EYSC Providing Support for Eritrea’s Olympic Athletes Seeking Asylum in the UK

August 15, 2012 – (London, UK) – Eritrean Youth Solidarity for Change (EYSC), a global, pro-democracy grassroots movement, today announced that it is in active communication with the Eritrean athletes who sought political asylum in the United Kingdom and is providing them necessary support.

Following the anti-dictatorship protest rally along the Olympics marathon route which was organized by the EYSC’s UK chapter, some of the Eritrean athletes contacted our local activists in London. Protesters hoisted placards that supported the Eritrean athletes whilst condemning the ruling party in the midst of thousands of Marathon spectators. Hundreds of leaflets outlining the atrocities committed against
Eritreans both inside the country and abroad were also distributed during the event.

Since their arrival in the Olympic Village, EYSC had actively attempted to communicate with the athletes.  This diligent work on the ground seemed to finally pay off when EYSC representatives were contacted by Eritrean athletes that same day. Currently, EYSC is in touch with and providing necessary emotional support as well as access to legal advice to those who are not willing to return to Eritrea. Three other Eritrean athletes including Rehaset Mehari, the team’s only female athlete, have also claimed asylum.

Echoing the sentiments expressed by the young people, Weynay Ghebresilasie the 19 year old medium distance athlete who was flag bearer for Team Eritrea during the opening ceremony of London 2012 told the Guardian: “As recently as last month, when I competed in Spain, I had managed to retain some optimism that the conditions back home would get better, but they seem to be getting worse and worse instead.”

About Eritrea

According to UNHCR 3,000 people escaped Eritrea in every month of 2011. 21 years after gaining independence, Eritrea is ruled by totalitarian dictator whose sole political party (PFDJ) is the only legal political party in the country. No elections are held, no private press is allowed to operate and those who dare voice their opinion are made to disappear. With appalling human rights records that has been the subject of continuous criticism by international human rights organizations, the Eritrean dictator has rendered the young nation of Eritrea into Africa’s North Korea. As a result, many young people continue to flee the nation, making Eritrean one of the top refugee producing countries in the world today.

About EYSC

EYSC is a Diaspora based world-wide network of pro-democracy Eritrean activists who have organized themselves to call for the immediate resignation of dictator Isaias Afeworki, the unconditional release of prisoners of conscience, and the swift transition to a democratic and constitutional rule.


Eritrean Youth Solidarity for Change (EYSC)

Email: media@eysc.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/eritreanyouth

Website: www.eysc.net


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