Workshop reports By workshop organizers

Organized by the Eritrean Association for peace and democracy in the city of Stockholm –Sweden from 2-4 November 2007.


The Eritrean Association for peace and democracy has been organizing seminars, inviting politicians, academicians and civil society activists presenting lectures on different core thorny conflict issues and particularly in succeeding national unity and establishing a system of governance in Eritrea guaranteeing our people democracy,  justice and equality.


At this seventh time seminar, the theme of the seminar was “ democracy and conflict management in Eritrea.”


 The contributors at this seminar which was held from 2-4 November 2007 were Dr. Yohannes Zermariam, Dr. Sahle Tesfay and Mr. Fredrik Malm from the liberal party.


In the third day of the seminar a workshop was conducted on the factors that hinder or enhance the unity of the opposition and how to solve the problems and realize the unity of the democratic opposition, organizing the national dialogue conference and identify the role of the civil society and the media.


The obstacles for national unity

–          Existence of non –representative and non-accountable government in Eritrea

–          Failure on developing common instruments and lack of handling of differences and divergence

–          Practising organizational and party selfishness  and giving priority to regional and tribal cleavages

–          Lack of clear common understanding about multi- ethnic national identity in Eritrea

–          Ignoring or denying secondary differences in promoting the common interests

–          Living in secrecy and suspicion

–          Failure of alliances on priorities and objectives of the grand strategies

–          Lack of clear national work plan/ program fulfilling the wishes and the demands of the Eritrean people

–          Lack of consensus on the social and cultural structure of the Eritrean people’s diversities and conflicts based on its identities and the organization of the state

–          Absence of trust at the level of individuals or at the level of political power

–          Personal competitions

–          Escaping from finding practical resolutions of differences

–          Obsessed by attitudes of  dominance and chauvinism

–          Lack of respect of democratic laws and rules and negation to abide by the results of the democratic decisions

–          Lack of mutual respect and acceptance of others as they are,  not as you like

–          Obsessed by mistrust

–          Failed on clear understanding on what we differ and on what we agree

–          Absence of criteria on how we reach agreement about the issue of power-sharing

–          Non- participation of the major Eritrean people,  its limited awareness and contributions to the current situation, its weak conviction and involvement on democratic changes and its escape from taking the responsibility

–          Absence of institutions that assist gain clear international opinion and lack of leadership that realize this opinion

–          Confused understanding of unity and unable to differentiate between alliance and unity

–          Absence of  media strategy raising democratic awareness


Measures to be taken to remedy the identified obstacles:-


–          National struggle promoting power sharing democracy

–          Asserting all political and democratic freedoms

–          Existence of peaceful coexistence of shared interests under one nation

–          Building of  an umbrella organization uniting various political opposition forces against the dictator,  constitute a national charter and organize a broad national umbrella that can get legitimacy and acceptance from the broad communities of the Eritrean people




  1. On the unity of the opposition camp


–          Regarding the Eritrean Democratic Alliance, the workshop has seen it as a gain of the people and is the result of national struggle to be maintained and developed.

–          Calling the member organizations of the EDA to commit tangible steps and quick remedy the gaps and bring their members of the organizations to normalization towards convening conference for democratic change to form a  common platform consisting all political , civic ( NGOs and civil society, religious and secular) forces to  achieve  our peoples’ aspirations of democracy and freedoms.



  1. On convening national conference


–          Urgency of assembling all nationals including all who wish to participate according its name(  all inclusive-national conference, Dialogue conference, Conference for democratic change and conference for national salvation) where  the following can participate:

  1. Representatives of political organizations
  2. Representatives of civil society and centres for media services
  3. Representatives of the Refugees in the neighbouring countries
  4. Religious authorities and traditional leaders
  5. Academics and professionals
  6. International observers


-Encouraging initiatives that take place on various regions on speeding the convening the conference.


  1. On the civil society organizations(CSO)


–          Creating common understanding on civil society organizations and welcome their establishment and development

–          Clarity on the role and status between political and civil society organizations

–          Coordination and cooperation between political organizations and civil society organizations in promoting the struggle for democracy and human rights.



4. On the opposition media service


–          Employ different activities of media to get the attention of the world for our peoples’ grievances to all corners of the world and gaining the opinion of the world’s community to the struggle of the Eritrean people for democracy and justice.





  Contributors to this report : Negash Osman and Fesseha Nair



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