Hidomona’s Reply To Meskerem’s Willful Ignorance

[ notes: On August 17, the Winnipig Free Press reported on the efforts of Hidmona Eritrea-Canadians Human Rights Group of Manitoba to call on the Canadian government to comply with its own laws and not allow individuals like Zemehret Yohannes, who is in charge of Eritrean ruling party’s “Research and Documentation” department, and Walta, a musical troupe which raises funds for the ruling party, to raise funds in Canada.  This generated a tearful response from Alem Goitom, the publisher of who went on to do what he does best (or worst): tilting the playing field and the refereeing in favor the PFDJ, under the ironic guise of journalistic fairness.   The following is Ghezae’s response.]

I don’t have much time to answer Alem Goitom of Meskerem. But it would help to expound the works and advocacy of Hidmona Eritrean-Canadians Human Rights Group of Manitoba on the inadmissibility provisions of [Immigration Refugee Protection Act] IRPA.

Hidmona Eritrean-Canadians Human Rights Group of Manitoba and its members have on numerous occasions advocated for the amendment of the law as it unfairly targets genuine Eritreans who participated in the armed struggle.

Please allow me to paraphrase what I wrote to Haw Semere Habtemariam.

For starters, there are hundreds of EPLF and ELF fighters who have been accepted by Canada and called it Home. They are our mentors and inspirations. So just to correct your willful ignorance the provision doesn’t affect them at all.

More to the point, we, at Hidmona Human Rights Group, have done more than the likes of Ato Alem in an effort to bring clear distinction between the heroes who need genuine protection and the ex-heroes (now you call them zeros, like Zemhret Yohannes) who are guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation. Our position is (as we told the reporters and officials the same too) those who continued to serve the regime (well, actually part of the regime, military bands, PFDJ leaders) should be banned from entering Canada for they are liars, murderers, and thieves. They stole our dream; killed our young; lied to all of us. But those genuine fighters who gave everything they have had for our beloved nation deserve a respite, a warm welcome, even, yes in tough winters of Canada.

Hidmona Eritrean-Canadians Human Rights Group of Manitoba has helped produce (though we wish we had done more) and is signatory of the detailed document prepared by Canadian Counsel of Refugees (CCR). The document was written in April 2010, and it details the hardships many Eritrean refugees face due to the inadmissibility provision of the law. Please read the following document:

We are heartened to see Canadian immigration officials are relaxing the rules and have started granting the PR status for many accepted refugees. As members of refugee advocates, we will exert our efforts for more results.

Our advocacy in ground towards bringing more awareness to the issue and the practical assistance we offered to those who were affected by the inadmissibility law is surely known to those who needed it. We will continue to do so.

Now, if you want to know more about the basis of our protest against Zemhret and the military band it is simply this Canadian provision of the law:

“Persons in Canada who have dealings with Eritrea are encouraged to carefully consider the prohibition on the provision of financial assistance related to military activities. This may be of particular relevance to Eritrean expatriates paying … whether called dues, contributions, donations or any other term, may be prohibited under Canadian sanctions.”

This clearly puts fundraisers done by members of the Eritrean military, under the leadership of Zemhret is illegal under Canadian law;…and immoral under the greatest law of all; “the law of conscience.”


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