The Eritrean Refugees are Exposed to Trafficking and Torture!
Innocent Eritrean refugees still suffer from many kinds of dangers. Imprisonment and forced deportation are not the only dangers the Eritrean refugees have exposed to, these days.
Human trafficking has also been developed by some new investors in slavery to expose refugees from many countries to dangers.
Trading in human beings becomes a trend these days, especially when some people are forced to flee their lands to seek refuge in other places. The stories of refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan are numerous.
Recently, hundreds of refugees, most of them Eritrean and Sudanese were taken into hostage in Sinai Desert in Egypt while they tried to get out of Egypt to Israel and maybe get from it to Europe.
Those refugees have paid smugglers to get them out because the smugglers know the area well and know how to escape the guards on the borders. Some of them paid 3,000 dollars to get to Israel.
Some refugees remains hostages until the rest of the money paid. The smuggler told them to pay 11,000 dollars to take them to Israel and they didn't have the money. They already have paid with those who paid the 3,000 dollars. News says they demand now 40,000 dollars to complete trafficking in human beings.
They tied them by electric wires and chains, hunted those who tried to escape and tortured them by electric wires, flames of their cigarettes and flamed irons. The torture remains in signs on their bodies.
Eritrean Refugees Stories form the Past!
The new Eritrean Refugees are those people who faced extensive detention, torture of citizens and prolonged military conscription after the independence of the country.
All of these behaviours had prompted increasing numbers of Eritrean to flee the country and become refugees. However, they face rape, imprisonment and forced repatriation in the destination countries they fled to them.
"Eritrea's government is turning the country into a giant prison," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director in Human Right Watch. "Eritrea should immediately account for hundreds of (disappeared prisoners) and open its jails to independent scrutiny."
Human Right Watch called the United States and European Union to coordinate with the UN and the African Union to resolve regional tensions and ensure that development aid to Eritrea is linked to the progress on human rights.
The EU recently approved a €122 million assistance package to Eritrea despite concerns that development projects in Eritrea are carried out by conscript or prison labor in violation of international law, the human rights organization noted.
Human Right Watch says repression in Eritrea creates human right crisis and called some countries to cease forced returns of Eritrean refugees, asylum seekers to their homeland, given the risk of torture.
Because of the risk of mistreatment faced by those who are returned, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has advised against deporting anyone of the Eritrean refugees to Eritrea, including rejected asylum seekers.
The UNHCR and the government of Sudan launched a joint registration operation for ten of thousands Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees living in eastern Sudan. The registration official started on March 2008 estimated more than 133,000 refugees will benefit from the exercise.
Out of the 133,000 Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees, 95,000 live in open camps in Kassala, Gadaref, Jezzira, Sinar and the Red Sea States of Eastern and Central Sudan, while about 38,000 live in urban and rural areas of these states. The capital city of Sudan, Khartoum is said to be hosting close to 30,000 Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees.
By registering these populations, both the government of Sudan and UNHCR hope to update the refugee statistics and to determine the best solution based on the refugees' profile. Some will require continued humanitarian support because of their vulnerability.
Others may require self-reliance support while a number may be in need of resettlement in a third country because they can neither remain in Sudan nor repatriate. Most importantly, it will translate into reconfirmed refugee status for nearly 70,000 Eritrean who lost it following the application of the 2002-2004 Cessation Clause.
The registration will also take into account the arrival of asylum seekers who totalled up 10,000 since the beginning of last year. Nearly 90 percent of them originating from Eritrea cited forced army enrolment as their main reason for flight. Others are from Ethiopia and Somalia. The last general registration took place in 2001.
After being in exile for four decades, Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees are among the most protracted refugee populations in the world.
UNHCR has recently signed an agreement with three organizations aimed at ensuring the protection needs of refugees and asylum seekers in Libya. This is in line with UNHCR's responsibility to advocate for better protection of refugees in the context of mixed asylum and migration flows.
The agreement is part of UNHCR's work under its Ten-Point Plan of Action on Refugee Protection and Mixed Migration, which sets out a number of areas where the agency believes initiatives are called for and where it can contribute some expertise in this challenging area.
There are currently some 9,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Libya – mainly Iraqis and Palestinians, and also Eritrean, Sudanese, Somalis, Liberians, Sierra Leonean and Congolese from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"We welcome the decision of the Libyan authorities not to deport Eritrean asylum seekers," said Radhouane Nouicer, chief of UNHCR's Middle East and North Africa bureau. "We are aware of the challenges in dealing with mixed flows of irregular immigrants and asylum seekers, and are appreciative of the Libyan government's efforts to address some of these issues in consultation with our office in Tripoli," he added.
Egypt has seen a surge of Eritrean refugees entering the country illegally in recent months by land from Sudan or directly from Eritrea via the Red Sea Paradise. The Egyptian authorities on 27 February 2008 had suspended access of UNHCR protection staff to asylum seekers in detention.
Since then, UNHCR has been in continuous contact with relevant authorities through official communications and meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, requesting access to asylum seekers in detention to evaluate their need for international protection as well as to identify humanitarian solutions to their plight.
UNHCR welcomes the decision of the Egyptian authorities for UNHCR to have unhindered access to asylum seekers in detention centres in Egypt and to resume refugee status determination interviews.
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