On October 03, 2013, a boat sank off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy killing many migrants on board. Reports on the ground confirm that a significant number of Eritreans have lost their lives in the tragedy.
Over the past couple of weeks, Eritrean community centres across Canada were turned into scenes of mourning and reflection as our community members came to terms with the magnitude of the tragic loss of life. Although this particular tragedy has received an unprecedented level of international media attention, sadly it is not the first tragedy of its kind.
In order to put a stop to the needless death of precious lives, Coalition of Eritrean Canadians Communities and Organizations (CECCO) believes it is essential to determine the root causes. CECCO refuses to engage in a degrading process of politically exploiting a human tragedy. Moreover, placing sole emphasis on finding a culprit for this tragedy prevents us from finding real solutions for the root causes.
In the hope of bringing to light some of factors that contribute to this tragedy, CECCO wishes to stress the following:
1. Denouncing the kidnappings of Eritrean nationals residing in camps in the Sudan and Ethiopia, deeply dismayed by the horrible abuses against migrants, horrified by the human organ trade in the Sinai Egypt, recognizing the proliferation of human traffickers in the Horn of Africa and disappointed that they remain unabated thus far,
Calls on the Canadian government to demand that the United Nations launch a genuine investigation of human trafficking in the region to prevent another similar incident as seen in Lampedusa, Italy.
2. Believing that the continuing occupation of Eritrea’s territory by Ethiopia is a threat to peace and security in the region and recognizing that this atmosphere compels Eritrea to mobilize a large portion of its population in defending the country,
Demands that the international community shoulder its responsibility and immediately compel the Ethiopian government to comply with the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission’s ruling in line with its treaty obligations.
3. Recognizing that the United Nations Security Council sanction resolutions 1907 (2009) and 2023 (2011) are hampering economic recovery in the country, creating obstacles for Eritrean-Canadians and Eritreans in the Diaspora from sending money to their families and preventing the Eritrean Diaspora from contributing to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the country,
Urges the United Nations Security Council to repeal the sanctions against Eritrea and abstain from deterring the Eritrean Diaspora’s engagement and foreign investment in the country so that Eritrea can continue to build its economy and create job opportunities for its youth. Furthermore, the United Nations and the international community should refrain from viewing the large Eritrean Diaspora’s economic support to Eritrea as a threat, but rather as a blessing and recognize its positive role in bringing prosperity to the country and its people.
In a strict observance of our Canadian and Eritrean values of care, compassion and hospitality, CECCO has been fully engaged in the pre and post arrival of all new Canadians of Eritrean origin. CECCO is committed to working with the Canadian government and all authorities striving towards preventing further tragedies.
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Background: CECCO is an organization that represents the following communities across Canada: The Eritrean Canadian Association of Ontario, The Eritrean Canadian Community of the Prairie Inc., The Eritrean Cultural & Civic Centre of Calgary, The Eritrean Community Cultural Centre of London, The Eritrean Community in Quebec, The Eritrean Community in Winnipeg Inc., and The Eritrean Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver.
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