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EYSC,EMC and EMDHR Joint Open Letter to His Excellency Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of the Republi

In the love of brotherhood and for the sake of reconciliation release the Eritrean refugees

Your Excellency,

We, Eritreans represented by the three sister organizations, express our highest appreciation to your leadership, your government and the people of Djibouti for extending their brotherly hands to Eritreans. We humbly submit this letter to you also to express our deep-felt concern about the situation in our country that has been gradually showing its far-reaching negative implications not only on the Eritrean people, but also on our neighbouring countries.

As you are aware, the Eritrean people have for decades been victims of violence, oppression and exploitation. This was perpetrated not only by external forces, but also by their own government which assumed power after a protracted people’s war of liberation in 1991. Their dream broken and their aspiration trashed, the Eritrean people have fallen subject to inhuman dictatorial regime that trampled upon their basic human rights for the last twenty years.

The Youth of Eritrea bear the greater part of the brunt in many ways. Firstly, they have been made instruments for warmongering actions of the regime that has been involved in war practically with all the neighbouring countries in the course of the twenty-three years of independence. In all these wars, it is estimated that close to 200 000.00 young Eritreans lost their lives or/and become disabled. Secondly, under the pretence of nationalism and patriotism, young Eritreans have been subjected to years, if not decades, of military service which has eventually assumed no other purpose, but to keep Eritrean youth under absolute control. This robbed the Eritrean youth opportunity to lead normal independent lives of their own, fulfil their dreams, acquire skills, build and support their own families. Confronted with such bleak future under the regime, the Eritrean youth are forced to leave the country in their numbers. The decision and action of the Eritrean youth is indeed strongest vote of no confidence on the regime. Nonetheless, Eritrean refugees despite their genuine reasons have often been subjected to serious human rights violations at the hands of government institutions in host countries, particularly in the neighbouring states.

Your Excellency,

As you known there are 267 Eritrean refugees who have been languishing in “Nagad” prison for more than three years and subjected to inhuman treatments. Not only they have not been charged with any crime, but they have also not brought in front a court of justice. To raise awareness about their situation they have gone to a prolonged hunger strike during which some of them died. This still didn’t help. Currently, an Eritrean human rights activist by the name Mrs Elsa Chyrum has gone on hunger strike in front of your Embassy in Geneva for four days now to raise alarm and impress upon your government on the deplorable state of the young Eritreans at the hands of the Djiboutian security agency.

Since we don’t believe you would be indifferent to the plight of our compatriots and dismissive

of our call, we would like to make our humble submission:

1. Appealing to your wisdom and leadership and at the same time stating the provisions of the constitution of the country, especially Chapter Two Articles 10, 11 and 16, and the provisions in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which the Republic of Djibouti is a signatory to, we humbly request you and your good office to effect the immediate release of the incarcerated Eritrean refugees;

2. We call also upon your government to allow proper medical treatment to the sick among the prisoners (Article 10 of the Constitution of Djibouti);

3. We call upon your person and your office to recognize and grant asylum to the refugees

and issue them with legal permit to leave and contribute to the development of the country. If this should not be possible, your government should take the responsibility to facilitate the resettlement of the refugees to third and safe country.

Dear Mr President,

We would like to assure you that such actions will go a long way in strengthening the brotherly relations of the two peoples who share history, culture and languages as well as common destiny as peoples of one region, the Horn of Africa.


Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR) Eritrean Movement for Change (EMC)

Eritrean Youth Solidarity for Change (EYSC)

28 March 2014

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