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ERITREA EU plans to provide Eritrea’s oppressive regime with new funding

Reporters Without Borders ( Press release 28 April 2015 ERITREA EU plans to provide Eritrea’s oppressive regime with new funding Reporters Without Borders calls on the European Union to condition additional aid to Eritrea via the European Development Fund (EDF)

Reporters Without Borders (

Press release

28 April 2015

EU plans to provide Eritrea’s oppressive regime with new funding

Reporters Without Borders calls on the European Union to condition additional aid to Eritrea via the European Development Fund (EDF) on a significant improvement in fundamental freedoms, including freedom of information.

The EDF is the main instrument for EU development assistance. Under the 11th EDF, the EU’s Eritrean “partner” is to get 312 million euros in aid between now and 2020 – three times what it was awarded in 2009 for the following five years – although it continues to flout freedom of expression and information, and human rights in general.

An Italian delegation that visited Eritrea from 24 to 26 March met with President Issayas Afeworki, his political adviser Yemane Ghebreaben, and several ministers. Ghebreaben assured the delegation that Eritrea would carry out democratic reforms “in its own way” during the next three to five years.

Such promises have been made in the past without any significant improvements ever being seen. The Eritrean authorities continue to be inflexible as regards the detention of political prisoners, including many journalists, claiming that high treason and national sovereignty issues are involved.

“It is astounding that the European Union provides Issayas Afeworki’s regime with so much aid without seeking anything in return in the areas of human rights and freedom of expression, although Eritrea’s constitution guarantees the right to free speech,” said Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Africa desk.

“This country, which has never had democratic elections, is subject to a single man’s will. How can the European Union, which defends the rule of law and democratic values, support such a regime? While it is important to maintain a dialogue, there is a limit to how far you can go in accommodating a dictatorship that does not keep its promises”.

“Wouldn’t it be in the EU’s own interest, as the recent deaths of hundreds migrants in the Mediterranean have reminded us, to encourage the development of a government that respects human rights and allows young Eritreans to see an alternative to a future of forced conscription of indeterminate duration?”

Kahn-Sriber added: “We call on the European Union to condition its funding on Eritrean government guarantees for more respect for human rights, including the release of imprisoned journalists who are political prisoners and authorization for media pluralism.”

Reporters Without Borders condemned the five-year EDF funding that the European Union awarded Eritrea in 2009 although the situation of political prisoners had worsened considerably and more journalists had been arrested.

Contrary to its repeated promises to improve respect for human rights, the Eritrean regime has become steadily more oppressive and, although a small country, detains more journalists than any other African nation.

Since closing down all privately-owned media outlets in 2001, the government has exercised complete control over news and information, repeatedly cracking down on independent journalism and trying to jam independent news radio broadcasts from outside the country.

The least critical opinion can lead to permanent incarceration without trial in unbearable conditions in one of the country prison camps. Of the 11 journalists arrested in 2001, at least seven have died or taken their own lives in detention.

Eritrea is ranked last in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index for the eighth year running.

Review overview
  • oromay April 28, 2015

    The irony is that the EU is encouraging the brutal regime to perpetrate more human rights abuses and atrocities by providing financial support. An other new clueless and insensible PFDJ advocate, Browns Burton,is telling us 100,000 conscripts have been already demobilized. Can you imagine this concocted lie! Oh, my gush!

  • Truly Truly i say to you April 28, 2015

    Please all stop your dummy analysis and disturbance. You may think this by EU plans to provide Eritrea by new funding that broadcasting news will please Isayas. No, No, No!, in the contrary it scares and disturbs him. A devil by no means will happy and feel comfort, whatever positive or constructive atmosphere creates or aid be flow. Its destructive nature will not allow him, people to govern in peace, harmony, justice and democracy. let alone when foreigners come up with aid, even citizens with own capital want to invest in their own nation, you know it how Isayas displeased. Do you think Isayas will happy and feel comfort, if in side Asmara University ,collages, high industries, fabrics, whatever communication technology facilities like internet and Mobil even primer necessity like home, water and electricity be built or construct? Never! Isyas exactly know a lot of labour power workers, high educated students, businessmen groups get opportunity to live or gather means a threat ,suicide, murder for him. will continue..

  • Truly Truly i say to you April 28, 2015

    part 2
    So, all be cool, Isayas has enough money for his destructive agenda. Westerns even by billions and billions dollar be provided him , it will not take them a day , Overnight they could destroy him if they like. Did Saddam`s Gadafi´s billions dollar Mubarak´s that got billions aid, had rescued their life or power?
    The so called aid money for you it could be plenty, but for them is nothing. Its final purpose also not like as you assuming to support the dictator, but may those living inside Eritrea their workers, or in future may have plan extra workers to send, for facilitating their work, to pay their salary to fulfil their normal necessities, for their safety, health etc it is. Finally you have to know the so called aid money is our own from that main grabbing indirectly gain could be. But since at final could privilege us to rid the dictator, and may for nation building as aid form they could give us back, i am not that much against of that, even better to see in their hand, rather than to see in the hand of worst wicked tyrant on earth existing for nothing good.