Eritrea Victim of Huge Propaganda War: EU Diplomat

Not that Eritrea seeking validation from Denmark but ... A lie has speed, but truth has endurance.
Not that Eritrea seeking validation from Denmark but their effort to seek the truth without failing for prevailing narratives is highly commendable. A lie has speed, but truth has the endurance.

By Madote,

DURING their three week fact finding investigative mission in Eritrea to witness the human rights situation in the country, the Danish Immigration Service (DIS) interviewed NGOs, International organizations, UN agencies and Western diplomats.

Based on their interviews with these aforementioned groups and individuals, the Danish team discovered that what human rights organizations in the West have been reporting about Eritrea are more often than not, an exaggeration or were simply a made up.

Emphasizing this point, a regional NGO based in Asmara informed the Danish group that “the information in human rights reports about ill-treatment in the National Service are more often than not exaggerated.”

The same source stated that contrary to existing reports, “people in the National Service are not overworked or working under slave like conditions, not beaten, subjected to torture or suffering from malnutrition”.

One candid Western diplomat, who was given the alias “embassy (b)” in the report, said, “Eritrea has fallen victim to a massive propaganda campaign from other countries, especially Ethiopia and its allies, as well as from the Diaspora and Eritrean asylum seekers.”

He added: “Human rights reports from international NGOs either lack knowledge of Eritrea or they are part of the propaganda against the country. The human rights situation in Eritrea is not as bad as it has been described.”

The diplomat said that “only very few Eritreans have genuine reasons for claiming political asylum abroad.”

He also warned that, “If the Western European countries do not halt its policies of granting asylum automatically to more or less all Eritrean asylum seekers they will see a steady increase in the number of Eritreans coming to Europe.”

Regarding reports that approximately 10,000 prisoners in Eritrea, the diplomat stated that this figure is “grossly exaggerated.”

“All the international reports published by various international NGOs quote or copy each other and they are mainly based on statements from Eritrean refugees who are not the best sources of reliable information.”

“It is a fact that Eritrea has no capacity to take care of 10,000 prisoners irrespective of whether they are imprisoned for political or criminal reasons, not to mention draft evaders and deserters. Eritrea is victim of a huge propaganda war.” The diplomat reiterated.

Denmark launched its fact finding investigation in Eritrea after a significant increase of Eritrean migrants claimed asylum in their country this summer.

As a result of their investigation, the Justice Ministry released a press release on Tuesday stating Eritreans will no longer be granted automatically asylum, after discovering the alarming human rights claims that are echoed by Western Human Rights organizations and by the media, actually do not harmonize with the facts on the ground.

The following excerpt was taking from page 42 of their report:

Propaganda

The embassy (B) emphasized that Eritrea has fallen victim to a massive propaganda campaign from other countries, especially Ethiopia and its allies, as well as from the Diaspora and Eritrean asylum seekers. Human rights reports from international NGOs either lack knowledge of Eritrea or they are part of the propaganda against the country. The human rights situation in Eritrea is not as bad as it has been described. It was added that reports from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are mostly based on sources outside of Eritrea, especially parts of the Diaspora including asylum seekers and refugees. It was reiterated by the Western embassy (B) that only very few Eritreans have genuine reasons for claiming political asylum abroad. If the Western European countries do not halt its policies of granting asylum automatically to more or less all Eritrean asylum seekers they will see a steady increase in the number of Eritreans coming to Europe. When Eritreans hear that their sisters and brothers are being granted asylum in Europe they will soon decide to go as well, and Europe will see a huge increase of Eritrean asylum seekers in the time to come.

Political prisoners/evaders/deserters

Regarding reports that approximately 10,000 persons are imprisoned in Eritrea for various reasons the Western embassy (B) stated that this figure is grossly exaggerated. Eritrea is not worse than most other African countries. It is the same story everywhere, and no-one can tell what happens in any place and any country in Africa. Concerning the reports on the 10,000 prisoners in Eritrea, the Western embassy stated that all the international reports published by various international NGOs quote or copy each other and they are mainly based on statements from Eritrean refugees who are not the best sources of reliable information.

It is a fact that Eritrea has no capacity to take care of 10,000 prisoners irrespective of whether they are imprisoned for political or criminal reasons, not to mention draft evaders and deserters. Eritrea is victim of a huge propaganda war. The Western embassy (B) would not exclude that a National Service evader or deserter would be detained, but this would be for symbolic reasons rather than for legal reasons. The authorities would prefer to state an example rather than detain evaders and deserters systematically. It was added that the authorities are turning a blind eye to many of those who for various reasons evade or desert National Service because they are needed during harvest time or for other reasons. Detention of individual National Service evaders and deserters is purely to show the people who is in charge in Eritrea, i.e. the ruling party. Detained evaders and deserters are normally released after a few days, and as an additional punishment they are sent off to duties at military posts near the Ethiopian border. It was added that many evaders and deserters would most likely have preferred to stay in detention rather than be deployed to the border areas. It was added that even if the government wanted to arrest and prosecute evaders and deserter, it does not have the capacity to do so.

The authorities could apply some pressure on the family of a deserter in order to persuade him or her to return to his work. This pressure applied could be too close the family’s shop or rejection of some license e.g. to keep a shop. The government’s interest is not to imprison evaders or deserters but to have them work for the country.

Illegal exit/“Shoot to kill”

Regarding the ‘shoot-and-kill’ policy applied in the border regions to Ethiopia a Western embassy (B) stated that there could be anecdotal reports about someone having been shot near the border. However, such stories are most likely not true as it is hard to believe that Eritrean soldiers would shoot at a fellow citizen. The government wants to stop the exodus from Eritrea, but not by shooting those attempting to leave via the border to Ethiopia. Instead, it has begun to open up to the international society in order to find a viable solution to the problem.

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Danish Immigration Service Report : Eritrea – Drivers and Root Causes of Emigration, National Service and the Possibility of Return
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