The Eritrean exodus to Ethiopia-part 2

Peace is based on a consequent balance of power and involves a corresponding structure of expectations and pattern of cooperation. Moreover, peace may become unstable when an increasing gap develops between expectations and power. This might lead to a total chaos, conflict, violence or war. Peace mainly peace of mind, which is inner peace, offers countless benefits:

  • better concentration ability
  • Efficiency in handling daily affairs of life.
  • A sense of inner strength and power
  • More patience and tolerance.
  • Freedom from anxieties and worries.
  • A sense of inner happiness and bliss. And so on.

The Peace of mind is very important for all, as it is a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace and in sync with your emotions. Eritrean Citizens who live inside the country, in particular were being victims of the last twenty years of the so-called “no peace no war” status. The dictatorship leadership of PFDJ was taking advantages of the ‘no war, no peace’ status and advanced his cruel administrations to date. The latest peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia were welcomed by almost all Eritrean and Ethiopian citizens.  Because as stated above the importance of having peace is tremendous

However, the activities which have been undertaken on the eve of the peace agreement seems complicated. The opening of Airlines transportation was taken as the step and good gesture of the pleasure of the peace agreement. But the current developments of the activities were not expected to be as rushed as it is. The openings of road transportations were making all the headlines nowadays. As the process of road transportation did not have any immigration procedural arrangements and there is no any limitation based on age, sex or status for people leaving Eritrea, resulting in the mass exodus of the Eritrean people to flow to Ethiopia.  The number of Eritreans flowing to Ethiopian cities by road is very huge. Even though there were people who return back to Eritrea after they spent some time in Meqele, Adi-Grat and Addis Ababa, but comparing with the people who remained in Ethiopia is very low. Some estimate that on average 1 of 15 people who crossed to Ethiopia went back home. The latest information of the border opening was welcomed by Eritreans based on their specific conditions and circumstances. Some take advantage of the border opening and free movement of people to flee from Eritrea for good and some saw it as an advantage for trade exchange.

 

On the 22nd of September 2018, Africa Monitors had reported The Eritrean Exodus to Ethiopia on the exodus of Eritreans to, and their conditions in, Ethiopia. Based on the latest report we gathered, since the 24th of September 2018, Ethiopia resumed granting asylum to Eritreans. And after weeks of refusal, now the refugee registration center in Tigray state commonly known as “Endabaguna” has resumed its usual activities and started to accept the asylum requests of the Eritreans asylum seekers. But any Eritrean Citizen who crosses to Ethiopia if he/she wants to be registered as a refugee, he/she must have to apply it at the nearest police station or military base found at the border. This means for those who try to have a refugee status by applying directly at the refugee center are not granted. For this reason, those who had already moved to the towns and cities of the state had to go back to the border to be able to apply for asylum. The refugee camps such as Hitsats and Adi-Harush are now overwhelmed by the arrival of new Eritrean refugees. There are no adequate facilities and service to meet the influx of the refugees. To deal with this problem several refugees are made to share a tent. On the 26th of September 2018, Quoting the Shire district administration, Reliefweb Ethiopia – Eritrean refugee influx (DG ECHO, UNHCR, NRC)(ECHO Daily Flash of 26 September 2018) reported that since the border opened on the 11th this month, 15,000 Eritreans have crossed to Ethiopia. ‘According to UNHCR, the average daily arrival rate has increased more than fourfold.’ Reported the same source.

As reported in the previous report, many who have financial capacity are crossing to Sudan through the town of Metema in the Amhara region. It is reported they pay to human smugglers about 8000 USD per person for the whole journey up to Khartoum. Their intention is to travel to Libya with the final destination being Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. These people seem to care about their lives because they take such a  huge risk to travel to Libya where they will fall victims to different of human rights violations in the hands of the different militia groups and the terrorist group, ISIS. Already in the past two weeks, the Sudanese security forces have intercepted more than 180 Eritreans in route to Libya.

 

The most weird, confusing, demoralizing stories circulated are the treatment of the Eritrean military towards the Eritrean businessmen. In relation to the border opening, the trade exchange of goods among Eritreans and Ethiopians are at an advanced stage. Taff, lubricant Oils and cements are the main goods that Eritreans demand from Ethiopia. What the Eritrean Security officials did was untold and unimaginable. First they allowed Ethiopians to sell their Goods in the open areas of Godaif, Medeber etc. in Asmara city. Then they started to arrest those Eritreans whom bought Goods in large amounts. They accused the businessmen how they were able to get that amount of cash to those goods.  Such acts of regime, even though did not come as a surprise (as the people got used to that kind of cruelty) but they were not expected to be implemented at this time. Because with normalization of relations with Ethiopia and opening of the borders and free movement of goods and people, people were looking forward to a new chapter.

 

These latest developments in relation to the peace agreement seem confusing and hard to understand. Especially the actions of Eritrean government were unconvincing, and it was mockery to observe the way how the Eritrean leadership and media reacted to the peace agreement in front of cameras. When you take a deep look at the developments that unfolded several questions can be posed as follows.

 

  1. Why does the Eritrean Government which used to charge Eritrean citizens who try to leave Eritrea illegally with criminal offence all at sudden permitted any citizen to cross to Ethiopia without any limitations?
  2. What is the motive behind allowing free trade exchanges and then arresting people who got involved in these trade exchanges?

 

These questions need to be answered to give you the exact clue or idea how the Eritrean Government wants the objective of the peace agreement to be materialized.

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