Press Release: Reasons for Boycotting the Eritrean Government Sponsored Fund-raising and Political Campaign

The Eritrean government sponsored fund raising and political campaign activities are due to start on Friday January 5th, 2007. Despite the futile attempt by the regime’s representatives in Australia to disguise this manifestly political event and making it to appear as a cultural celebration is cynical at best, and at worst, it is a reminder of the old practices of totalitarian governments. A free society doesn’t need to be lectured by ham-fisted totalitarian governments how and when to celebrate their cultures. The aim of the so-called “festival” is to raise money and get political legitimacy. Thereby, the Eritrean Australians for Justice and Peace extends its call for all Eritrean Australians and their friends to join the peaceful demonstrations to be held in the vicinity of the Melbourne City Town Hall on the 5th and 6th of January 2007. Our contentions of arguments for the boycott and peaceful demonstration against the festival are as follows:

Unconstitutional Government: The tyrannical regime has sidelined the ratified constitution for more than 10 years, and is ruling the country without any legal mandate. No elections have ever been held and all the pillars of democracy i.e. separation of power, due process and legal constraints on executive power are foreign to the dictatorial regime.

Human Rights Violations: Human rights violations are highest under the tyrannical Eritrean regime. Arbitrary arrests and prolonged imprisonment without trial is the rule of the day. This is not limited to political dissidents only, but to all Eritreans across the board. The regime is a highly repressive which does not tolerate different/opposing views. Prison conditions raise serious human rights concerns. Many of those arrested are held incommunicado in secrete detention sites. Prisoners are subjected to psychological and physical tortures. These human rights violations have been attested by Michael Clough, African Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, in his testimony to US House of representatives on May 5, 2005, European Parliament Press Release of November 19 2004, and Amnesty International Covering Events from January – December 2004.

Freedom of Press: The tyrannical regime has banned all free press in Eritrea, including national and international and has imprisoned all journalists who once run independent press. In fact, Eritrea is the only African country without free press. Such measures have been condemned by all freedom loving people and press institutions and associations, but to no avail. To date, many of the journalists are still in prison and their whereabouts is unknown.

Religious Persecution: There is no freedom of conscience in Eritrea. All religions including Islam and Christianity are persecuted. Minority religions such as Pentecostal and Jehovah Witnesses are banned and their followers are detained.

Economic Deterioration: Economically, Eritrea is in a mess. There is little productive activity. Most of the working age people are in trenches in the so-called border war. For many years now, the general population and the youth in particular have interrupted their regular work and study. Thus productive economic activity is at its lowest state. In the absence of conducive business environment, foreign and local investors have shunned the country. Consequently, the people are getting poorer and poorer and unemployment is rampant.

Social & Cultural Deterioration: Socially, the crisis is getting worse by day. As Balsely Olsen UNICEF representative in Asmara said “child and maternal malnutrition is the highest in Africa. There is a rise in commercially sexually exploited children and 5% of prostitutes in Eritrea are under the age of 18.” Eritrean youth are living without hope and future, and what kind of adults are they going to be? Eritrea is going to have a generation of unskilled and untrained youth. Under such conditions, the future is bleak and it is very frightening to contemplate.

Diplomatic Isolation: in the last decade, the regime initiated three wars with its neighbours that resulted in an economic disasters and immense human misery. And as if that is not enough for this tortured country, the regime is now actively involved in a proxy war in Somalia. The self-appointed President barks and attacks all international institutions and personalities such as the UN, the UN secretary General, NGOS, US, EU and even foreign diplomats are not immune from his tasteless commentary.

Women’s Rights Violations: The regime’s morally corrupt generals are notorious in raping girls in the so-called national military service training camp, Sawa. On Thursday December 5 2002, Xavier La Canna of Age wrote an article titled: “When Rape is a Requirement of Military Service”, exposing the worst kinds of rape perpetrated by the generals in the training camp.

It is time now to take the country in the path of democracy; it is time now to release all political prisoners, prisoners of conscience, journalists and civil-rights activists and many others languishing incommunicado for indefinite period; it is time now to build the foundations of transparent and accountable institutions; and it is time NOW above all for peace!

Eritrean Australians for Justice and Peace

5 January 2007

Short URL:

Posted by on Jan 5 2007 Filed under Resistance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Photo Gallery

Log in |2011