FOLLOWING last week’s EU – Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative Ministerial Conference in Rome, a delegation from the British Foreign and Home Offices have arrived in Asmara for talks with the Eritrean government on multi-layered facets of migration and human trafficking.
It was not yet confirmed whether the delegations also came to look into a Denmark Immigration Service (DIS) style assessment on the alleged human rights situations in the country besides having a discussion on migration and human trafficking.
A three week fact-finding mission and a report on Eritrea by DIS made headlines last week after it concludes that ‘allegations of Human Rights in the country do not harmonize with the reality on the ground.’
The report also adds, ‘hardly anyone leaves Eritrea for political reasons …. as almost 99.9% of all Eritrean asylum seekers in Europe are Economic Refugees.’
The Rome conference was, in fact, an opportunity for Eritrea and the countries in the region to have a one-on-one talks with various European officials. Foreign Minister Osman have had a fruitful discussion with EU Foreign Relations Chief, Italian Interior Minister, Italian deputy FM, EU Development Cooperation Minister and with various UK and Norway Officials.
EU Development Cooperation minister on his part promised EU’s readiness to engage with Eritrea and contribute to the country’s national development projects.
The refugee crisis in Europe and the staggering number of migrants death while attempting to cross to Europe over the Mediterranean Sea, together with a growing awareness on some of the critical and political pull factors has forced the EU to adopt a policy shift and engagement with countries like Eritrea.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, today slammed Europe’s attitude towards migrants and refugees suggesting that EU countries care more about implementing stricter immigration policies than ensuring safety.
“The real root causes have to be addressed, and this means looking at why people are fleeing, what prevents them from seeking asylum by safer means, and what can be done to crack down on the criminal networks that prosper from this, while at the same time protecting their victims. It also means having proper systems to deal with arrivals and distinguish real refugees from those who are not.”
Such awareness and political willingness by EU member states will definitely tighten the noose around the neck of human traffickers and asylum peddler’s.