New Doubts in Europe about Asylum for Eritreans

Diplomats from France, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and the EU criticized the overly generous asylum policies of their countries to Eritreans.

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DONE and DUSTED. The diplomats strongly urge European states not to follow the UN recommendation, according to which, Eritreans should be granted automatic asylum. They conclude that Eritreans flee because of national service and poverty, but not because of personal political persecution.  (Photo: REUTERS / Giorgos Moutafis)

By Blick, *

The European countries, including Switzerland, support their practice of asylum to Eritreans on a report by the United Nations. It mentions of slavery, arbitrary detention, torture, rape and murder, based solely on description given by fleeing Eritreans.

Now, diplomats stationed in Eritrea start criticizing the report. In a nine-page paper they present for consideration by the EU via «Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung» reported last week, the «Tages-Anzeiger» cited the ambassador from France, Italy, Great Britain, Germany and the EU pointing out to shortcomings of the report – and criticize the generous asylum practices of the European states.

Total Control Not Plausible

Eritrea is considered a repressive state with no legal system. But the “Total control described in the UN report is not plausible,” quotes the «Tages-Anzeiger».

In advance, the diplomats doubt the integrity of the United Nations witnesses as they have an interest in a dramatic presentation of the situation in Eritrea in order to justify their asylum.

The ambassadors, therefore, advise the European States not to follow the UN report’s recommendation, according to which Eritreans “asylum seekers” should be granted “automatic” asylum. This reinforces the suction effect.


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In their paper, the ambassadors doubt the integrity of the UN witnesses. They [witnesses] have a vital interest in the dramatic presentation of the situation in their homeland to justify their asylum application or status.

The diplomats raise the question of why the gross violations of human rights, which have been systematically committed since the independence of Eritrea in the early 1990s, were discovered after two decades.

Twenty-two UN countries maintained embassies in Eritrea; No one ever reported crimes to this extent.

The Ambassadors confirm that Eritrea is a repressive state with a missing legal system. But: “The total control described in the UN report is not plausible.”

Thousands of young people would leave the country undisturbed, many more escaped the National Service. This would not be possible under a totalitarian regime, it is said in the paper.

The diplomats strongly urge the European states not to follow the UN recommendation, according to which Eritreans should be granted “automatic asylum”. This reinforces the suction effect; Many would flee because of national service and poverty, but not because of personal political persecution.

Switzerland on Track

The way in which Switzerland had taken last summer: Eritreans, who have never been deployed, discharged or exempted from National Service, are no longer recognized as refugees by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

However, several court proceedings are pending against these decisions.

Civilian politicians, however, take the renewed criticism of the UN report as an opportunity to demand a migration agreement with the East African country.

For example, FDP Council Philip Müller argues Switzerland must make Eritrea a focal point of development cooperation – with the aim of returning as many Eritreans as possible to their homeland.

* Software translation from German language