[GARGONZA:9032] Eritrea
Mobiglia  Lunedi`, 26 Giugno 2000

Un documento dell'Universita' di Asmara, Eritrea, sottolinea come nonostante
una politica tollerante e volta al mantenimento della pace da parte del
giovane stato africano, l'atteggiamento indifferente di gran parte della
comunita' internazionale ci stia rendendo complici  della politica violenta
e militarista del regime etiope. A pochi anni dall'indipendenza, l'Eritrea
ha sempre accettato di mettere in discussione la definizione dei confini con
l'Etiopia mediante organismi internazionali super partes: come tutta
risposta, ha ottenuto l'attacco militare da parte dell'Etiopia.
Questa situazione ha determinato una grave caduta nel rispetto dei diritti
umani: migliaia di cittadini eritrei che vivevano in Etiopia sono stati
deliberatamente perseguitati e / o espulsi dal paese; addirittura cittadini
etiopi di lontana origine eritrea, che magari in Eritrea non avevano neppure
mai messo piede, sono stati coinvolti in questa persecuzione, vedendosi
tolta la legittima cittadinanza etiope.
Dal canto suo, l'Eritrea ha risposto in maniera piu' tollerante verso i
cittadini etiopi presenti nel suo territorio, sebbene si siano registrati
singoli abusi da parte delle forze dell'ordine, e casi di discriminazione
che hanno portato al licenziamento discriminatorio di etiopi, con la
conseguenza di non essere in grado di pagare affitto e debiti contratti, per
cui alcuni di essi si sono trovati in condizioni di indigenza, sotto sfratto
e costretti a dormire all'addiaccio, o a fuggire in patria. Amnesty pero'
sottolinea che non vi sono casi dimostrati di etiopi costretti direttamente
dalle forze dell'ordine a lasciare il territorio eritreo; mentre al
contrario l'Etiopia (che ha aggredito militarmente l'Eritrea durante lo
svolgimento di incontri diplomatici bilaterali) continua a perseguire una
politica di deportazione e terrore verso cittadini eritrei o cittadini
etiopi di origine eritrea.
L'Italia e' finora stato uno dei piu' attivi paesi a denunciare questo stato
di fatto, ma rimane ancora isolata nel consesso internazionale.

Flavio Mobiglia

***dal sito di Amnesty***
    Amnesty International concludes that a huge number of Eritreans expelled
from Ethiopia had their Ethiopian citizenship arbitrarily removed and were
illegally and forcibly deported and sent into exile. The removal of
Ethiopian citizenship and expulsion of people of Eritrean origin is a clear
breach of international law. 
    Amnesty International has not found that Eritrea has deported or
expelled any Ethiopians, in any legal or administrative sense. On the other
hand, it could not be said that Ethiopians returned from Eritrea willingly
or out of their free choice: they had been rendered destitute, though not as
a result of government action in violation of their rights. As they were
clearly not welcome to stay in Eritrea in such conditions, they had no
alternative but to return to Ethiopia, whatever their prospects of
employment or assistance there.
    Amnesty International calls on the Ethiopian government to announce
publicly a halt to the arbitrary expulsion of people of Eritrean origin.
    Amnesty International believes that the human rights violation of mass
expulsion of Eritreans from Ethiopia will not be remedied as long as the
victims are not able to return safely to their homes and reclaim their
properties. The Ethiopian government should publicly announce that people of
Eritrean origin expelled have the right to return to Ethiopia if they wish.
The question of their citizenship should be dealt with through legislation
in conformity with human rights law.
    Amnesty International does not believe that there has been a systematic
policy of ill-treatment of Ethiopians by the government of Eritrea or its
security forces. However, the evidence presented to Amnesty International
convincingly indicates that, particularly in the first few weeks of the
conflict, there were several incidents where police officials or private
citizens violated the rights of individual Ethiopians. From late June 1998,
the announcement of the National Assembly of Eritrea appears to have ensured
that such incidences were reduced.
     With regard to the allegations of deportations, none of the Ethiopians
who had returned from Eritrea and were interviewed by Amnesty International
in Ethiopia said that they had been expelled from Eritrea. They had not been
ordered to leave by an Eritrean official or the police, nor had there been
any official policy of withdrawing their ability to stay in Eritrea as
foreig n nationals or migrant workers.
    Amnesty International representatives visiting Eritrea in January 1999
were informed by officials that around 10 Ethiopians were in detention in
Eritrea for security reasons. Amnesty International calls on the Eritrean
authorities to either take them to court without further delay, charge them
with a recognizably criminal offence and guarantee them a fair and prompt
trial, or release them.
    Amnesty International's visit to Eritrea did not remove all doubts about
whether there had been detentions of Ethiopians nor has the organization
been able to monitor the treatment of Ethiopians after its visit. Amnesty
International considers that it would be useful for the Eritrean government
to allow an independent body to act as an Ombudsman for Ethiopians so as to
safeguard Ethiopians against any ill-treatment or abuse of their rights, and
report impartially on the situation of Ethiopians in Eritrea. This could be
one of the functions of an office of the UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights, should it establish a presence in Eritrea. Alternatively the human
rights monitors mentioned in the OAU framework agreement should consider how
this is best to be achieved.

Amnesty International representatives returning from investigations in
Ethiopia and Eritrea warned today that forced mass deportation now threatens
everyone of Eritrean origin in Ethiopia, causing untold suffering to
thousands of families every week.

     Last week in Eritrea, Amnesty International's representatives witnessed
the arrival of some 1,280 women, men and children of Eritrean origin who had
been rounded up and deported by the Ethiopian authorities. Most of those
Amnesty International spoke to either had Ethiopian passports , or had been
born or spent their entire working lives there, and considered themselves
     Ethiopia's policy of deporting people of Eritrean origin after war
between the two countries broke out in May 1998 has now developed into a
systematic, country-wide operation to arrest and deport anyone of full or
part Eritrean descent. Fifty-two thousand Eritreans have been arbitrarily
deported from Ethiopia over the last seven months, 6,300 so far in January

    "Women, some of them pregnant, children, the elderly -- even hospital
patients -- are now being arrested and detained in the middle of the night,"
Amnesty International's representatives said. 

    "People of all ages, from babies to pensioners, are imprisoned in harsh
conditions for several days before being forced to board buses under armed
guard with only one piece of luggage each -- if that -- and being dumped at
the border. They arrive hungry and exhausted, and often ill, after the
three-day journey." 
    Families have been split up, the male head usually deported first, and
his wife, parents and children weeks or months later. The many Ethiopians
married to Eritreans are forbidden to leave and forced to watch helplessly
while their spouse and children are deported. 
    Deportees have had to abandon their homes, possessions, businesses and
other property with no guarantee of ever recovering them. Individuals who
have protested have been threatened or beaten. The deportees were
arbitrarily stripped of their Ethiopian citizenship without any warning,
legal process or right of appeal.
     Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has said that the deportees
posed a threat to national security and that they had forfeited their
Ethiopian citizenship by voting in Eritrea's independence referendum in
    Amnesty International representatives visited Ethiopia in October 1998
and Eritrea in January 1999 to examine allegations from both sides of human
rights abuses arising from the May 1998 conflict. They met government
officials and interviewed returnees from both countries.

     At least 22,000 Ethiopians have returned to Ethiopia from Eritrea since
May, most after losing their jobs and being rendered destitute as a result
of the hostilities, and some in fear of reprisals. No evidence was found to
support Ethiopia's allegations that 40,000 of its citizens have been
seriously ill-treated and forcibly deported from Eritrea since May 1998.

    Enquiries were also made into the Eritrean bombing of a school in
Mekelle, northern Ethiopia, in June 1998. The Eritrean government admitted
the resulting deaths of 48 civilians, including women and children, were a
"mistake", but has established no independent investigation into the
bombings. An Ethiopian plane bombed and killed one person at the airport in
Asmara, the Eritrean capital, the same day. 

     Amnesty International is reiterating its appeal to the Ethiopian
government to put an immediate stop to the deportations and ill-treatment of
deportees , and arbitrary detentions of thousands of other Eritreans,
including 38 students in Blattein military camp. They contravene Ethiopia's
laws and Constitution, as well as the international human rights treaties
Ethiopia has ratified.

    In the event of further fighting, the human rights organization urges
both sides to respect the Geneva Conventions, which Eritrea should
immediately ratify. They should also ensure that civilians do not become
targets or victims of the fighting, and that no Eritreans in Ethiopia, or
Ethiopians in Eritrea, should suffer reprisal because of their national

    "The international community -- particularly government representatives
stationed in Ethiopia -- must break their silence and make a joint stand
against the deportations and other human rights violations," Amnesty
International said. 

Dal documento redatto dalla Comunità della Università di Asmara:

Il silenzio della comunità internazionale è stato per gli Eritrei un fatto
molto più difficile da capire della stessa invasione etiopica. Infatti per
coloro che credono in un "ordine internazionale" governato da principi
universali basati sulla giustizia ed uguaglianza, l'invasione etiopica
dell'Eritrea è stata un'esperienza deprimente. Pochi paesi si sono
pubblicamente pronunciati sull'aggressione, e pochi sono stati disposti a
condannare l'Etiopia. In questo piccolo gruppo sono da annoverare Pakistan,
Svezia, Libia, Italia, Arabia Saudita e Nigeria. Le Nazioni Unite hanno
imposto l'embargo delle armi alle due parti, mettendo, come molti Eritrei
hanno fatto osservare, la vittima nella stessa cella con l'aggressore. Poco
è stato fatto per capire la natura ed il contesto del conflitto. Come
l'invasione etiopica è di per sé politicamente ed economicamente
sproporzionata, così la reazione internazionale sembra collocarsi
all'estremo opposto. Il caso del Kuwait, nel 1990-91 sembrava aver marcato
un moderno precedente per la condanna e l'intervento in caso di evidente
aggressione; il disappunto degli Eritrei è stato grande nello scoprire che
la loro sovranità sembra valere meno rispetto a quella dello stato del Golfo
ricco di petrolio. Lo scenario peggiore è quello in cui gli stessi Eritrei
voltano le spalle con disgusto "all'ordine internazionale", mentre
riflettono che le Nazioni Unite sono indifferenti alle loro sofferenze nel
2000 come lo furono negli anni 50 o durante la loro lotta di liberazione.
Questo deve essere evitato. Ancora una volta è un enorme merito dell'Eritrea
quello di continuare a cercare soluzioni legali e pacifiche del conflitto
attraverso le organizzazioni internazionali. La comunità internazionale non
deve mancare ancora una volta nei confronti dell'Eritrea.

L'invasione del maggio 2000 avvenne giusto prima della stagione delle
piogge, quando i contadini ed il Ministero dell'Agricoltura, attraverso i
programmi di coltivazione integrata, stavano preparando la terra per la
semina. L'impossibilità di lavorare la terra e produrre cibo toglierà al
Paese la sua principale risorsa di vita. Ciò implica inoltre che l'intera
popolazione sarà più vulnerabile alla malnutrizione ed alla fame. Se verrà
permesso alla guerra di invasione e di occupazione di continuare, questa
situazione potrà estendersi e degenerare in incontrollabile carestia. 

Per i diritti umani http://www.amnesty.it
Contro la fame nel mondo http://www.thehungersite.com/index.html
Per le vittime di guerra http://www.emergency.it

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