By Yosief Abraham Z.,
The European Parliament has adopted a resolution as far as concerning to Eritrea’s pertaining situation on March 10. Filed its resolution as (2016/2568(RSP)), the European Union raised various issues, embracing the constitution of Eritrea which was adopted in 1997, Universal Declaration of Human rights, United Nations consecutive sanctions, concerning to the reports of the Commission of Inquiry, and other various matters.
Despite the deepness, complexities and variedly concealed as well as exposed natures of the raised issues, some have still—as a media reporter—captivated my concerns. For limited details:
The resolution concerning to YPFDJ
On its attempt to address the situation on Eritrea, the EU brought the issue of the Peoples Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) and its devotee umbrellas. And with mesmerizing lines, the EU glorified its resolution to state that the Union:
“Urges the EU Member States to investigate the role of the PFDJ and its various wings, including the youth wing, and to prohibit all forms of association and activity that directly support control and surveillance exercises in Europe, undermine democratic principles and the rule of law, and create patterns of intimidation and extortion.”
In fact, as have been elaborated in magnifying way, any country has inviolable rights to investigate any situation which let it unreasonably founded. In the aforementioned resolution of the EU, however, instead of citing the probably “unreasonably founded violation,” it has been clear that there are other quarters’ involvements in accompanying the draft for such urges.
While the YPFDJ members has clearly authenticated that they are free of any budgetary and kind supports from the Eritrean government or other quarters, the pretext “the EU urges…to prohibit…all forms of association…and surveillance exercises in Europe” reminds us of the prolonged sermons to curb any young Eritrean movement yesterdays and nowadays.
Had this not been the case, why the spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Mirjam Van Reisen, who presented a statement concerning to political prisoners in Eritrea on 18 September 2014 to the European Union, also chose to plunge herself in a deep personal vilification against similar young movements, including to the recent months viral news of Meseret Bahlibi, a committed member of the YPFDJ. Thus, the EU expects to keep its neutrality in hearing the voices of various bodies, including to the voice of the YPFDJ thereby to found its inclination on solid foundation.
Far from this, against the value of their establishment, the EU urged an investigation to be made against PFDJ and YPFDJ and other wings if they are “undermining democratic principles and the rule of law, and create patterns of intimidation and extortion”. No matter to others dragging factors, YPFDJ is founded on the principle of the right for civic association as has clearly been indicated on International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966.
Thus, coloring the youth association with probably “possible” advents of patterns of “intimidation” and “extortion” across the lands of Europe is inconsequential. Out of the ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ outlooks concerning to Eritrean government, any concerned individual or organization has full right to call for having the platforms of mutual understanding from the YPFDJ. Beyond that, however, who are those intimidate and being intimidated? And why even a single European country has still been blind to know what was happening in the past years’ under its clear skies?
Concerning to Mining and Other Investors in Eritrea
In its number 15 resolution, the EU again “urges all international companies investing in Eritrea to act in respect of the full realization of human rights and to do no harm”.
Similar to other tedious expressions, the accusation of various quarters’ over a few well-activated companies, especially Nevsun, has been common, wearying and unsubstantiated. In tandem with an expectation to believe that the EU has architected it’s polices based on neutral, subjective and objective facts, I had an ambition to witness the bravery of EU to see Nevsun’s full reports concerning to human-rights status, late activities and expansionary roles in the country.
Unfortunately, with the principle of “one family can’t have two fathers,” the EU let us to hear its urging calls than giving an opportune ground for common sharing platforms. Stemmed from this, another ground for neutrality has been spoiled. And out of the principle of neutrality, biased and in some ways the acts of reminding the ‘Copy’ and ‘Paste’ actions were thundered from the EU parliamentarians.
Ending the ‘Diaspora Tax’
Head of the Political Affairs of PFDJ, Mr. Yemane Ghebreab, asserted to BBC’s Yalda Hakim that the ‘diaspora tax’ is a “Rehabilitation Tax”. During her visit last year to Eritrea, Yalda raised this issue from her sensitivity to stir facts and misleading information. And on its March 8 meeting, the EU armored the sensitivity of Yalda Hakim and others by
“urging the Member States to act to end the diaspora tax and to investigate the financial transactions related to any other ‘contributions’ raised by Eritrean government-linked associations abroad.”
One fact here is, under any time and any pretext, the 2% tax is incomparable with the sacrifice Eritrean brothers and sisters inside the country are exerting. Therefore, what the EU – as one of the largest Unions in the world – expects, if it feels crucial to do so, is raising the issue of where the money is spending.
Thus, even if this “2% tax” formally suspended, considering to those who are making all kinds of sacrifices within the country, Eritreans consider other well excelled means. Before all these incidents, however, knowing that this “2% tax” is a rehabilitation and developmental tax, could save the EU from its influenced decision. Thus, immunizing the perception on this case and deliberating with the concerning bodies transparently would be another part of the attachment to create neutral platforms.
Instead of this, jaundiced by such involvement from influential figures, the EU—without denying its encouraging partnering initiatives like the National Indicative Program (NIP) for Eritrea under the 11th European Development Fund on 3 February 2016—chose condemning Eritrea for allegedly
“collecting (the 2% diaspora tax) by extortion and other illegal means from Eritreans outside of Eritrea and is used in violation of UN resolutions to fund armed groups in neighboring countries and thus destabilize the region.”
In its recent official statement concerning to the dangerously erupted riots in the Oromo region of Ethiopia, Eritrea clearly underlines that neighbor country’s accusation always emanate from the fake political mockery. Thus, in addition to the last month UN authentication that Eritrea hadn’t any relationship with Al-shabab and other terrorists in Somalia, Eritrea is enthusiastic to see extra good prospects in its political arena.
Hence, incubating like the aforementioned fault is not welcoming. Had EU been determinant to investigate recent developments in the domains concerning Eritrea, undoubtedly, the EU could have saved itself from the skewed decision which, at last, has closed the opportunity for neutral assessment during the meeting.
Concerning to Sexual Orientation
What are the over-all priorities of the EU felt under another glance by the time the discussants on this March 8-10 meeting called that
“whereas homosexual activities are illegal in Eritrea, and the government refuses to implement anti-discrimination legislation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons.”
Now, as writer and journalist from the Capital City of Eritrea, I realize very urgent issues that I wait to see them resolved in my beloved abode: the question of energy, implementing functional trading and commercial laws, catalyzing the practicality of the restructured land allotment laws, expanding and creating employment opportunities, facilitating efforts for resolving water shortage and other challenges are the striking priorities that have been influential.
And like the hortative role of championing in signing with Eritrea a worth EUR 200 million on January 28 of 2016 thereby to excel the focus on renewable energy, governance and public finance management in the energy sector in particular; I am yet hopeful expectant to see other forms of constructive engagement rather than paving another road for colliding religious values and cultural positivism concerning human dignity against other ramifications. Thus, urging a nation to popularize such sexual-orientation practices which are even not known what they meant is, undoubtedly, lack of an aggressively failed assessment.
At last, providing evidenced details against some points which have been resulted as absence of efforts for neutrality is not possible to cover it on a spot media for they can further demand beyond hundreds pages.
Therefore, the suspicion of the EU for collaterally citing the management of the central bank under the government of Eritrea as source for military purchase, terrorism and regional destabilization; call on the international community to intervene on the El-Nino borne “drought situation” in Eritrea; urging the government of the State of Eritrea to put an end the compulsory practice of all school students spending their final year of schooling in a military training camp; and at last, concerning the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Security Sector Program (SSP) which was officially launched on February 22of 2016 in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and it’s report entitled “Human Smuggling and Trafficking on the Horn of Africa-Central Mediterranean Route” and other listless issues the EU parliament raised requires the participation of nationals thereby to expand the deliberations of such vital issues beyond looking at as ‘News Events.’