IT was during summer this year that Denmark experienced a surge in the number of asylum seekers who claim to be from Eritrea. Almost all of them mentioned the fear of being punished for illegal exit from the country or desertion from national service as grounds for asylum. The available data, however, give rise to doubts that there are, in fact, a significant number of Ethiopians among them disguising as Eritreans.
On this basis, the Danish Immigration Service (DIS) sent a fact-finding mission to Ethiopia on August and to Eritrea on October 2014, respectively, to clarify the matter further.
After three-weeks of investigative work inside Eritrea, the delegation finalized its facts-on-the-ground assessment and released the report on November 25, 2014 under the title “Eritrea – Drivers and Root Causes of Emigration, National Service and the Possibility of Return“.
The report contains a summary of all the information that the Immigration Service received by interviewing a number of sources in Eritrea, Ethiopia and London. It also includes all the agreed minutes of the interviews with the agency.
Following the publication, DIS notified everyone participated in the report, including a certain Professor Gaim Kibreab from London South Bank University, via email.
The Professor, in his same day email reply, expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the “well written and informative report“.
The report was widely welcomed by Eritreans as ‘credible‘ since it was the first report in many years that they actually remember coming out based on facts on the ground and in unbiased stance.
Almost every other report on Eritrea have been made based on reports compiled by certain organizations and groups that do not have any presence in the country. It was solely relied on some testimonies and fairy-tale kind of stories made by people for their asylum purposes. No report on Eritrea after that would be complete without mentioning these fairy-tale horrific human right abuses. The recycling of the stories will continue by copy and paste until it was believed as facts.
However, for those groups of activists and human right organizations, the release of the DIS report was like a devastating blow and a nightmare. It just came out of the bloom and trashes their decade old lies on the situation of human rights in Eritrea as a pile of garbage.
Dumbfounded and surprised. Before they even figure how to respond, the report made its way through hundreds of website pages and social media networks. It starts stripping their layer of deceit bare one after another. It finally concludes that the decade-old lies and deception leveled against Eritrea were nothing but part of the concerted ‘propaganda‘ campaign.
It was at this time of desperation that they figure the weakest link within the report: the naughty Professor. They were convinced that they can bend, if not break, the unfortunate professor into submission unless he denounces the report and disassociate himself.
Professor Gaim Kibreab, who previously acknowledges and praise the report as “well written and informative” quickly decided to retract his statement because, according to him, he think he felt “betrayed“.
“I was shocked and very surprised. They quote me out of context. They include me in a context with their anonymous sources in order to strengthen their viewpoints. They have completely ignored facts and just hand-plucked certain information,” said Professor Kibreab.
The Professor continued by saying that the Danish officials ignored his “heavily edited” document that he provided in order to clear up misunderstandings from earlier conversations.
However, when one look into the number of email correspondence made between the DIS and the Professor, it was pretty obvious that the guy was under intense pressure to deny all the claims mentioned under his name but instead to insist on his complaint that DIS disregard his heavily edited revised document.
Here comes the email from DIS that exposed his unreliability by saying that Professor Kibreab never sent a detailed or heavily edited document of any kind to the DIS to show exactly which part of his statements in the published report that he found not to reflect his approved meeting note.
Alas. The Professor again caught with his pants down. As a matter of fact, his association into the report was a mistake in the first place. The Professor can not be a true and unbiased interlocutor to the noble cause of the mission simply because he have no idea about Eritrea at all. Professor Kibreab has never been to Eritrea for nearly three decades. Simply put, he is as ignorant as those who wrote previous reports on Eritrea with out even bothered to check the reality on the ground. That’s how the report lost some of its weight in the first place. The Professor might be useful somewhere else, but he was simply useless and unfit to serve as interlocutor on Eritrea.
Please refer to the below email correspondences made between Professor Gaim Kibreab and DIS. He literally compromised the legitimacy and integrity of all his previous complaints …. beyond repair. Be the judge!
On 28 November 2014, the DIS received an email from Professor Kibreab in which he expressed objections to the report and the use of his statements. On this background, the Danish Immigration Service (DIS) immediately contacted Professor Kibreab by telephone and kindly requested that he – as soon as possible – forwarded his specific depiction of exactly which statements in the report he found not to reflect his approved meeting note in order for the DIS to issue an appendix to the report.
On Thursday 18 September 2014, a delegation from DIS had planned a meeting with Professor Kibreab in London. Due to flight delays only a short meeting was possible and a new meeting was scheduled for the following week.
On Tuesday 23 September 2014, a delegation from DIS held a meeting with Professor Kibreab in London. Afterwards, the delegation wrote a meeting note, which as agreed was sent to Professor Kibreab for his comments, corrections and approval. During the meeting in London the delegation thoroughly informed Professor Kibreab of the purpose of the mission and that the resulting report would be a public document based on the approved notes of all the interlocutors.
On Friday 14 November 2014, Professor Kibreab sent the DIS his approved meeting note, including corrections and additions to the original text. Professor Kibreab at the same time confirmed that the DIS could use his name when referring to information obtained from him. Information provided in the approved meeting note was incorporated in the report. The complete meeting note is found in the Annex of the DIS fact finding report on Eritrea (see p. 76-79 in Annex A of the report).
On Tuesday 25 November 2014, the DIS published the report “Eritrea – Drivers and Root Causes of Emigration, National Service and the Possibility of Return”.
On Tuesday 25 November 2014, the DIS sent Professor Kibreab an email with a link to the now published fact finding report on the DIS web portal www.nyidanmark.dk.
On Tuesday 25 November 2014, the DIS received an email from Professor Kibreab, in which he expressed his gratitude for a well written, informative report.
On Friday 28 November 2014, the DIS received an email from Professor Kibreab, in which he expressed objections to the report and to which he had attached a written statement regarding his statements that were used in the report. Professor Kibreab also attached the same approved meeting note, including corrections and additions to the original text, originally sent to DIS on 14 November 2014.
Shortly after, on Friday 28 November 2014, the DIS received in copy an email from Professor Kibreab addressed to a broad number of professionals working in the field of country of origin information (COI) in the EU+ countries, in which he claimed that the DIS “attribute to me information which is taken completely out of context.” Attached to this e-mail was the same written statement regarding his statements that were used in the report and the same approved meeting note as forwarded to DIS on 14 November 2014.
On Friday 28 November 2014, the DIS contacted Professor Kibreab by telephone in order to address the issues raised by him. The DIS kindly requested that Professor Kibreab as soon as possible forwarded a detailed and concrete depiction of exactly which statements in the published report he found not to reflect his approved meeting note. Professor Kibreab stated that he would not be able to send his detailed remarks before Wednesday 3 December 2014.
On Friday 28 November 2014, the DIS replied to the email that earlier had been sent out by Professor Kibreab to a broad number of professionals working in the field of country of origin (COI) in the EU+ countries, and addressed the points of critique made by Professor Kibreab. Professor Kibreab received this email in copy. Later on the same date, professor Kibreab replied to that e-mail.
On Thursday 4 December 2014, the DIS received an e-mail from Professor Kibreab. The e-mail did not contain any detailed and concrete depictions of exactly which statements in the published report he found not to reflect his approved meeting note.