By: Eritrean Unity Movement in Norway ( member, Network of Eritrean Civil Societies in Europe)
Last April 21-24, the so-called Young People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (YPFDJ) held its 7th Conference annual in Oslo, Norway.
The conference was attended by senior PFDJ (Eritrean government) officials who set the agenda and directed the discussions: Among them was Yemane Gebreab, head of the political affairs of the PFDJ and its chief ideologue. Yemane together with ten terrorist other Somali leaders is regarded as a person of extraordinary risk to the USA according to the executive order ‘13536’ that President Obama signed on April 12, 2010. This is related to Eritrean regime’s links through him to terrorists in Somalia. Other senior officials also attended the conference including Tesfamichael Gerahtu (Eritrea’s Ambassador to the UK); Yonas Manna (Chargè d’Affairs at the Eritrean Embassy in Scandinavia); Tekle Mengistu (Head of Public for Community Affairs—a reference to his particular security service role—in Scandinavia); Abraham Woldu (Head of the PFDJ office and the Eritrean Government representative in Norway); Sultan Saeed (Chairperson of the so-called National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students—an affiliate of the PFDJ.)
The majority of the attendants live in Norway and other European countries; others were PFDJ members who were handpicked from Eritrea to attend the conference. They include nine people from Eritrea and others from several countries in the Middle East and Africa.
The conference discussed the strategic plan of the YPFDJ for 2011 – 2014. Their strategic goals and action plan which revolved around themes which were set by the PFDJ, the mother organization, are:
- Build a value-centered organization: love of country (patriotism); love of knowledge and critical mind; equality, camaraderie and collective ownership; commitment; hard work; pragmatism, innovation and dynamism.
- Design procedures for institutionalization.
- Implement Niqhat and skills development program.
- Build strategic relations.
- Ensure financial stability.
- Serve Eritrea & Serving in Eritrea (nhagern ab hagern mgelgal)
Imagine: these are mainly youth who grew up in democratic European countries and who take their directions from one of the worst dictatorial regimes in the world! They do not have any positive influence whatsoever; but are there to be brainwashed by senior cadres of a dictatorial regime.
There was no discussion on democracy, human rights, good governance, and there was no criticism of the regime; and no call for multi-party system, no call for the release of prisoners who are jailed for years without trial and whose whereabouts are unknown. Was something wrong with the education they got in Europe? They had an in-depth discussion on how to form a strong, disciplined neo-Nazi organization not only to support the ongoing oppression of the Eritrean people, but to prolong its suffering. They also carried out military-like exercises in the venue of the conferences and danced with wooden Kalashnikovs, and proudly posed to be photographed!
Among others, the conference concluded to work heavily to recruit the new refugees who come to Europe. They also plan to hold what they call a ‘massive demonstration’ in Europe and the USA before the report of the UN sanctions Committee is published so as to influence its outcome. They were reminded about the legacy of the EPLF— that it succeeded by keeping its secrets. To the dismay of the organizers, all the information of the conference leaked because of the presence of our secret agents who attended it.
There was another blow: Four out of the nine participants from Eritrea (excluding Sultan Yassin), applied for asylum despite heavy restrictions not to make phone calls to relatives in Europe. This proves how bad the situation is at home for the Eritrean youth, contrary to what these ‘European youth’ want us to believe.
Worse, the conference was financed, to the tune of 400,000 Norwegian Kroner, by an EU- program called Youth in Action which is managed by the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family, in Norway. Still worse, all the travel tickets of the PFDJ officials was paid from the same financial support. But the ideals of the program are contrary to all that the YPFDJ stands for. Apparently, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was involved since the Norwegian Ambassador to Eritrea visited the conference venue and met with PFDJ official—perhaps it was a show of solidarity.
When the Directorate was confronted by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) on how EU money could be used to finance the recruiting of young Europeans to support a dictatorship in Africa, the head of the section stated that he was glad that this was discovered and that his section will look into enlisting a lawyer to get the money back. He also added that they are going to look into the whole EU-program to see if the YPFDJ had earlier taken money through this program. NRK broadcast a series of programs covering the conference. The chairwoman of YPFDJ- Oslo, Semret Kidane, denied any affiliation to the PFDJ, but she was confronted with the documents discussed during the conference. However, Shabait, the PFDJ website says something else.
The YPFDJ has decided to hold its 8th Conference in Sweden; therefore, we call upon our colleagues there to start exposing them immediately.
We take this opportunity to advise all Eritrean asylum seekers in Norway, or those who have already been granted asylum status, not to associate themselves with the YPFDJ so as not to lose their residence permits.
Eritrean Unity Movement in Norway, a member of the Network of Eritrean Civil Societies in Europe