Out of the 93 new Eritrean refugees whom it was detaining, Sudan has deported four–three men and one woman. The Eritreans were handed over to Eritrean security authorities in the border post of Arbaeta Asher on Thursday.
The Sudanese authorities finally allowed the UNHCR to visit the balance of the imprisoned refugees. The UNHCR officer informed the 89 Eritrean prisoners that their case has been resolved and that they will be released from prison and transferred to the Shegerab refugee camp.
Shegerab is one of the many refugee camps in Eastern Sudan, some solely established for Eritrean refugees in the 1960s. Eritreans who arrived in those camps in the sixties by the tens of thousands, when they were children, have now become old men and women with no hope of ever making it back home to Eritrea. This has, among many other dire consequences, resulted in measurable demographic change in Eritrea and many of the opponents of the Eritrean regime believe that it is deliberately done so.
With the flood of new post-1991 (the year Eritrea became an independent state) refugees, the already bad condition of life in the desert camps has worsened. Most of the new arrivals are young Eritreans who are exhausted from the indefinite conscription as well as arbitrary detentions, torture, and lack of civil liberties.
Eritrean refugees are suffering from acute water shortage and lack of proper sanitation and access to education.
Since the Eritrean regime normalized its relationship with the Sudanese regime in 2005, and particularly since the June 19, 2006 agreement between Khartoum and the Eastern Front (which demanded autonomous governance for the three Sudanse states–Kassala, AlGadarif and Red Sea–bordering Eritrea), Eritrean security officers have had free reign in Eastern Sudan. Many of the powerful politicians with authority in Eastern Sudan were named to their positions by Isaias Afwerki, through the leverage of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement which he “brokered.” A key term of the agreement is “effective participation and representation in all government institutions and at various levels shall be ensured for the people of Eastern Sudan.” The Eastern Sudan Front and the Eritrean regime have interpreted this term to mean that only individuals that are blessed by both parties “represent” Eastern Sudan.
The Eritrean strongman is planning the same scheme for Darfur and South Sudan. The plan is to have local officials who are loyal to him, or to ignite the civil war–the same formula being tried in Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti.
As confirmed by the former US Ambassador to Eritrea (courtesty of wikileaks), Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service in close co-ordination with Eritrea’s National Security Agency harasses politically active Eritreans and, if they don’t desist from their activities, deports them to Eritrea. The Eritrean and Eastern Sudanese officials are also partners in contraband trade and human trafficking of Eritreans–smuggling them all the way to Sinai and then demanding huge fees from their families in Europe and the United States.