DURING the general discussion on the report of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees, Questions relating to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons at the third committee of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, Eritrea stressed for the need to have a clear distinction between economic migrants and refugees.
A statement made by Ms. Elsa Haile, Director of Regional and International Organizations Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, states that conducting a thorough vetting process in determining refugee claimants from economic migrants are a prerequisite for a long term solution of their repatriation or reintegration.
“Developing the necessary capacity to maintain the clear distinction between economic migrants and refugees would better address the protection needs of international refugees and will save unnecessary expenditure,” said Ms. Elsa Haile in her statement.
The statement also deplores the preferential treatment of Eritrean asylum seekers by western countries, mostly for political expediency; end up luring thousands of other nationals to be registered as Eritreans.
“It is important for countries of destination to create a mechanism on who is who, and what his/her true identity and nationality is … It is a criminal act that needs to be investigated.”
Ms. Elsa Haile also stressed on Eritrea’s long standing policy of repatriation.
“Eritrea maintains a policy of voluntary repatriation of its nationals from any country and opposes any forced repatriation or expulsion.”
Contrary to what is claimed by some quarters that have an axe to grind against the government of Eritrea, Eritreans who have been repatriated face no persecution or detention. They are in fact encouraged to come back and assisted to reintegrate into their respective societies and reconnect with their families. As a result, over the past few years, thousands of Eritreans have voluntarily returned home from Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Eritrea also called for efforts to enhance the protection of refugees worldwide and condemn the use of refugee camps and receiving centers as recruitment or political agitations facilities.
“The rights and dignity of refugees and mixed migrants must be fully respected. The camps and centers should be under the full control of the UNHCR.”
Stressing the importance of cooperation between UNHCR and concerned states to find a durable solution for the problem of refugees and mixed migration, Eritrea reiterates its full commitment to the values and principles of UNHCR.
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The following is the full statement as readout by Ms. Elsa Haile on behalf of the Eritrean government:
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