Pastor deplores human rights situation in Eritrea
Source: Weltkirche Katholiche
“As an Eritrean,” said Pastor Mussie, “I wonder if it is not possible to bring the bodies of the victims of the massacre of Lampedusa and all the other young refugees who were drowned in the Mediterranean and buried in Italy back to Eritrea.”
[Google translation from German]
Despite the new peace agreement with Ethiopia, the political situation in Eritrea has not improved. This assessment, from the Eritrean priest, Mussie Zerai comes in an open letter quoted by the Vatican press service Fides. Zerai, who now lives in Switzerland, has been campaigning for the rights of migrants for many years and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015.
“The regime in Asmara,” the letter says, “is one of the world’s toughest regimes, a dictatorship that suppresses all forms of freedom, annulled the 1997 constitution, controlled the judiciary and made all citizens almost lifelong Committed to military service. “Especially young people flee from this regime and a poor economy that offers no employment opportunities.
The clergyman in the letter refers to United Nations investigations that record crimes against humanity in Eritrea over the past 25 years. Human rights violations in Eritrean detention centers and military camps, torture, kidnappings and arbitrary detention have to be brought before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, according to the experts.
According to Pastor Zerai, there are still dozens of political prisoners in Eritrea, while international commissions are denied access to the detention centers. Until recently regime opponents were arrested, Catholic schools and hospitals were closed.
Hundreds of thousands of Eritreans left their land and risked the deadly passage across the Mediterranean. Pastor Zerai reminded in this context of the boat crash on 3 October 2013, when more than 300 people died. “As an Eritrean,” said Pastor Mussie, “I wonder if it is not possible to bring the bodies of the victims of the massacre of Lampedusa and all the other young refugees who were drowned in the Mediterranean and buried in Italy back to Eritrea.” So far no one has taken responsibility for it. “It is time to overcome this problem in the name of a human principle: the families need a place where they can pray for their loved ones,” said the minister.
It was not until Tuesday evening that Pope Francis urged the governments of Europe to tackle the issue of migration together and decisively. “I ask everyone to look at the new European cemetery: It is located in the Mediterranean, in the Aegean Sea,” said the Pope.