Eritrean Refugees Association in Sudan holds its first public meeting


KHARTOUM (Dec.9)-The Eritrean Refugees Association in Sudan held its first public meeting, yesterday afternoon Friday9, December 2005, under the slogan, “Towards a better future for the Eritrean refugee.” The meeting, which went on for two full hours, started at 5:00PM by the presence of Eritrean and Sudanese press people, representatives of Khartoum-based governmental and non-governmental organizations, human rights centers on top of which Suwera Center for Human rights as well as a turn out of about 200 Eritrean refugee at the Popular Square (Saha Shaabya),Deyum al-Sharqeya, Khartoum.

The presenter of the program said, at the opening word, that the Eritrean Refugees Association in Sudan has been formed for the objective of creating a mechanism of delivering the demands of the Eritrean Refugees in a well-organized, collective way to the concerned regional and international humanitarian organizations as well as to draw the attention of the international community to the miserable life of the Eritrean refugees.

The head of the Council of the Eritrean Refugees Association in Sudan, Mr. Ibrahim Abdulkadier, appealed, in his short welcoming word,  to the humanitarian regional and international to put an end to the sufferings of the Eritrean refugees. He called on the Khartoum based governmental and non-governmental organizations to cooperate, and assist the starting Eritrean Refugees Association in Sudan.

Mr. Ibrahim said that the Eritrean Refugees Association in Sudan is ready to work with every body that works for the rights of the Eritrean refugees in accordance to the stipulations of the UNHCR. “We welcome every Eritrean that aim to work for the promotion of the Erirean refugees’ affairs because it is an association of all Eritrean humanitarians,” emphasized Mr.Ibrahim.

The chairman of the Executive Committee of the Eritrean Refugees, Afwerki Foto, presented, in a comprehensive way, the structures, objectives, and constitution, outline of the achieved activities and the coming work action of the association.

Mr.Foto said that the Eritrean Refugees Association in Sudan is an association for every Eritrean refugee. He emphasized, while explaining the constitution of the association, that it never entertains neither political orientations nor regional and religious sentiments, “Every member of the association who has involved in attempts to pass on political agendas or tries to politicize the task of the association or works to give it religious stamp will be automatically expelled from the association,” stressed Mr. Foto.

Mr. Foto said that the Eritrean Refugees Association is an association that emanated from the rally of the Eritrean refugees before the Headquarter of the UNCHR on December 29, 2004. “The demonstrators selected a committee, up on the request of the commissioner of the UNCHR to form a committee that could help the UNHCR to deal with the Eritrean refugee’s case,” outlined Mr. Foto. “A committee of 33 individuals was selected in the open air, which later on founded the Eritrean Refugees Association.”

Mr. Foto said that some Eritreans have done their best to impede the course of the founding committee by propagating wrong information about the mission of the association. “They have tried to make the association change its humanitarian track into a political one. And others being driven by the mere aim of obstructing the work of the association,” pointed out Mr. Foto.

Mr. Foto said that there is a propagation of a rumor that say Eritrean refugees do not have any problem to live in Sudan. “Such rumors could be originating from the office of the UNHCR,” added Mr. Foto. He called on Eritrean Refugees to join the Eritrean Refugees Association to face up such baseless rumors and to snatch the rights of a refugee which are stipulated at the refugees’ convention of the UNHCR.

Mr. Foto said that the Eritrean Refugees Association has done its best to create channels of contacts with Eritreans living in the Diaspora to promote, world wide, the mission of the association. “An Eritrean residing in the Netherlands has delivered a detailed document about the miserable life of the Eritrean refugees, which included the petition that the Eritrean demonstrators submitted on Dec.29, 2004, to the UNCHR in Geneva,” emphasized Mr. Foto.

Mr. Foto concluded his talk by calling upon Eritreans in the Diaspora to join the association in order to put an end to the ongoing miserable life of the Eritrean refuges. “If they join the association, they will have very great contributions to the mission of the Eritrean Refugees Association,” noted Mr. Foto.

The turn out which expressed its appreciations for the achieved work; and recommendations for the coming work action, declared its positive responsiveness and solidarity with the Eritrean Refugees Association and assured its readiness to work for the promotion of the mission of the association.

An Eritrean, of a good will, known amid Eritreans in Khartoum by the nickname “German” has contributed 200,000 Sudanese pounds at the conclusion as a token of his happiness to the materialized goals by the Eritrean Refugees Association.

Other older man, at the end of the program, got on the stage and held the microphone saying, “Brothers and sisters please just a moment. Let’s contribute whatever we could to help the committee settle the bill of the   accessories of the meeting. I personally am contributing 5,000 Sudanese pounds,” said the old. The turn out started, after the call of the old man, to contribute whatever they could.

The Eritrean Refugees Association in Sudan has a council of 33 members and an Executive Committee of 11 members of which the three are females.

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