned

gold-mining venture in Bisha, western Eritrea, is scheduled to begin

in 2010.

Eritrea's human rights record is due to be reviewed under the

Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council in

December 2009.




Dear friends and regular visitors of,

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 informative activities.

With greetings and regards,

The VKP/KAM’s team: (October 25, 2008.)


Important Public Notice from Stockholm City

Peaceful Rally against the Stockholm Festival

Popular Resistance against tyrannical festival! (August 07, 2008)

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:





ኣብ ከተማ ኤድመንተን ካናዳ

ዕለት:    9 10, 2008  (AUGUST 09 & 10, 2008)

ቦታ:      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።  


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  














PHONE:  403-606-2341


Source:- SHIMEBA REFUGEE CAMP, Ethiopia - Refugees fear sharing same fate as Kunta Kinte

'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, 2007,0,4465638.story


Visit at


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, Ethiopia - 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 bizarre."


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 earth.


"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 is impossible."


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.

Send mail to Baden-Kunama with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: 10/31/09