Official Positions on the Tragic State of Eritrea EPP



Official Positions on the Tragic State of Eritrea

Eritrea is on the verge of collapse. The country is a pariah on the international stage. A once-promising nation, with a vibrant economy and a bright future, Eritrea is a shell of its former self. The dictatorship that has been in power since the country’s independence 25 years ago has left no stone unturned in its utter destruction of the country. The Eritrean economy is on the verge of complete meltdown, with its productive potential sapped by mindless policies pursued by the authoritarian government.

To understand Eritrea’s tragic quagmire and what it takes to get it out of the deep hole the dictatorship has dug, a brief context is in order. On May 24, 1991, the fighters of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front, People’s Front for Democracy and Justice since 1994, made a triumphant entry into Asmara, thereby ending one of the longest-running and bloodiest struggles for independence on the African continent. The successful conclusion of the liberation struggle created an atmosphere of euphoria about the endless possibilities in the years ahead.

However, the dream of a socially vibrant, politically free and economically prosperous Eritrea made possible by a promising victory has turned into a nightmare of herculean proportions. The current regime in Eritrea has squandered the goodwill of the Eritrean people. Its incessant squabbles with neighboring countries have undermined our social fabric by militarizing our society, thereby sapping the country’s productive workforce. Its failed economic and political vision has plunged the country into an unimaginable nightmare. Despite the immense sacrifice paid by the Eritrean people during the struggle for independence, they are arguably worse off today than they were before independence. Consequently, for the vast majority of our citizens, Eritrea is inhospitable. In short, Eritrea, despite the considerable sacrifice in blood and treasure, has become an open-air prison.

A quarter century after Eritrea’s independence, the Eritrean people have not had any opportunity to have a say in the selection of their leaders. The country has no official constitution, with the dictatorship having firmly planted itself at the helm of state power without the imprimatur of popular legitimacy. The dictatorship, lacking an iota of popular legitimacy derived from democratic elections, has decided to rely on the coercive organs of the state to maintain its tenuous but still suffocating control over the Eritrean people. The vast majority of Eritrea’s youth are forcibly drafted into the regime’s vanity project to achieve regional military supremacy, thereby robbing the country of its productive potential. The regime’s open-ended mandatory policy of forcible conscription has sapped the economy of its productive potential.

The dictatorship, unconstrained by institutional checks and balances, continues to perpetrate massive human right violations with impunity. The state, save for its repressive organs, is weak when measured by the ability to provide for and protect its citizens. As a result of the oppressive policies of the dictatorship, the Eritrean people are in a state of total despair. Deprived of any opportunities for a decent life at home, Eritrea’s youth are fleeing the country in droves, often at great costs to their lives. If this trend continues, Eritrea will soon become a ghost nation, with the vast majority of its population scattered in neighboring countries as well as elsewhere around the world.

Each and every single day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the current regime in Asmara lacks the democratic legitimacy bestowed upon it by its citizens. Consequently, its claim as the sole representative of the Eritrean people continues to ring hollow. It has become abundantly clear that the current situation in Eritrea cannot be reversed through peaceful means. Although the regime has faced opposition as long as it has been in existence, no organized opposition capable of posing a mortal danger to the regime has materialized. The fragmentation of opposition and the consequent lack of unity have been the major impediment in the struggle to remove the oppressive authoritarian regime in Asmara. Those of us who love our beloved Eritrea can no longer, in good conscience, sit on the sidelines. The Eritrean Progressive Party (EPP), a coalition of several groups from across the socio-economic and political spectrum of the country, is now leading the struggle to remove the malignant tumor metastasizing throughout the body politic that is Eritrea. Our main goal is to convince the international community that a legitimate alternative capable of and committed to representing the Eritrean people exists. Since the dictatorship in Eritrea has willfully abdicated its responsibility to represent the Eritrean people and has engaged in massive human rights violations, there is no alternative except to eliminate this malignant tumor through all necessary means. To that end, the EPP has begun putting in place the foundations for the emergence of the Provisional Armed Forces of Eritrea that will be in charge of securing the country following the ultimate demise of the rotten regime in Asmara.

As exiled nationals of Eritrea seeking to bring about fundamental political, economic and social transformations in Eritrea by any means necessary, we consider ourselves the sole legitimate representative of the Eritrean people. We have no illusions that the tasks ahead will be easy or without any challenges. However, no challenge is insurmountable. We believe that with visionary leadership along with the demonstrated determination of the Eritrean people, we can and we will put the country on a democratic path, in which all Eritreans regardless of religion or ethnicity can live in harmony. Although the current regime’s abysmal record with regard to Eritrea’s economy, internal politics and relations with our neighbors has left an ugly mark on the Eritrean body politic, we are determined to right the regime’s countless wrongs.

Since the dictatorship has, for all intents and purposes, abandoned its responsibility of representing its citizens both at home and abroad, it is high time the international community withdrew diplomatic recognition from the rotten regime. Instead, we request that the international community grant formal recognition to the government-in-exile led by the EPP. Internationally, a formal recognition of our status as legitimate representatives of the Eritrean people will help us provide necessary protections to Eritrean nationals abandoned by the regime. As mentioned earlier, the inhospitable conditions in Eritrea have resulted in the mass exodus of Eritrea’s youth. With considerable numbers of Eritrean nationals scattered around the world but bereft of a legitimate government to represent them, Eritreans are even more desperate abroad. We, therefore, request that the international community accept as legitimate identification cards issued by the coalition provisional government in exile. In addition to providing much-needed protection for our nationals, the identification papers will also play another important role: to demonstrate that those that carry IDs issued by a coalition provisional government in exile have no links whatsoever to the regime in Asmara. Furthermore, we request that the international community treat Eritreans carrying IDs issued by the coalition provisional government in exile as at-risk nationals who should be afforded full protection under international law.

The dictatorship in Eritrea, because it lacks domestic legitimacy and it is gripped by fear and mistrust, has essentially treated Eritrean diplomatic missions as an appendage of its oppressive domestic apparatus. Eritrean diplomatic missions are known for spying on dissidents and other nationals unwilling to bow to the regime. In the process, Eritrean nationals continue to be without the representation of a government committed to defending their interests. We, therefore, request that the European Union and other European nations with interest in the welfare of Eritreans and the future of Eritrea withdraw their diplomatic recognition of the regime in Asmara and instead recognize the coalition provisional government in exile as the sole representative of the Eritrean people. The current Eritrean regime simply lacks a modicum of popular legitimacy at home. It has manipulated its standing as the officially recognized government of Eritrea to advance not the national interest but the interests of a narrow power-crazed clique.

The EPP is also committed to reestablishing Eritrea’s standing in the region. Today, Eritrea is an outcast, having been accused of sponsoring terrorist groups and engaging in other destabilizing activities throughout the Horn of Africa. Our preliminary plans include crafting a regional policy that is predicated on peaceful cooperation with our neighbors. In particular, we are committed to restoring our special and strong relationship with Ethiopia, our sister country. Following the 1998-2000 Ethiopia-Eritrea war, a once-unbreakable bond between our two countries lays in taters thanks to the reckless adventurism of the regime in Asmara. We want a cooperative relationship with Ethiopia for we believe the strength of this relationship will determine the trajectory of Eritrea’s future. In the process, we are committed to righting the many wrongs of the current regime. Given the sheer number of failures, however, we believe that we will need all the help we can get from friends of Eritrea.

Regionally, to help us represent the Eritrean people in a meaningful way, we will request that the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) provide us a seat at the table. Additionally, it is imperative that Ethiopia and Eritrea reestablish frayed diplomatic links, with the coalition provisional government being recognized as the legitimate representative of the Eritrean people. Since the current regime in Asmara has no broad-based legitimacy whatsoever, it cannot and does not speak for the Eritrean people. Only a legitimate organization like the EPP can represent the interests of the Eritrean people. The coalition provisional government in exile is determined to advance a friendly, cooperation-driven agenda with our neighbors. Our aim is to make Eritrea relevant again by taking our rightful place in the community of nations. To make that happen, we will need all the help and cooperation we can get from you. Fiends of the Eritrean people can help us achieve this lofty objective by granting the coalition provisional government in exile formal recognition as the sole legitimate representative of the Eritrean people.

When Eritrea became independent, it did largely thanks to the cooperation of the Ethiopian government. Without this support, the referendum that made Eritrean independence possible might not have taken place. Indeed, the support of the Ethiopian government came at the expense of its domestic legitimacy, since large numbers of political actors and ordinary citizens were concerned about the impact of Eritrea’s impending secession on Ethiopia’s access to the seas. But when the referendum was completed successfully and Eritrea became independent, the dawn of a new relationship appeared on the horizon. This was, indeed, the case for some time, with Eritrea enjoying a privileged position in Ethiopia’s political economy. Nevertheless, the Eritrean regime’s belligerent and highly militarized posture via-a-vis its neighbors soon stood in the way of what was once a promising era of friendship with Ethiopia and most of its neighbors, culminating in the bloody two-year war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Although both sides signed a cessation of hostilities, no lasting solution has been found. We believe that such a solution cannot be found so long as the dictatorship continues to sit at the helm of the state in Asmara. As a result, the two countries continue to be on a collision course as a result of fundamental disagreements about the demarcation of the boundaries between the two countries. In particular, the final status of Badme—the flashpoint of the conflict—continue to be a major bone of contention between the two countries. It is our sincere hope that the Ethiopian government will hold direct talks with us on the issue of Badme, and not with the current illegitimate government in Asmara. We are also willing to hold direct talks with Ethiopia about the modalities of the latter’s access to Eritrean ports.


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Posted by on Jan 24 2016 Filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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