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The Case of “Business and Human Rights” In Eritrea

Companies have an obligation to conduct due diligence of their Business activity and this article is a case of “Business and Human Rights” in Eritrea.

Business has a direct and indirect impact on the lives of people. It is for this reason that the UN Human Rights Council came with a new framework of “Business and Human Rights” to oversee the due diligence of the way that business is conducted in countries in relation to human rights.

In 2005, The UN  Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Special Representative John Ruggie of Harvard Professor to oversee the gap between business and human rights, and in 2008 Jogn Ruggie came out with a proposed framework for “Business and Human Rights” to the UN Human Rights Council which was unanimously approved, states that –

  1. The state duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business;
  2. The corporate responsibility to respect human rights; and
  3. Greater access by victims to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial.

In 2011, the special representative issued the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy framework’. This framework was also endorsed by UN member countries to become the world’s first comprehensive guidance for companies to report on how they respect human rights.

The UN guiding principles on Business and Human Rights applies to all States and to all business enterprises, regardless of their size, sector, location, ownership, and structure. Its foundational principle (1), states –

“States must protect against human rights abuse within their territory and/or jurisdiction by third parties, including business enterprises. This requires taking appropriate steps to prevent, investigate, punish and redress such abuse through effective policies, legislation, regulations, and adjunctions.” 

And in regard to any company that is hosted in a state territory, the UN Principles of Business and Human Rights states:

“States should set out clearly the expectation that all business enterprises domiciled in their territory and/or jurisdiction respects human rights throughout their operations.” 

It is within this general principle that I am calling on all companies that are currently operating in Eritrea to take responsibility and conduct businesses in a way that does not harm Eritrean citizens.

It is common knowledge that Eritrea is accused of systematic and widespread violation of human rights that might amount to crimes against humanity that it has been committing since its independence in 1991. The systematic crimes are state-sponsored that are conducted by the governmental. they are among the worst and widespread crimes the world has been witnessing after 2000. Though the Eritrean government continues to reject this accusation, there are clear facts that prove the extent of the widespread violations.

Today, Eritrea is the worst country on the world press index, the second most producer of political refugees (after Syria), a country with the highest number of political prisoners, a country that has no university, but it runs a network of more than 360 secretive prisons. Forced labor is a norm, civic liberties are absent and associations that are free of the PFDJ political influences are prohibited. Religious freedom is absent and often, religious leaders are subjected to imprisonment and house arrest, etc. Worse, every citizen is forced to join military units for an indefinite period of time.

Under this condition, it is not easy to figure out whether businesses conduct their operation without violating human rights. According to the UN reports of 2015, a Canadian mining company, Nevsun, which has been engaged in mining activities since 2008, is accused of using Forced Labor. The victims are Eritreans who have been working with the company since the establishment of the mining operations in Bisha—the  UN has accused Nevsun of using forced labor.

More than fifty (50) Eritreans have filed a civil action lawsuit against Nevsun in Canada. These Eritreans are former construction workers at the Bisha mines and they were working for a construction company that is owned by the ruling party of Eritrea. The company provided working men and women as part of an agreement between the ruling party and Nevsun–these individuals were military conscripts. As a result, Nevsun is accused of using forced labor.

To date, Nevsun is the only company that was brought to the court so far, there are many international companies that are currently operating in Eritrea. The State is the main provider of human resources that are part of the agreement to provide labor supplies. There is no doubt that the state uses the conscripts to gain profits.

Though it is hard to prepare a comprehensive list of companies that are currently operating in Eritrea, some of them are from China, Sweden, France, Canada, USA, South Africa, Australia, Italy, etc. In this article, I will mention some companies that are currently operating in Eritrea.

  1. Nevsun Ressources Ltd.

Nevsun is a mid-tier, copper-producing, mining company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. Founded in 1965, the company had operated in two other African countries: Ghana and Mali. Currently, it’s operating at Bisha, Eritrea.

Though it is believed to have social responsibility programs in Bisha Mine and it has been producing annual reports since 2011, the company has faced serious allegations regarding its violation of human rights for using Forced labor in its activities.

Nevsun has put in its vision about Human Rights as follows –

We believe in treating everyone equally and with dignity and respect. We support inclusiveness and diversity of opinions in the decision-making process. 

So far, Nevsun rejects such allegations, though the number of accusers is increasing substantially.

  1. Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

Maybe this company is unknown by many Eritreans, but its global existence is huge in the information technology industry. What might be new to many, including well informed Eritreans is, the existence of this company in Eritrea.

Credible information attests that Huawei is behind EriTel, the only Internet, and telephone service Eritrean national company. Huawei provides the most talented Engineering professionals for the design and programming technology center of EriTel as a sub-contractor. Very few Chinese staff members are stationed in Eritrea.

EriTel is the main violator of human rights in Eritrea by making communication services restricted and checked at every single network. Eritreans are heavily spied on, both inside and outside Eritrea. EriTel works closely with the only existing political party to carry out a massive surveillance on dissenting Eritreans.

According to information on its website, Huawei believes in the power of dissolving boundaries to work more closely with the world.

Huawei is a threat to Eritrean privacy and cybersecurity. There is no information disclosed about the business relationship of the company in Eritrea. So far, it remains a secret unknown to the world.

  1. Caterpillar Inc. 

This American company has a long existence in Eritrea. Almost all high-quality machinery involved in every development projects and war zone is carried out by the use of Caterpillar machines.

Caterpillar Company has a branch office in Eritrea where every activity concerning these machines is conducted. Machines that are imported to Eritrea are in use in the construction of prison centers, war trenches, mining centers, etc. And all skilled professionals who run these machines are forced military conscripts who are provide forced labor.

For example, Bisha Mining Company uses these machines in its mining operations. There is no doubt that this company is involved in the gross human rights violations of Eritreans by being the main supplier of the regime that is involved in crimes against humanity.

  1. Total S. A

Total is a giant French oil company that has been operating in Eritrea for decades. It is the main supplier of oil products to Eritrea. Currently, it is expanding its activities rapidly by installing new infrastructures.

Though Total Company is a private company, it follows strict regulations put by Eritrean government in price regulation and coupon systems that are implemented to control oil and gas distribution in Eritrea. The ruling regime has a heavy hand in the regulation of Total business activity. Eritrean citizens do not have the freedom to buy their fuel needs from the company without a permission given by the government.

In addition, the fuel sold to the government is used in areas where forced labor is exercised. And for security purpose, forced conscripts are used as guards of Total centers, especially in the storage areas that are installed in Northern Red Sea and Maekel region.

  1. Danakali Limited

Danakali Limited is a new company established by Eritrean National Company (ENAMCO) and a privately owned Australian company called Dankali on a 50:50 joint venture. This company is currently in the establishment and licensing phase and to start its mine exploitation activity. It operated in the Afar region of Eritrea

The Afar Eritrean have lived in the Danakil areas for centuries in peace and harmony until they faced a serious threat to their survival. The Ruling regime has made life miserable for these people by banning them from conducting their traditional economic livelihood in the Red Sea. As a result, more than 35,000 Afar families were forced to flee from their native land and live in refugee camps along the border in Ethiopia.

Installation of Danakali Company in Collul area has also added to their restriction and freedom of movement as the area is heavily guarded by military force.

In addition, Danakali Company is using military force to for its security. And the military forces are forced conscripts who serve indefinitely.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the list provided above is not exhaustive but indicative. There are many companies that are currently doing business in Eritrea. Though Eritrea may not guarantee human rights of its citizens, each company which is operating in Eritrea has a responsibility of not getting involved or be used as a leverage in the violation of human rights. If any company is involved in such acts, respective parent country has the responsibility to call on the company to fulfill its human rights obligations by conducting due diligence. The case of Nevsun is a typical example. Other countries have also a responsibility to follow UN guiding principles on Business and Human Rights– endorsed in 2011.

Eritreans have to work hard to increase international awareness about the business conducts of any company that operates in Eritrea. Today, any business activity has a potential link to the gross violation of human rights in Eritrea. As long as the Eritrean regime remains in power, any business activity is prone to human rights abuses. And we need to stay alert and be whistleblowers whenever necessary so that we can bring these companies to be accountable.

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  • Fanti Ghana

    Selam Professor tes,

    It is nice to hear from you, and thank you.

    You have raised a good topic along the lines of what one of our giants, Yohannes Zerai, brings to the front occasionally.

    The probable cause for citizen abuse is there (no constitution), and there is also an example (Nevsun). However, most companies will resist any “investigation” into their conduct. Therefore, before any of these companies can be approached, let alone implicated with any wrong doing, questions such as the following need to be answered and examined.

    1. How are employees paid for their labor?
    2. What are the best and worst working hours and conditions?
    3. What is the age range of employees?
    4. Are there any known cases in which employees ever suing any of these companies for ill-treatment?
    5. What is the government’s role in all labor related issues?

    If any answer to these and similar questions show any violation either by the companies and/or the government, then, those companies can be approached with the data and their cooperation demanded for farther investigation.

    Although it may be tempting for the opposition to want to weaken the government economically along the way, care is needed to not discourage investors even if they help only a fraction of Eritrean households.

    • tes

      Dear Fanti Ghana,

      Thank you for your inputs.

      1. What you mentioned, No Constitution is enough to put these companies at high alert about human rights violations. If a country has no Constition, then it should be a lawless country. Prime criteria.

      2. Companies will always resist but it may cost them a lot. Human Rights Activists and other Associations/organizations that work for the Rights of Human being will use “‘Naming and Shaming technique”. This can force the company to open up. And according to UN Guidelines(2011), there is what is called, “Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR. Part of it Companies now putting Their Policy on Human Rights.

      3. What you have listed (1 – 5) might not be necessary to start the case. Any case, primary alert is enough to proceed. Of course during trial detailed cases are needed.

      I could say more about these things. I could say I am lucky to met those who worked with John Ruggie and come out with . “The UN guiding principles on Business and Human Rights”

      Ethiopia needs this Framework badly.

      tes

  • Mez

    Greetings everyone,

    Egypt starts fuming mad:

    …”GERD talks: What is Egypt’s future strategy, diplomacy or military strikes?”…

    • Selam Mez,

      Real problem for egypt seems to come from the more than 5bn m2 of water sudan lent egypt, because sudan could not use all of the water allocated to her due to the yearly floods. Egypt had been using this amount of water and sudan wants it back now.

      Sudanese FM said that in the future, the GERD will preserve the water for sudan during the rainy season, and release it during the dry seasons, which sudan wants and egypt is not ready to give. In actual fact egypt is barking at ethiopia so that sudan gets the message. Ethiopia has reiterated so many times that she can’t use the waters of the dam for irrigation, simply because there is no land in the region to cultivate, and once the dam fills, there is going to be a free flow of water.

      Therefore, egypt is in actual fact in disagreement with Sudan too, and may be it is going to be much more important than with ethiopia after the dam fills. Not only that egypt is not ready to give the water to sudan, she even says she needs more water, and this is going to complicate things.

      Sudan sees the gerd as a gift from ethiopia, and that is the main reason she supported it all through since it’s inception. More land which used to be useless due to annual flooding is going to be available for irrigation farming.

      No rational government will support Egypt’s position against ethopia. Egypt had tried and failed when the construction of the dam started. She has no other solution but to find other ways to procure more water instead of building cities in the desert, which are going to be ghost towns.

      Water economy, sprinkle irrigation instead of flooding the fields as people used to do in ancient egypt, desalination and tapping the vast underground water reserve, are the solutions available to egypt and not war. In the latter case, she will come out a loser, she will not be able to occupy ethiopia and control the source of the nile, and much more she will have no legal rights anymore as an aggressor, and she will be under the mercy of ethiopia. Therefore, cooperation is the only way forward for a win-win solution on the nile

  • Ismail AA

    Selam tes WR and fellow forumers,

    More than anything else, tes has picked a very relevant topic that deserves close attention in this forum. The ongoing anti-regime campaign of Eitreans is essentially about human rights. Every issue of the greater cause is in essence human rights issue. Thus, I think the message tes wanted to projectect is a challenge to Eritrean justice seekers to watch and expose the work of foreign companies that do business with the Eritrean regime.

    Considered in the light of the fact that “The State is the main provider of human resources that are part of the agreement to provide labor supplies”, Eritreans are justified to worry about foreign companies that do business in Eritrea since the regime under a despotic ruler practically owns human and material resources of the country. Exploitation of Eritrean labor becomes dually burdened when regime monopoly of material resources and labor conspire with greed for profit making propensity of foreign companies. In such relationship, the issue of human rights and respect for personal dignity of workers plays out as an irritating hindrance to both parties – regime and investors. They will do anything to flout all relevant laws and norms of what ever nature. We have seen how the regime has been exploiting young Eritrean conscripts by forcing them to work for some mining companies. This enslavement has been taking heavy toll on both spiritual and material levels. A person feels devastatingly humiliated and indignified when becomes aware that a government that rule the country in his name enjoys benefit from its share in a business partnership plus the charges for the labor of the conscripts it provides.

  • Selamat,

    It ain’t got nothing to do with human rights. Everything to do with business. Said the aspiring protest writer. The Admiral must be deposer. You fell off.

    tSAtSE

  • Kebessa

    Hello all,
    Africa’s biggest news of the day, Mugabe’s resignation, didn’t make it to EriTV.
    But all is not lost. Wildfire in Detroit made it.
    I thought you should know.

    • blink

      Dear kebesa
      Mugabe is going to retire in Eritrea and he will advise Issaias on how not to sleep or fall down while walking. Oh Saba said no to Issaias. For the average Zimbabwean I think live will go from mugabe to a guy called corocodail and that must be a click button to Boris Johnson’s credit. The tyrant is down not the tyranny, as za nu PF will go on the same line but I still hope for better. Sad Eritreans will not see a peaceful way of narrowing their differences.

      • Selam blink,

        “The tyrant is down not the tyranny”. Great words.

        Just in our region we have the following one man dictatorships: museveni, kigame, kenyatta, al bashir, isaias, al sisi.

        In between vacillating between dictatorship and ostensibly democracy, is the tplf controlled eprdf.

        It seems that dictatorship and tyranny are the fate of africans. They were inhumanely treated in the past by european colonizers and now by their own leaders. The difference between the two is the color of the skin, and not the injustice.

        • Berhe Y

          Dear Horizon,

          I disagree with you. Zimbabwe was not and is not going to be like the other countries you mentioned.

          I think Robert Mugabe was a lot more better, a lot more educated and he has done a lot more than the others. His fight with the white people with issue of land was I think the main reason, that created all the economic hardship that the sanctions caused.

          Other than that the people of Zimbabwe are one of the highly educated people in Africa. The country institution like the courts are all in tact. The opposition parties to some degree operate a lot better.

          And the biggest challenge is there are white people who have to deal with (may be the reason) why it’s a lot better.

          This shows how the people of Zimbabwe reacted in times of crisis, the didn’t burn the streets, they didn’t shoot his supporters and his opposition each other, instead they decided to do the job legally through the legal means.

          Compared to Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Zimbabwe is in different planet.

          The stage is set now, Zimbabwe will never be the same no matter who comes to power.

          Good day for Zimbabwe people and good day for Africa. Their success will be repeated in other parts of Africa.

          Berhe

          • Selam Berhe Y.

            In what way is RM better than other african dictators?. He took (nationalized) the farms from europeans, which was right, but within a year or so, food production had plunged, as if the land was no more the same, and the farm workers had lost their farming skill over night. They could produce surplus food, when they worked under europeans. What really changed, except poor administration and corruption?

            It is not enough that the people of Zim are educated. Many african countries have educated people, nevertheless, they can not prosper in their own countries, and they are victims of brain drain. Zimbabweans were not given any better opportunity than other africans. Due to the economic crisis never seen in any other country during peace times, and generally, the poor policy of the government, millions were forced to migrate to south africa.

            Fortunately, zim has no problem of ethnic conflicts, no religious antagonism, their only nemesis being the isolated dictator RM, who wanted to rule until his death, and finally tried to propel his ambitious wife to power. The army was with the people and the people were with the army, and why should there be chaos?

            Be sure those who know Zimbabwean politicians are not too enthusiastic, especially about the vice president, and that is why they say that it could be a reshuffle within the zanu-pf party, and not a real change.

            We all wish that the right people come to power, and zim has a better tomorrow. Time will show.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Horizon,

            First you have to make a distinction between good governance (having the right people doing the right job) and incompetent government.

            Again, I am not going to make an argument that his election was free and fair. The bigger point is, see how power is transferred peacefully. True it’s from one party to another but I think it shows that the population was prepared (because of highly educated class ) that the opted for smooth tradition. Even his party, was going to remove him using legal means (impeachment) as suppose to killing him.

            That shows how the political atmosphere that he has left behind is mature unlike any if these other governments.

            As to the failed economy etc, etc. Did he has the mandate (from the voters) and the legal right to take away those lands. I think the answer is Yes, in my opinion. The result was disastrous but not the actual action. As Ismail explained well, the problem is the West (Britain) did not hold to its legal agreement to buy the land back and handed over to the Zimbabwe people.

            I would call the countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Rewanda better when we see power transferred peacefully.

            Imagine if this happens in Eritrea?

            Berhe

          • blink

            Dear berhe
            I think the vise president was a right hand of RM and his nickname is the most savage animal ever to be alive. The party is there to guard its interest but who knows you may be right, the man can not have RM carbon copy views. For what ever reason the West will always dictate African leaders that is what they do. Even After our dictator the next leader must kneel to west or face the pencile made in European circles. The only possible way out for Africa is to United in each other’s problem ,avoid heinous plan of the west , be responsible for their own people and accountability must be the second quality to their merit of leadership ,that can at least help get the food on the table. Africans should not bargain with the west in a very twisted way . Democracy and human rights will be always the tools to dehumanize African people. We are after all people after necessities.

            Justice come when people pay for it , these who run their mouth must go and pay the price .

          • Berhe Y

            Hi blink,

            Actually it’s quite simple, if we have selfless leaders who do NOT care if they are in power or not then there is nothing the west can do about it. That is they can’t bully a leader who doesn’t care if he stays in power or not. If the concern of the leader is the well being of his people, there is NO need to violate their human rights, steal election, and ban private press or arrest opposition groups and leader. No need at all…they can say what ever they wanted to say but they will not force the leader to submit to their demands if the leader is bold enough to let his people /. public know about it. For example José Mujica.

            If you look at Eritrea as an example and see IA and the support he has from the people, there is no need for all the self destruction that he went through and still going through. What exactly does he need to do to build the institutions in Eritrea. Running Eritrea and leading the Eritrean people is the MOST boring job one can have. It will be self run country and they are self governed people.

            For example all he could have said was: We will have 20/20 vision that is we will pick 20 most important aspects of the country / society and we will be the best at them.

            Berhe

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Berhe,

            Next year is the regular election cycle of Zimbabwean politics. It then that we can know as to whether the resignation of RM will bring any meaningful change to Zimbabwean people. With the current change of “head of state” from the “same party” and the same “loyal military chiefs” to the party, isn’t a change at all, though the riddance of MR is one step towards change, if the process to democratic change isn’t thwarted. The public’s euphoria to MR’s resignation reverberated through out the country. It is amazing to watch. We wish them luck to continue the process of change.

            Regards

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Emma,

            I understand perfectly what you and I am in full agreement. What I am trying to emphasis is that, Zimbabwe was not and is not the same as in Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia for that matter. Actually if I have to give similar example it’s the same as Uganda under Musivini (may even be better). The difference is, Uganda is not under the same conflict with Britain compared to Zimbabwe.

            No matter what happened in the next election, the people have a reference point now to demand more from their government and removing the next government will not be as challenging as this one.

            By no means this transfer of power is the same as in Father KIM to son KIM, or Melles to Haile Mariam, that the public have no say.

            Berhe

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Berhe,

            I don’t understand, why it is not the same transfer of power of MZ to HD to that of Zimbabwe for unfinished term until the next cycle. Both country have used their constitutional law to transfer power for unfinished term between two election. It is all the same brother. If there will be any difference we shall see next year the election year of Zimbabwe.

            Regards

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Emma,

            Ok, let’s leave it there.

            Berhe

          • blink

            Dear Berhe
            I agree this is far better and civilized way , but North Korea is a monarchy may be you forget that. Ethiopia , Sudan, Uganda and other are far far below Zimbabwe. First of all you can see the people on the street of Harare in peace , second I believe the disagreement between the west and RM played a great role .

          • Legacy

            Hi Berhe,

            Either you are in the habit of holding contrarian views or you have a spot for dictators because I distinctly recall you defending Yaya Jameneh when it was his time to go as well.

            In my opinion there is no African dictator who has done worse for his people than Mugabe. And I don’t say this lightly but I am adding to that list people like Gadaffi , Mengistu and even yea, Issayas. He reduced his nation from a nation that was almost close to achieving a second world status to tethering near oblivion.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Legacy,

            No I don’t have soft spot for dictators. But I respect the will of the people who put them to power. In both cases, they were elected by the majority of the people, which means to me, the people are responsible as well.

            I am not knowlgable enough in the ins and outs of Zimbabwe and its economy but I don’t relay on the report of the east with vested interest to make a judgement.

            How can you possibly say Zimbabwe was about to achieve 2nd world status? Under whose rule?

            Do you mean under colonialism ? He was the only person who was in charge so I am kind of confused by your reference.

            Are you series, Mengistu is better than him? How many people did he kill? And how do measure that. Over a million people died under mengistu rule?

            Isayas Afeworki ? Which plant are you on?

            Can you please tell me how is Isayas better than Mugabe?

            In any case, he is gone and I hope better days for the people. I just do not agree to the comparison given, that’s all.

            Berhe

          • Legacy

            Hi Berhe,
            There is no such a thing as “will of the people” when it comes to election conducted in most African countries let alone in these tinpot nations. Elections are farce. Let’s just say we have different views.

            I will tell you why I think he is the worst of all. First of all, he is no angle. He is believed to have eviscerated nearly 20K people right after he became PM which sent unambiguous message to those who crossed him. But the main reason why I think he has been a disaster is that he has left the country worse than he got it. Ethiopia was always poor so was Eritrea before Mengistu and Issayas.

            In the case of Zimbabwe, I am referencing here http://www.theglobaleconomydotcom, its GDP/ Capita was close to $1,100 in 1980 ( ivestopidia defines middle income nation one with a GDP/Capita $1,036 and $12,615. ) and it went down to as low as to the 1960s level of GDP/Capita of $300 in 2008. It has recovered since then but yet bellow that of the 1980’s level.

            As far as Zimbabweans are concerned they might as well have lived in bunkers and would still have achieved the same life standard as 40 years go . The averages lifespan of a Zimbabwean is nearly half of that of Mugabe’s current age which is kinda ironic.

            There you go. Here is your ‘Man of the People.” A man without whatsoever scruples who suckled the blood of his people who even in the few days that he’s got left on this earth he would not even grant them a peace of life.

            I hope there is HELL.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Legacy,

            I don’t consider democracy / elections in Africa is a farce. If I believe that, it means, I believe as African, I am sub human and incapable of achieving what the rest of human race is able to do, practicing democracy 2500 years ago.

            In our case, we have been practicing Christianity and Islam for thousands of years, we have been practicing farming for thousands of years, we have been practicing marriage, family values, etc for many, many years and there is no reason as people we are in capable of practicing democracy.

            Let’s put that aside and let’s agree to disagree about the merits of democracy. Now back to Zimbabwe.

            Do you think Zimbabwe should have been an independent country instead remaining under colonialism?

            Do you think the RM government was within it’s right to initiate the “Land Reform policy” that cause the economic sanctions which I believe attributed to the fall of the economy, where IMF, WB and even African Development Bank all withdrew the financial support to the country.

            As to the data, you can plug almost any sub-sahara countries in Africa and the graph looks flat from 1980 until now.

            I don’t know if that’s a good indication or measure of government.

            Berhe

          • Legacy

            Hi Berhe,

            The question is not whether he should have or not.It is how he went about it. He didn’t utter a single policy for the first 20 years of his rule but when he realized he was loosing his grip on power he decided to exploit the land issue to extend his reign.

            Mandela spent 27 years in prison and had more axe to grind and yet did not order a run on the whites’ wealth. He understood that in the long run his people will be the ones who will pay the price.

            Randomly plugged some African countries including Gahana, Kenya, Tanzania and even Madagascar to see for GDP/Capita progression, most show an exponential growth. I know GDP/Capita as a means to measure economic progress has its limitations still does tell some story.

            He was very, very bad man.

  • Habte Hagos

    A very interesting and helpful article.

    Over the last two years Eritrea Focus, a UK based Human Rights Group, carried out an extensive research into the Extractive Sector in Eritrea. The first part of the report identifies 17 mining companies from various countries operating in Eritrea, and they (the mining companies) are largely funded by financial institutions based in the UK and the US. The report is due to be published imminently.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Tes ,

    I will read this article and I am sure 100% this will let us know something about the title..

    KS,,

    • Kokhob Selam

      Yes Tes,

      I already read your above article ..Knowledge and principle,,

      KS..

      • tes

        Dear Kokhob Selam,

        Thank you. Business and Human Rights is now the best mechanism to fight for human rights. Many companies are scared of naming and shaming for the sake of their reputation and hence market values. It may lead them to total bankruptcy too.

        So far, Nevsun is targeted, thanks to those who are working hard in this fight.

        So many things to be done in a more effective way to isolate pfdj from investors.

        Just a highlight.

        Again Thank you.

        tes

        • Berhe Y

          Dear tes,

          Excellent work. I think this is the kind of action driven work that we, those of us in the Diaspora are able to do to bring attention and halt / slow down the Human Rights abuse in our country. I hope in your next installment you can come up with ways to target this companies.

          There is a software / project at the UoT called “The Citizen Lab”. What this allows to do is, provide secure communications with outside world so the state is not able to monitor communication traffic.
          This type of software is used to circumvent the security apparatus of the oppressive regimes. I don’t know if that can work in Eritrea but it may be good to consider.

          One way those activist like Peta achieve their objective is buy shares (small amount) of those public companies they wanted to target and attend the annual meetings of those companies. Then as share holder, you are invited to their annual meeting and raise hell / media awareness for their operation that’s causing the human rights issue in the country they operate. They can’t just tell you, go speak with our lawyers at that time.

          Berhe

        • Mez

          Dear Tes,

          I may add as #6) the port lease to UAE (and others, probably).

          The investment you listed may be grouped in to three categories: a) #1 and #5–mineral extraction, b) #2, #3, and #4–service giving and construction, and c) #6–military base lease of port/s.

          It may be wise to focus the protest targeted on on a), and c); since b) is essential for the day to day life of people back home (and the country–however bad it is managed) one may want to exclude it from protest.

          Anyhow, the GOE is punishing itself severely by willingly excluding itself from regional economic integration; and it is hurting the economy most–this without the direct involvement of the Eritran opposition.

          I) the loss of port service to Djibouti in the past decade may be plausible to everyone–due to the border war 1988-2000 and the subsequent boarder demarcation saga–which is still there, however:

          ii) the self exclusion (in the new port Sudan expansion, and the economic integration of Sudan and Ethiopia (150 mio potential customer base)) is a monumental policy mistake.

          iii) For not participating in ii) above, the GOE counter policy pursued are likely the military port lease, and the toothless “strategic” cooperation with Egypt. The problem is the macroeconomic merit ( for Eritrea) by doing it is nearly negligable.

          To conclude, the oposition may want to develop a collection of openly-accessible and on-the-go-amendable sound policy white papers and counter act the bad activities of the GOE while promoting the wellbeing of the nation–a sort of double track approach.

          Thanks

          • tes

            Dear Mez,

            I think grouping does not work. It is all about each and every single company that is operating in Eritrea. The good thing is we can bring civil lawsuits against any suspected company in their origin country or to any country that have office for this case.

            The strategy starts with naming and shaming by whistleblowers or human rights defenders.

            tes

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