EU: It’s Safe to Return Eritreans Home

European Union report says it’s safe to send Eritreans home, returnees face no consequences.

Eritrean migrant in Israel
The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) on its report “Eritrea: National service and illegal exit”, stated that those who left the country to avoid draft evasion can be sent back to do their national service as returnees face no consequences.

By Chana Roberts | for Arutz Sheva,

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a report on Monday stating that those who left the country to avoid draft evasion should be sent back to do their national service.

The report, which was completed in November 2016 and reviewed by EU Member States, also said that the treatment deserters receive in Eritrea “appears to have become less harsh in recent years.”

“Most sources report that first-time offenders are now usually detained for several months. Punishment for deserters from the military part of national service is reportedly more severe than punishment imposed on those deployed in the civilian part. As deserters are not tracked down systematically, a number of them effectively go unpunished,” the report states.



As well, the report clarifies that “according to a new, unpublished directive, such returnees are exempt from punishment… The majority of the individuals who have returned according to this directive have…not been persecuted. The few available reports indicate that the authorities treat them similarly as persons apprehended within Eritrea or while leaving illegally.

“For deserters and draft evaders, this means being sent back to national service after several months of detention. Regularization is not necessary for persons who have not reached conscription age yet or who have fulfilled their national service duty already.”

Desertion, illegal exit, and draft evasion are the three main reasons Eritrean citizens seek asylum from the countries they infiltrate.

Israel has suffered for several years from Sudanese and Eritrean infiltration. Recently, Former Minister Eli Yishai said there is no reason the Eritreans cannot be sent home safely, and criticized the Israeli government for its lack of action, In addition, a Swiss delegation confirmed returnees face no consequences upon their return to Eritrea.


easo

Executive summary

According to most sources consulted for this report, deserters apprehended within Eritrea are usually returned to their military unit or civilian duty and punished. These punishments are imposed extrajudicially by their superiors. There is no possibility of appeal. However, the treatment of deserters appears to have become less harsh in recent years. Most sources report that first time offenders are now usually detained for several months. Punishment for deserters from the military part of national service is reportedly more severe than punishment imposed on those deployed in the civilian part. As deserters are not tracked down systematically, a number of them effectively go unpunished.



Draft evaders are usually tracked down in round-ups (‘giffas’). Those apprehended are usually detained for some time before starting a military training, which often takes place in camps with hazardous and detention-like conditions. A part of the draft evaders, however, manages to avoid these round-ups in the long run. Sporadically, military units try to individually track down certain draft evaders, particularly those who have been called up already.

According to almost all sources, individuals who leave Eritrea illegally are also subjected to extrajudicial punishment. It is unclear who is in charge of imposing penalties. No judgments are made public and there is no possibility of appeal. However, the policy currently applied by the authorities appears to allow for shorter prison sentences than those enshrined in the law. According to most reports, the detention period now commonly lasts a few months up to two years, depending on the circumstances. After being released, deserters have to resume their national service, while draft evaders are conscripted for military training. The alleged ‘shoot-to-kill order’ at the border is not followed strictly, according to most consulted sources. However, shootings may occur. For voluntary returnees from abroad who had previously evaded draft, deserted or left the country illegally, the draconian laws are reportedly not applied at the moment, provided they have regularised their relationship with the Eritrean authorities prior to their return. According to a new, unpublished directive, such returnees are exempt from punishment. It is understood that the majority of the individuals who have returned according to this directive have effectively not been persecuted. Nonetheless, concerns remain.

There is no legal certainty, because the directive has never been made public. Furthermore prospective returnees are obliged to pay a diaspora tax (2 % tax) to an Eritrean representation abroad and to sign a ‘letter of regret’ in case they have not yet fulfilled their national service duty. It should also be noted that not all Eritreans are able to return this way. For example, persons who were critical of the Eritrean government during their time abroad are either denied return or would risk detention upon their return. So far, the majority of Eritreans who returned did so voluntarily and only temporarily. The long-term consequences of returns on a permanent base are still unknown.

There is hardly any information available regarding the treatment of forcibly returned per-sons. In the last few years, only Sudan (and possibly Egypt) forcibly repatriated Eritreans. As opposed to voluntary returnees, those forcibly returned are not able to regularise their relation with the Eritrean authorities prior to returning. The few available reports indicate that the authorities treat them similarly as persons apprehended within Eritrea or while leaving illegally. For deserters and draft evaders, this means being sent back to national service after several months of detention. Regularisation is not necessary for persons who have not reached conscription age yet or who have fulfilled their national service duty already. Nevertheless, it cannot be excluded that adults are punished for nonpayment of the diaspora tax or for illegal exit.

Over the last few years, the Eritrean authorities have announced several reforms of the national service. Most notably, they promised to limit the length of duty to 18 months starting from the 27th conscription round. This has not been fulfilled yet. National service remains open-ended and conscription lasts for several years. According to sources consulted, a growing number of conscripts who had been deployed in civilian roles are discharged once they have served for between 5 and 10 years. However, no reliable information is available on the demobilisation and dismissal of conscripts assigned to the military part of national service. In early 2016, the authorities announced a pay rise in the civilian part of the national service. According to sources consulted, implementation has already started.

13 thoughts on “EU: It’s Safe to Return Eritreans Home

  1. What happen to Nigeria?

    Latest asylum trends – November 2016

    Number of applications for international protection in the EU

    In November 2016, EU+ countries recorded 75 844 applications for international protection. This was third consecutive month with decrease in numbers of lodged applications and the lowest monthly total since May 2015.

    Syria and Afghanistan were the top two citizenships of applicants. The third top country of origin changed compared to previous months as Nigeria replaced Iraq.

    Nigeria – In November 2016, the number of Nigerian applicants incresead by 6 % to 5 603. Compared to November 2015, about 2 683 more Nigerian applications were recorded in November 2016. Only 3 EU+ countries counted Nigerian applicants among the top-three citizenships, namely Italy, Austria and Ireland.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6d76646234ce6017ab5ac63392154d2aeff99138b8f083ce64246934a7da3bf4.png

      1. EU countries just weakup after tens of thousands took advantage of that. The big question is if they decided to deport every individual who claims to be so called “Eritrean” we will see how many of them would refuse to go on the basis of that they are not Eritrean. I myself know 11 Ethiopian who recently came through north Africa, gave themselves as Eritreans, whom I play football with. I even met five of my Amhars friends whom I grow up with in Addis Ababa.

  2. This trend doesn’t reflect the true(fact) figure of asylum or refugee number of applicants (seekers) as the whole picture is skewed because all Ethiopians, Sudanese, Djiboutian, Kenyans, and most West and Northern Africa claimant are using Eritrea as their origin country.

    1. You are right. Clearly sinister is beneath this article. Israel is doing everything to justify the forcible return of migrants/refugees. Ethiopians have been reporting that half of the Eritrean migrants/refugees in Israel are actually Ethiopians, of course with forged Eritrean documents. Isn’t this the main reason why Israel decided to start dumping these migrants/refugees in Uganda?

    2. Weeey gud, now it’s not enough to blame Ethiopia and Somalia but Kenya and N. Africa? You know, you might be right about this “true” figure applicants, do you think El Salvador and Colombia in the mix? Shame on them.

      1. You are always on this Eritrean site. I know you wish you were born Eritrean, too bad you were not that lucky. Claiming you are from a country that the EU accepts migrants is not something new or hard to believe. Now if you tell me Ethiopians support TPLF or that TPLF can survive without begging for food aid, that is something nobody in their right mind would believe.

  3. Of course Eritreans are safe returning in their country. No news there! Eritrea said, however, it will not accept forcible returns. And it shouldn’t. Forcible returns is the issue here, not this other mambo jambo stuff.

    1. No problem let them take us back to Eritrea and as usual let the regime take harsh measures to punish and then their days will be more shortened than expected, the tide will be over soon, as the saying goes ……. the last load of……. Will break the back bone of the camel. I am ready to go back for a good reason.

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