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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Eritrea’s Anti-forced conscription campaigners demand accountability in the war in Tigray

As a campaign we actively supported the United Nation’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) Eritrea Report in 2016 that found Isaias Afwerki and the PFDJ regime guilty of crimes against humanity, committed in Eritrea and state sponsored slavery. Whilst we continue to demand the end of slavery in Eritrea and support peace in our region, today we vehemently oppose the war in Tigray and Isaias’ involvement. Eritrea has no parliament or rule of law and the ruling party has no mandate to govern or represent Eritrea.

This lack of accountability and rule of law in Eritrea is why Isaias Afwerki and his ruling party, with the blessing of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, continue to destabilize the region. The expansion of Isaias’ influence in the region has allowed him to continue his crimes and act in total impunity. We are therefore calling for the UN to reinstate sanctions on Isaias Afwerki and Eritrean officials to tame their destructive influence and hold them accountable. We are also deeply concerned about reports of Eritrean refugees forcibly returned to Eritrea by the brutal regime they fled from. We urge the UNHCR to protect Eritrean refugees that are in grave danger, in a conflict area in Tigray.

This is Isaias’ war, the same Isaias Afwerki found guilty of crimes against humanity, using forced conscripts under the indefinite national slavery program to wage war on Tigray and commit horrendous crimes -gross human rights violations to which Eritreans have been subjected to for decades- and now he is also allegedly unleashing on civilians in Tigray with impunity. It is to be highlighted that many of the forced Eritrean conscripts are underaged girls and boys. We condemn the criminality and demand accountability.

We are inspired by the courageous Somali mothers demanding the return of their children that have joined the war in Tigray. We too call on all Eritrean conscripts to defy orders and return home immediately. As ever we are committed to the rule of law, justice, accountability, and an end to impunity in Eritrea and our region at large.

Our immediate demands

  1. We call on the Ethiopian government to protect Eritrean refugees in Tigray, instead of absconding on their International obligations by turning them over to Isaias’ troops they fled from.
  2. The government of Eritrea to suspend use of forced conscripts and withdraw from all war activities in Tigray and Ethiopian troops to withdraw from Eritrean territory and return home
  3. Independent UN investigation in the allegations of horrific war crimes in Tigray by Eritrean and Ethiopian forces and those found guilty to be taken to the ICC
  4. All Eritrean conscripts to defy orders to attack innocent civilians
  5. International NGOs to be allowed access to Eritrea and assist those in need of food, water and medicine and an end to the stringent covid-19 lockdown that cut off the population from the rest of the world and allowed the government to embark on war activities unhindered by public opinion.
  6. Sanctions to be re-imposed on Isaias Afwerki and PFDJ officials

We continue to call on the release of all prisoners of conscience in Eritrea. National reconciliation talks in Eritrea and a transition to democracy, working towards democratic institutions, rule of law and sustainable peace in the Horn of Africa.

Stop Slavery in Eritrea Team

[email protected]

Date 28-01-2021

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