Editor’s Note: The Eritrean regime has claimed that it has nothing to do with demonstrations which have been organized to protest UN Resolution 1907, the targeted sanctions against the political and military leadership of the self-imposed government. It, and its loyalists and affiliates, have attempted to characterize the demonstrations as spontaneous grassroots movement from ordinary and outraged Eritreans.
But anybody who knows anything about the structure of the ruling party, PFDJ, knows that nothing, absolutely nothing, is ever initiated at the grass-roots level: like all totalitarian regimes, it insists on absolute control of all political activities. The demonstrations held on February 22nd and the petitions that were signed by Eritreans in exile, were all directed and choreographed by functionaries of the regime who used threats, blackmail and duress to get what they wanted. And what they wanted was to show that Eritreans of all ethnicities everywhere are “standing by their government” and they are willing to do anything—exaggerating sizes of crowds, adding Ethiopians, doctoring photos, having one ethnic group wearing the garb of another—anything, to convey that message.
But we know otherwise. What’s more, even those who participated in the demonstrations and petitions know that their events were choreographed and directed by the functionaries of the regime. We do not consider it particularly courageous to expose this lie—not does it require much effort: all one has to do is to speak to Eritreans who have freed themselves from the PFDJ culture of casual lies. Like the authors of the report which follows below:
When Citizenship Is Conditional On Political Support Of The Regime:
Whenever we try to extend our passport at the Embassy of Eritrea in New Delhi, we are forced to subscribe to National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS) & get a membership clearance from NUEYS (a government sponsored student union centred in Pune,) whereby we are still forced to pay a total sum for past years of our presence in India to get the membership clearance (without which we are not even allowed to submit our passports for renewal).
This Union works on some government agenda where we find ourselves morally negative to join them, but forced to subscribe from Embassy of Eritrea. Then after that, even though we are students who have got no income at all, we are still required to 2% tax (kind of income tax) along with fees for renewal. Worst of all, as soon as we submit the passports, they are forwarded to Eritrea for verification & processing. Certainly they retrieve our information and consequently our families are terrorized, imprisoned and finally charged with Nkf 50,000 without any receipt or any written form after they are released by the ruling government in Eritrea. Then after, we get our extended passport in validity and in a problem.
Whenever we are required to provide any No Objection Certificate (NOC), support letter during our admission to colleges, universities or during some formal procedures with some government offices here in India or if we are required to attest our certificates, we can only get these things from the Eritrean Embassy. When we apply for that we are either denied or required to pay some thousands of Indian rupees even after the forced subscription to the Union.
The Embassy of Eritrea in New Delhi is now threatening us to sign the petition against the currently imposed UNSC 1907 Resolution. We had got calls to our personal mobile phones from a person in the embassy of Eritrea in New Delhi, by the name of Tekheste Ghebremedhin, probably he is the counsellor at the embassy.
First, he tried to call from the Embassy’s phone number which is +911126146336, but most of us who got the call had reactively denied responding the embassy’s call. And most amazingly he used his personal mobile phone [deleted] an hour later confusing us and responding to his call and he started insulting us why we didn’t pick his call when he made it from the Embassy. And he has threatened us: if we don’t sign the petition, we will be denied to renew our passports, our parents will be held in Eritrea for our resistance to sign the petition, and he was saying that the embassy will make any thing happen to chase us and get us deported from India to Eritrea.
We cannot sign the petition against the imposed sanction against the government of Eritrea and because honestly speaking it is the government in Eritrea who made us refugees, who made us face a hell of problems, who put our parents in jail and torturing them for our absence from the country. Even though the whole mass lives below the poverty line, our families are charged with Nkf 50,000 for their release.
The government of Eritrea deserves more sanction than the existing one, based on its action on its citizens. For us who are refugees and denied our dignity and our fundamental and basic rights in Eritrea, it is immoral and stupid to sign the petition. We have already strongly requested the UNHCR to help saving the already hostages of the regime, (our families) if possible, or to helping saving the Eritrean refugees India who are at extreme danger to their lives and their families.
Eritrean Students India