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Eritrean Women Condemn Seizure of Catholic Church Clinics in Eritrea


The Eritrean Women Coalition strongly condemns the arbitrary seizure of the Catholic Church owned and run health facilities in Eritrea.

As part of its broader efforts of dismantling institutions and schools owned by religious organizations, the Eritrean regime has reportedly seized 29 health facilities that provide services to all Eritrean people specially women and children (specifically in rural areas), who could not access the state-run hospitals. The regime’s unlawful and unjust decision echoes its long history of arbitrarily and falsely detaining and accusing its citizens of religious extremism.

“There was no justification for the actions of the regime. It punishes those who are taking care of the poorest of the poor. Most of the patients weren’t Catholics, but Orthodox Christians, Muslims, and members of other religions. Many facilities are located in remote areas.” Father Mussie Zerai.                          

The health facilities, managed and financed by the Catholic Church, have been serving the rural areas with little to no fees. The availability of these lone health facilities has made it easy for many Eritreans specially women in rural areas to access basic healthcare services. The closing down of these health facilities is bound to adversely impact the communities they served. Nuns have played a central role in providing the much-needed healthcare services for every Eritrean people, especially to women and children, where the state has failed, and taking care and looking after many orphanage children. In a country where there are only 6 doctors per 100,000 (WHO, Eritrea), the health facilities managed by the Catholic Church has served as a partner, serving the population with no discrimination. In the process of seizing the facilities, Nuns who served as nurses, were seen to be forcibly removed from the health facilities by soldiers and doors closed behind them.

We, as Eritrean Women Coalition in the diaspora advocating for the rights of all Eritrean women, are asking about the fate of all patients escorted out of the health facilities, the devoted Nuns, Priests and heath staff who served those communities. We are demanding the lawlessness to be put to a stop and the rogue Government of Eritrea to be held accountable for its actions.

Eritrean Women Coalition
13th July 2019

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  • bardavidi

    Hi all…. Some in Diaspora blame DIA s Miseries and failures to woyanes assumed atrocities and fall in exact trap Isaias wants them to fall in and are still confused as to who is the Enemy…….ie Woyane or Isaias…….?
    Woyane happens to be a Democratically Elected Representative of Tigrai unlike Isaias who is not……….Get your Ethnic bias and democratic alignments in appropriate order of where it should belong……..Democracy and Dictatorships do not get along in any manner………In this case if they oppose DIA its Justifiable and Appropriate……….. Woyane is not an insult but equivalent to the term SEWRA and above all backed by Elections to justify …………Selah

    • mokie berhe

      Salam bardavidi. TPLFlys will defend the TPLF until Ethiopia’s population stops growing. The TPLF was never a democratically elected entity (it was and remains no less a dictatorship than the PIA/PFDJ regime) and it is simply incorrect to assert that many Eritreans in the diaspora hold the TPLF -solely- accountable for PIA and Eritrea’s woes. Diaspora Eritreans are not stupid and recognize the detrimental impact of the PIA/PFDJ dictatorial regime. Given that said, there is absolutely no question that the TPLF for totally self-serving reasons, has done everything in its power to damage not only PIA/PFDJ but also innocent Eritreans. That many have not only remained deaf, mute & dumb to this fact but have also chosen to coalesce with the TPLF to the detriment of Eritrean sovereignty is simply inconceivable and unforgivable. Just look at this forum these days, its majority commentators are TPLFlys or Eritreans who have long sold their soul to enemy interests; this being the reason that dramatically reduced posts now often linger beyond a 24 hour shelve life.

      • Peace!

        Hi Mokie

        I censure TPLF for deporting innocent Eritreans, for its crimes against Ethiopians, and for its utter greed and lootings. But it is insincere to blame it for turning Eritrea into an open air prison, for dragging Eritreans into unnecessary wars against all its neighbors, for forcing Eritreans to flee their beloved country and scatter all over the world, for the damage of the country’s major sectors, and of course for hijacking the dream of Eritreans who fought, bleed, and died to build a democratic Eritrea for all Eritreans. With that in mind, it is safe to say the worst enemies of Eritrea are the blind supporters of the dictator and his enablers.


        • mokie berhe

          Salam Peace! Thanks for you comments. Not sure who is worst: 1) Blind supporters & enablers of the PIA/PFDJ regime, 2) TPLF supporters, or 3) Eritreans who have before sold their souls to the TPLF. All I can say is that those falling under groups 1 and 2 above are much the same, whereas those falling under group 3 above, should be so ashamed as to never again comment on social media or to ever show their faces on Eritrean soil. Very clearly, groups 2 and 3 clearly account for the majority of posters here and have caused many to run away from this room.

          • Peace!

            Hi Mokie,

            Eritrea is bleeding, and the sole responsible is PFDJ. This is enough for someone who genuinely conscious about the well being of the country and eager to find cure for its endless misery otherwise relentless denigration of individuals for opposing the obvious is poor excuse for complicity.

            “ሀበሻ ማለት እኮ ደሮ ተሰርቆ ማን እንደሰረቀው ለማወቅ ጠንቋይ ቤት በግ ይዞ የሚሄድ ህዝብ ነው” I thought it was a joke but thanks to PFDJ supporters.


          • mokie berhe

            Salam Peace! Complicity? Taking the fight to PIA/PFDJ does not require one to sleep with those (TPLF) who have raped our sisters and mothers and killed and maimed our brothers and fathers.

          • Peace!

            Hi Mokie,

            ጅሮ ጌርካ ናብኣ መጺእካ Well, the current situation can’t be sustain while tens of thousands are dying in prisons, millions of Eritreans in exile waiting for justice to go back to their country, one man can’t rule the country forever without rule of law, the country can’t move forward without constitution, and the youth can’t continue to spend their whole life in military and die trying to flee the country. እዚ እዩ እቲ ሕማምና.


          • mokie berhe

            Salam Peace! You are correct in what you have said in the above.

          • Peace!

            Hi Mokie

            Thank you. You agree on the severity of the issues, and at the same time, you do not believe that it is absolutely necessary to remove the PFDJ in its entirety. The issue here is how would you reconcile these two approaches, an aspiration to solve problem and save the country, and being not ready to give up what it takes to make that happen? I mean who dictates the solution the oppressed or the oppressor, and if salvaging the PFDJ is a precondition then don’t you think the actual goal becomes mitigating, not resolving?


          • mokie berhe

            Salam Peace! I do not wish for neither anarchy nor violence and believe that both could be much averted or minimized if change, such as a coup d’état, emanates from within the PFDJ. Many within the PFDJ these days are very disgruntled, or even angered, with the status quo and lack of change. Add on a powerful group of midiskal who are now anxiously waiting on the side-lines in Eritrea, and you then have a powerful and experience group to effect change and to hopefully guide a transitional government along a proper route-way.

          • Peace!

            Hi Mokie

            Actually that has been the expectation for the last twenty some years, but nothing has happened other than the passing, arresting, and fleeing of experienced generals and military commanders in alarming rate. When should we draw the line that the anticipation is not an open ended to the extent the country is becoming empty and vulnerable for external adventure? Can we afford to continue waiting for another years for something that might not even have a potential for creating impetus, plus there are plenty of them here in Diaspora but, despite freedom and enough materials, they do not seem to have any advantage over non-PFDJ opposition members. I think the best way to effect a genuine change is for all Oppositions to come together and form a transitional government and show unity to the people inside the country and to the ARAB dictators who are serving as a life support.


          • mokie berhe

            Salam Peace! Before the 2018 Eritrea-Ethiopia summit, we were considered at war with Ethiopia. It is an entirely different context these days (unconditional acceptance of the EEBC ruling, diplomatic relations have been restored, etc) and many who were before indifferent or passive have now become vocal and assertive. I am convinced that change can only be effected from elements within Eritrea. The Eritrean diaspora for 20 years and running, has simply been incapable of garnering necessary levels of trust and any form of adjunct external transitional government will likewise be mistrusted. On a positive note, I really believe that significant change in Eritrea’s governance will come much sooner than many expect. I for one, have taken 1-year leave from my normal job to devote 100% of my time towards effecting change.

          • Peace!

            Hi Mokie

            What has changed? The enemy is now in much better position at least financially than before 2018, and the youth with potential to effect change continue to flee the country in fact as we speak thousands of hopeless Eritreans are crossing to Ethiopia on foot desperately. I think it is imperative that we pay attention to the facts on the ground and think about ramifications than keep on waiting for miracle to happen because, for PFDJ, significant change or self reform is like committing suicide.


        • Hope

          Welcome back Peace the Great.
          I tend to agree with you but let me add few facts,you sound conveniently ignored….like the Weyane Cadres here.
          It is safe to say that the TPLF and its mercenaries and the PFDJ and its mercenaries are fully and equally responsible
          There are two major factors to our misery:
          Push factors:

          a)The PFDJ’s brutal policies and the weakness and the silence of the Eritreans

          b)The the external interference,which partially “forced” the PFDJ to have Brutal Policies” due to “The between life an death situation the same PFDJ was trapped in”,created by the external factors(The TPLF,its Masters and Mercenaries–the Pseudo-Eritreans and the sell out Eritreans,the IGAD and the AU and ts member States.

          i)The REAL and perceived Existential Threats to Eritrea and its Govt by the above joint powers through economic,diplomatic and military sabotages and sanctions

          ii)The No War No Peace Policy and the Policy of Isolation and Containment/the Axis of Evil and the Threats of Regime Change by all means possible including an Invasion,which effectively led to the horrible national service extension thereby aggravating the exodus of the Youth

          iii)The destructive role of the Western Powers and their overt an covert subsidiary and mercenary Agents/Operations(The UNMEE(the Human Trafficking thru its Helicopters and Land Cruisers and its conspiracy with the TPLF Govt),The CIA,the MOSSAD(the Asmera Airport Incident ),the M16(The Massawa Incident),the UNHCR(its well documented smuggling of our Youth and its set ups ),The Amnesty Intl(its overt and covert operations against Eritrea),the NDE(the CIA’s arm of funding of its mercenary,etc…


          The PULL factors;
          -The role of the CIA/Obama said so),Canada and Israel and the EU to preferentially admit/accept automatically any one,who would claim to be Eritrean.

          These are just the tip of the iceberg and are well documented and verified facts,which NO one can refute..

          I understand, and I know that ,the Corrupt GoE Officials and erratic policies of the PFDJ have contributed a lot to the misery but to declare that te PFDJ is the sole responsible party is but “naivety and Ignorance” by choice since we are targeting the very same PFDJ,which was the main target of the above Forces and Conspiracies—to be decimated and to be destroyed,which in return made the same PFDJ to struggle for its survival–to escape from such well coordinated and brutal War Fronts form all directions;which i return made the same PFDJ to act brutally at home so as to survive and at the same time to keep the nation intact..

          Now,make NO MISTAKE that my above factual argument is NO to sympathize with the brutal regime but to state the other facts.
          Aam the same Hope,who brutally criticized and labeled the same regime as a “Traitor” for the way it has handled the entire situation in general and the Border War and the aftermath in particular including the MIS-handling pf the G-11 and the Journalists,the Religious Leaders and the Faithful ,the Teachers,the Teens,the Doctors,Dodge Drafters,the Disabled Vets,the generals, the Elite,the Elders and the elderly…etc….

          And that is my MAJOR BEEF with The Regime and its Leadership as it could have handled things in a better way so as to keep Eritreans UNITED and safer…and to minimize the atrocities,the sufferings and the UNHEARD of Exodus…simply by making simple Policy Modifications on the Economy,Migration/Movement,Education and the National Service through strengthening the Basic Institutions…

  • Berhe Y

    Dear EWC,

    I think your statement is timely and your message is clear. Thank you for speaking out on behalf of Eritrean women and children.

    However, I don’t think your letter (is it open letter, is it press release) I am not sure it’s done to the best way to reach wider audiance and amount pressure to the regime.

    The only person who is quoted in this press release is father Mussie and he is not a women, although there is nothing wrong to quote him.

    I think there should be someone (a women) from EWC that should be quoted in the press release who represents the group..spokes person, chair, who ever that associates this coalition to person/s.

    If for example this story is picked up by other media or human rights organization, who they actually need to contact that can speak about this? I guess they can send email and they try their luck.

    This is not a criticism but what’s the objective of this press release if it doesn’t get picked up and talked about so to bring awareness or pressure to the regime? Press release for the sake of press release??


  • Hope

    Hello all:
    “የኤርትራው ገዢ ፓርቲን እና ህወሓትን ለማስታረቅ ያለመ ውይይት ትላንት በመቀለ ተካሂዷል”
    Who is mediating?
    DW(Voice of Germany).
    Fake news,a wish or distraction?

    • Selam Hope,

      I do not think that it is a fake news. I have heard it in the past. There seems to be a rich woyane who is doing his best to bring the two (tplf and pfdj) together as in the past. In my opinion this is tplf’s plan B, i.e., looking for the frog that will carry it to the opposite side, in these difficult times for its future existence. The person (the group) says that they are one people, they have worked together in the past and they can do it again, but he never tells the sinister thing about it that they have a diametrically opposite plan and interest, and eritrea will come out of it a big loser.

      Look how tplf tried to explain the last killings in bahr-dar and addis, that ADP is responsible for both killings and it should apologize to the ethiopian people. In addition, tplf finds difficult to work with the amhara party. Still worse, getachew reda seems to have said that he can’t sit with the deputy pm and head of the amhara state.

      What does it show. The known story. Tplf thought that adp, which lost its top officials, is at its weakest point, and its opportunistic and deceitful nature made it to sting and exploit the situation by attacking adp. There is nothing under the sun it would not do in order to survive and come back, if possible, to a hegemonic power in ethiopia. Tplf was condemned by some of its own people, that it tried to exploit the painful situation of the amhara people and the people of ethiopia in general. It has become a foreign body in the ethiopian political landscape. It has excluded itself and unfortunately, it is excluding the people of tigray as well from the rest of ethiopians. It is trying to revive an alliance that it betrayed in the past. What it needs is not opportunistic alliances, but to reform itself and apologize to the ethiopian people for its evil actions that has brought the country to the precipice,. Generation of ethiopians will live in suspicion and uncertainty thanks to tplf’s poisonous plan for ethiopia. It is not only about the alliance, but much more it is about tplf’s nature that eritreans should worry about.

      • Gebrel

        What the hell does have to do with the closure of clinics and hospitals by the bloodthirsty dicatatore and Pol Pot of Eritrea ?

      • Hope

        Selam Horizon:
        I know about the Tigreyan Millionaire’s initiative, which was said to be DEAD on arrival.
        Am all for peace as we are SICK TIRED of the endless destructive competition of those two unpopular rotten Fronts.
        But the wounds,the animosity and mistrust between the two peoples are also so
        fresh and damaging,it will take time …..
        The latest gossip I heard is that the TPLF sent 30 well trained elite commando as civilians to assassinate top PFDJ Leadership and or target major security apparatus but 27 of them were caught and exposed all the TPLF deadly plans and details against the IA Regime,the reason why the regime was panicking and closed suddenly the borders.(Very convincing narrative though)!
        There is a reason why the digital weyane is propagating its toxic propaganda implicating as if IA was responsible for the death of the Tigreyan Generals!

        • Amanuel

          Hi Hope
          What is the matter with you? You became 03 propagandist again. One step forward then two step backwards. I was expecting you to head YZ call and organise some sort of press release with you peers (health professionals) to stand up to the cruel regime.

          • Hope

            Selam Aman:
            Not sure how and why I missed your response:
            Thought your British English and mastery of English way was better than mine .
            Please read me again!

            Mezemmir Kidus Dawit” Tsadik keman ab MeAlti 7 ghizie yiwedik” yibil let alone Hope,a weak human being.
            Am ok that I fall but get up .
            Speaking of YZ’s call,FYI,thanks to PFDJ and it’s brutal and sophisticated security network ,not only the ErMA( Eritrean Mefical Association) has failed I. Just organizing itself let alone to speak up agains the PFDJ’s brutality,almost all the Eri Professional and Intellectual Associations have failed miserably!

            Prof Mezghebe Haile did his best in 1990s and early 2000s to bring back the Eritrean Medical Association to
            life with more than 60 MDs besides tens of Allied Health Professionals in the USA.

            But the same PFDJ’s brutal network dismantled the Medical Association besides kicking out and discrediting Prof Dr Haile Mezghebe Haile and his enormous contributions since the era of armed struggle, when he was visiting Meda as a Special Field Trauma Surgeon in the Frontlines and later as the Engineer and Pioneer of the Orotta School of Medicine and Post Graduate School of Medicine and Surgery!
            This is the same guy,who gave up his $150K retirement funds and his $2 million worth House in Washington,DC ,to the GoE for its Ambassador’s Residence and his wife,a CPA/with a MA Degree,was working at the Embassy full time for FREE.

            It was the same guy, who co-founded the Eritrean Development Foundation (EDF-in the honor of our EDF-The Eritrean Defense Forces)here in the USA!

            But he was kicked out in the name of unfounded allegations of corruption ,a classic use and throw and character assassination style,modus operandi of the PFDJ .

            We tried two yrs ago to resuscitate the ErMA (The Eritrean Medical Association)but to no avail .

            The same PFDJ Brutal Security Network dismantled the International Association of Eritrean Youth and Students and rather created its own YPFDJ!

            The Eritrean Law Association /The Association of Eritrean Lawyers/had same fate and was dismantled.
            Look at the YeAkil Movement,initially led by Prof ArAya Debesai,which we have hoped that it will be the last and latest movement /venue to challenge the PFDJ !

            But guess what?

            It is now fully infiltrated by Digital Weyane through some rotten Regionalist Eritreans !
            IA knows the Eritrean Psy and mentality fully and has utilized that weakness to his best capacity and successfully!

            Shame on us Eritreans.

            6 million People to be messed up by a single individual and his one-man-system!
            This SUCKS!

            When I witnessed my own vibrant and hopeful and alternative future Party of Eritrea ,the EPDP ,to scramble and to be broken into pieces,I completely GAVE UP ON THE ERITREAN OPPOSITION!
            It is easy for Amanuel at al to criticize everything and every body living in a comfort zone!

            Easy said than done!

            Glad Abi would say:”Letekemach Semay Kirb new”!

            We are dealing with a sophisticatedly notorious , formidable and well experienced Brutal Regime with over 50 yrs of experience in Organizational Security!

    • Blink

      Dear hope
      It is just a weyane gossip nothing more nothing less . TPLF plan was always to crush Eritreans by producing war lords based on Ethnicity. The gossiping is spewed by ESAT and ze Habesha journalists all over the net .

      It was always dead as you said on arrival.

  • Brhan

    Dear Awate,

    Thank you for following the current issue of Eritrea.

    The regime did close the clinics because it can’t arrest the brave religious leader who showed their defiance to the regime from the country that we have seen recently. It knows if it did , it would be hazardous to its place internationally , where it will face strong diplomatic challenge from the Vatican. So the regime, like mafia goes after the beloved ones of the defiant ones and in our case are the Eritrean people who were benefiting from these clinics.

    The regime has arrested ordinary Muslim Eritreans, including teens without trial and under it has a policy of make them languish in the sick and die to get rid of them. The regime does so because it knows during these times of Islamophobia no one will speak about it , even prince MBS ( the custodian of the two holly cities)of KSA and the prince of UAE.

    The same goes with the Orthodox church where there is no significant world power to defend the abuses and injustices that are seeing to against its clergy.

    Thank you the Eritrean Women Coalition for your support to the religious leaders of the Eritrean Catholic church who are have become the voice of the voice less for Muslims and the Orthodox, too!!

    • Hope

      Selam Brhan:
      I agree with you and I JOIN you for your support to “The Eritrean Women Coalition in the Diaspora” for their brave solidarity with the Catholic Church of Eritrea.
      A little correction here:
      I believe,if I am correct, the mafia regime did arrest a Catholic Priest,the Director of the Catholic Printing Press(Francescana Printing Press)in Campo Stato-in Downtown Asmara,after the Press printed out and distributed the First in its nature Pastoral Letter of “The Conference of the Eritrean Catholic Bishops” titled” Hawikha Abey Allo-Where is Your Brother”.

      • Brhan

        Selam Hope,

        In my comment I am referring to the 4 Catholic bishops of Eritrea.


        • Hope

          Selamat Brhan:
          Got you.
          Well,he might try to jail one of them but it will haunt him bad.

  • Yohannes Zerai

    Selam All,

    Kudos to the Eritrean Women Coalition (in the diaspora) and its membership for their courageous stand! Once again, Eritrean women are standing up for the rights and the well-being of their people. By raising their collective voice on the issue, they have placed themselves at the forefront of mass action aimed at expressing outrage at the denial of health services to the most vulnerable sectors of our population, condemning the regime’s anti-people measures and manipulations and agitating for democratic change in our country.

    This, I believe, is a timely revival of the historical role of Eritrean women as vanguards of the struggle for political change and social justice; and it certainly represents a surge in their political activism!

    In contrast (and at least thus far), the utter silence of Eritrean medical professionals in the diaspora in the face of the regime’s widely publicized closure of 29 health facilities run by the Eritrean Catholic Church is not only disappointing, but really disturbing. Medical professionals — both those who are products of Eritrea’s Public Health System as well as those who built their entire careers abroad — are fully aware of the lamentable state of the squalid health services in the country. As such, the further deterioration of health services wrought by the regime’s dismantling of so many health facilities would be expected to enrage these professionals, and compel them to speak up and speak out against the regime’s action and in support of their people. Such a reaction, sadly, has not been witnessed todate; I sincerely hope that it will emerge in the coming days.

    Truth be told, some Eritrean medical professionals — individually and/or in small groups — have admirably been devoting their time, energy and resources to the cause of improving health services in their country despite serious impediments that the regime places in the way of their efforts. But many others have remained indifferent to the wretched conditions of their country and the plight of their people by opting to live in a bubble where they try to hide from their identity and humanity! It is time that they woke up from their willful slumber! A problem directly related to their careers/professions — and one that is bound to have a devastating impact on the country’s already-dilapidated public health system — ought to knock at the door of their conscience as doctors, as Eritreans and as human beings!

    Needless to say, we all must find a meaning for our existence on Earth that goes beyond the self. I humbly but passionately call upon all those brothers and sisters that are fortunate enough to have acquired the knowledge, skills and prestige that the medical profession has bestowed on them, to put a fraction of those multiple assets in the service of their suffering people who, in one way or another, had helped them to secure and enjoy those privileges!

    Finally, let us all draw lessons from the impressive and uplifting popular struggle that the heroic Sudanese people are waging for freedom and change: Organizing the respective members of the various professions into groups, and building a coalition of the multiplicity of such groupings would add another dimension to a popular struggle thereby ensuring its momentum and ultimate victory!.

    Thank you.

    • said

      I fully agree with you for complementing and indorsing Eritrean women stand and they are compassionate and caring part our society , they know the importance and value of health care service provided by catholic church to our people and especially for women and children .It is unfortunate to look at catholic church as “other” when they Other Within and part of us.
      The social and psychological rejection of Otherness constitutes a clear attack on the imaginal intelligence of the soul…one’s identity is split: divided into insider and outsider, worthy and worthless, above and below. That which is above we adore and aspire to [emulate], that which is beneath us we disdain and hold in contempt. This deeming quality of superior/inferior is the core of civilization’s method (i.e., conquest, oppression, and exploitation).- Daniel Deardorff, The Other Within