# Challenges to Protecting and Promoting the Rights of Eritrean Refugees # Reflections on Research in the US, Europe, and Ethiopia

  • Dr. Tricia Redeker Hepner

    Moderators: Mr. Seyoum Tesfaye ( Atlanta, GA)

    Mr. Daniel Woldetensae ( London, UK)

    Mr. Bereket Estifanos ( Washington

    DC)Organizer : Dr. Yonas Mehari

  • Access Telephone : 1-404-920-6699 ( USA)
  • Participants Code : send request to ymehari@gmail.com
  • Date/Time : September 18th, 2010
      • 2:00 PM ETZ, 1:00 PM CTZ, 2:00 MTZ, 11:00 PTZ,
      • 9:00 PM Asmara, 7:00 PM London , 8:00 PM Italy
  • Co-Sponsors :

  • 1) Eritrean Global Solidarity (EGS)
  • 2)
  • Eritrean Foundation for Advancement of Science and Technology (EriFAST)

    Dr. Tricia Redeker Hepner

    | For more than three years, I have been carrying out anthropological research on the challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers who have left Eritrea and sought safety and new opportunities abroad. In this teleconference presentation, I will share findings and reflections from my ongoing fieldwork in the United States, Europe, and Ethiopia. In particular, I will focus on how refugees and asylum seekers face three interrelated challenges. First, their lives are subject to the forced migration policies and institutions empowered to “protect” their rights, or what is often called “the refugee regime” in the academic literature. This “refugee regime” affects Eritreans who live in refugee camps as well as those who move across multiple locations seeking safety. Secondly, refugees and asylum seekers are often negatively affected by domestic laws, policies, and procedures in countries or regions of asylum or settlement, such as the “terrorism bars” in the United States and the Dublin II regulations in Europe. Thirdly, their lives and possibilities for successful resettlement or integration are shaped by the politics of the Eritrean global diaspora and the efforts by various groups to organize and mobilize them. However, refugees and asylum seekers themselves are also thinking critically and acting creatively amidst these challenges. The emergence in the past five years of a vibrant discourse on human rights among Eritreans and the efforts of civic organizations and political groups to rethink their relationship to one another and envision a new future for Eritrea, indicates that the refugee crisis for Eritreans has produced collective transformations. By engaging in a dialogue with Eritreans around the world and sharing some reflections from my ongoing research, I hope to strengthen my own understanding of these issues and to possibly contribute some useful insights to my Eritrean colleagues, comrades, and friends.


    Dr. Tricia Redeker Hepner (also known as Trhas) is an assistant professor of anthropology, the chair of the Refugee and Migration Studies division of the Center for the Study of Social Justice, and the co-founder of the program on Disasters, Displacement, and Human Rights (DDHR) at the University of Tennessee. She is also the Eritrea country specialist for Amnesty International USA. She has conducted research among Eritreans for more than twelve years and has lived in Eritrea for varying periods of time between 1995-2001. She is the author of Soldiers, Martyrs, Traitors, and Exiles: Political Conflict in Eritrea and the Diaspora (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) and the co-editor of Biopolitics, Militarism, and Development: Eritrea in the Twenty-first Century (New York: Berghahn Books, 2009). She is also a committed advocate for refugee and asylum seekers’ rights and has helped hundreds of Eritreans obtain legal protection in the US and elsewhere.

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