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Number of Eritrean asylum-seekers in Europe soars from past year – UN

14 November 2014 – The number of asylum-seekers in Europe from Eritrea during the first 10 months of 2014 has tripled compared with last year, with large numbers of refugees from the country also fleeing

14 November 2014 – The number of asylum-seekers in Europe from Eritrea during the first 10 months of 2014 has tripled compared with last year, with large numbers of refugees from the country also fleeing to neighbouring Ethiopia and Sudan, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today.

Thus far in 2014, nearly 37,000 Eritreans have sought refuge in Europe, compared with almost 13,000 during the same period last year, UNHCR said in a press release today.

Most of the Eritreans arriving in Europe have initially travelled via Ethiopia and Sudan, Mr. Edwards said. Those countries have also experienced a dramatic increase in arrivals, including large numbers of unaccompanied children.

“Most asylum requests have been lodged in Sweden, Germany and Switzerland, with the vast majority of the Eritreans having arrived by boat across the Mediterranean,” a UNHCR spokesperson, Adrian Edwards, said in a press briefing in Geneva earlier today.

According to UNHCR’s office in Italy, 22 per cent of the people arriving by boat are Eritrean, a total of nearly 34,000 people this year. That makes Eritreans the second-largest group – after Syrians – to arrive in Italy by boat, the spokesperson noted.

Furthermore, more than 5,000 Eritreans crossed into Ethiopia during the month of October alone, compared with the average of some 2,000 arrivals per month since the beginning of the year, Mr. Edwards said.

About 90 per cent of those who arrived in Ethiopia in October were between 18 and 24 years old, and some 78 children arrived on their own, without an adult family member. More than 1,200 Eritreans arrived in Ethiopia during the first week of November, the spokesperson added.

In Sudan, UNHCR has also been witnessing a marked increase in the number of arrivals since the beginning of 2014, Mr. Edwards said. He noted that more than 10,700 Eritreans have sought refuge in Sudan this year, an average of more than 1,000 arrivals per month.

In total, there are currently more than 216,000 Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia and Sudan, according to UNHCR. Sudan has been hosting Eritrean refugees for more than 40 years, while Eritreans started to arrive in Ethiopia in 2002, after the end of the conflict between the two countries.

Recent arrivals have told UNHCR staff that they are fleeing an intensified recruitment drive into the mandatory and often open-ended national service.

In addition, growing numbers of the predominantly young refugees in Ethiopia and Sudan have become frustrated with the shortage of services and absence of self-reliance opportunities in the camps, Mr. Edwards said.

“We are extremely concerned that the refugees crossing into Ethiopia will eventually try to move on,” he said. “There is a need to boost education and livelihood opportunities for the refugees in the countries neighbouring Eritrea to prevent people moving on simply out of desperation.”

At the same time, UNHCR is also calling on Europe to step up efforts to provide credible legal alternatives to dangerous voyages, to protect people from the risks of traveling with smugglers.

The collective response needs to maintain a strong capacity to rescue people at sea and increase safer ways for refugees to find safety, including enhanced resettlement, other forms of humanitarian admission and private sponsorship schemes, the spokesperson stressed.

In addition, UNHCR is calling on European governments to do more to facilitate family reunification and use programmes such as student or employment visas to benefit refugees, Mr. Edwards concluded.

Review overview
  • WEDDI KEBESA November 16, 2014

    Unfortunately the International Community is doing as a size of Eritrean tragedy ,because the Eritrean regime is every single making deeper and deeper Eritrean suffer as result of these Eritrean feeling their homeland putting themselves in risk .

  • Gura November 16, 2014

    Eritrea has become a poster-child (reclam or advertisement) of all man made tragedies.

    • rezen November 16, 2014

      Sober observation, Gura.
      Eritrea” has always been an example of “man-made tragedies”.
      Go back to ‘history’. What else can one find except TRAGEDY?

  • Girma T. November 16, 2014

    The truth is that most human beings would choose freedom and opportunity before country. That is why most old Eritreans don’t return to Eritrea for good; yet, more importantly, why so many young Eritreans still keep immigrating to the West 20 yrs after Eritrea gained its independence. Personal human freedom precedes patriotism, infrastructure, food security, national security or any similar secondary factors. And this was why many young Eritreans lost their lives in the struggle for independence and keep losing their precious lives in deserts and oceans till this day – not for land freedom but for human freedom.

    • FAILED PEOPLE November 17, 2014

      Girma ,

      thank you for not being hypocrate ,you nailed it on the spot .¨Girma you do not know we Eritrans love our country more than our life, but we are forced to leave it now.¨ is BULL CRAP,what you stated is true for all HONEST humanbeings.

      • Girma T. November 17, 2014

        Thank you for your usual positive comments. Great observation on your part as well and please keep it up and God bless you brother/sister. You are truly HONEST human being yourself with great sense of humour indeed.

  • sussun November 17, 2014

    Girma you do not know we Eritrans love our country more than our life, but we are forced to leave it now.

    • Abdul November 17, 2014

      Sussun Fallacy! If somebody loves something more than his life, ONLY death can force him to leave it..
      You only talk for talking sake, but not the truth!!

      • rezen November 17, 2014

        If I may be permitted to add to the wise words of Abdul, it is THAT kind of insane “LOVE” that killed “Eritrea” a long time ago.

        In my honest and humble appeal may I have the audacity to ask all “Eritreans” to come to their senses and decipher their problem in a cool and rational manner and come-up with a rational and SANE outward plan for their OWN benefit — and leave a worthwhile legacy for future generations to come. Less than that “Eritrea” will remain as a universal example of a failed state that cannot even define its own interest — having hinged itself to destruction based on the three debilitating cancerous diseases of religion, regionalism and racism. Please forgive me for my sharp ‘tongue’.

        • Girma T. November 17, 2014

          rezen (Abi seb – the great ‘sema foro’),
          Please don’t be an apologist for your sharp but precise and entertaining ‘tongue’. The only thing that you have to ask forgiveness is why you are always a ‘sema foro’ disappearing for too long and making us think that you’ve sadly been banned and missed. Dear brother rezen, no matter what always tell and write the truth and the whole truth as you see them. As they say sometimes brutal honesty is the best way forward. Keep it up and let us learn from your sharp and brilliant ‘tongue/brain’. Thanks.

          • rezen November 18, 2014

            Girma T.
            Thank you very much. You are too generous. You gave me ‘groom girma ‘ more than I deserve. But let me be frank: it feels good! I am only human. Do you know what I am going to do? I will treat myself to a good – grande – cappuccino with something delicious on the side and enjoy with a day-dream, the title of which is this: Can “Eritreans” conquer the pettiness in themselves and RISE TO THE BEST OF “THEMSELVES, BY THEMSELVES, FOR THEMSELVES”? It is possible – it only requires HONESTY to thyself, and intense FOCUS to the delineated GOAL Yes, honesty, goal, focus!

            Let me say a word or two about FOCUS. I may burn my finger pointing at Issayas Afewerki Abraha to base my argument, but he is the best example in the discussion about FOCUS. Little background is in order here. Issayas was a first year student at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. At the end of the year he found to his horror (one can imagine) that he was in the list of those who failed. He was crashed. Issayas was, and still is, the most egotistical person, without the slightest hope for reform. The story goes, in short, that he decided to leave Ethiopia altogether. And so in October of 1966, Issayas (at the age of 21) went to the Bus Station and left Ethiopia for good, heading north. Two/three friends saw him off at the Bus Station. One of the friends made a prophetic statement in these words (translation): “Issayas will split the Eritrean liberation movement into two; failing that, he will immediately come back” What a shrewd historical observation.

            Issayas, apart from his glaring egotistical personality, is one of those who are born not to follow but to lead to whatever direction his whim dictates. In that trait, Issayas had intense FOCUS on his GOAL to LEAD the Eritrean people, hence to forge Eritrean revolution in his own way, in his own image, and to his own destination. In that endeavour, Issayas never trusted a single soul, never cared about historical parochial matters of “Eritrea” (i.e. religion, regionalism, racism etc) , but used them all effectively to divide and conquer the hapless people of “Eritrea”—hence in a position to be the master of the situation – always FOCUSING on his ultimate GOAL Deviation is not his trait. To cut it short, he succeeded in an extraordinary manoeuvring [by all means available] of his opponents not only to be the master of the nation but to be accepted as a semi-god by ordinary people as well as by brilliant highly educated personalities of the country. They believed in Issayas unreservedly and struggle among themselves to have a glimpse of approval or a smile from The ONE and ONLY ONE LEADER. Intellectuals of superior educational backgrounds — masters of logical and rational thinking on any subject matter on Earth — were simply mesmerized by a first-year college drop-out and were completely ready to abide by his whims i.e. until it was too late to realize the nature of their hero. Their allegiance to Issayas was extraordinary, bordering to madness! One can’t help going back to historical occurrence of a similar nature but grotesquely deadly beyond proportion. It happened in 1978. The legendary Jim Jones of California, the United State of America, ordered his hypnotised religious followers (over nine hundred) to ascend to his wishes of mass suicide, drinking poison given to them in the ‘paradise’ of Jonestown , Guyana, South America. (1)

            Here, some may be fuming to see the name of their idol, Issayas Afewerki Abraha, being mentioned along with Jim Jones. Their sentimental reaction is understandable. But please consider this: Issyas Afewerki Abraha too ordered the entire people of a nation to go to a “meaningless ” [his own word] war. Again in his own word “nineteen thousand” innocent “Eritreans” perished for nothing! We know better. The estimate can only be a figure designed to be alas palatable. Observe, the loss of 19,000 souls is supposed to be palatable!?! Gross!! Please compare that with Jim Jones figure of 900 mass suicides. What is the difference? Let us be honest to ourselves. A lot more can be said in all sincerity about the unfortunate, honest, proud, gallant and courageous “Eritreans” who were led from war to war and still at war, resulting in being known as the beggars of the Globe. This is simply the saddest and shameful historical record of a proud people.

            Let us go back to the subject of FOCUS. Any undertaking (task) can never be achieved without conscious focusing on the delineated goal. If “Eritreans” wish to retain any semblance of nationhood they must a) define their collective goal; b) focus intensely and consistently on the collective goal; and c) execute, without wavering, the course of action that leads to the agreed collective goal for the benefit of all. Are “Eritreans”, as a collective force, able to undertake such a course of action for mutual benefit of all? This is a cardinal question. The displayed characteristic of “Eritreans” so far – specifically the Diaspora Eritreans who are fragmented into more than eighty ‘pieces’ – does not give anyone any hope. Which means, the future of “Eritrea” will be determined haphazardly by external forces, as always? Perhaps, for some unfathomable reason, it is THE destiny of “Eritrea” . If so, it is truly classical TRGEDY. THE END
            Footnote: (1)Please see Google. It is historical lesson .

      • FAILED PEOPLE November 17, 2014

        sussun is living in falalala land.Bull crap!

  • Selam November 17, 2014

    this news is fabricated and lie. no one is leaving the beloved nation of eritrea. our country is Eritrea and we are making to make it a singapor of africa, you will see it with in few years. God bless ertirea and its great leader

  • mahta November 18, 2014

    This number of people is only rejistered but most of people that flees to sudan are not rejstered. At this time more than million people of eritrea are out side inkluding old people that come out legalli from erittea.