Refugees from Eritrea may be sent back

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Norway’s conservative coalition government is mounting efforts to send asylum seekers from Eritrea back home. Critics claim that would be akin to returning refugees to “Africa’s North Korea.”

Young asylum seekers from Eritrea now make up the single largest group of refugees in Norway, and are second only to Syrian refugees in Europe. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that many flee before reaching the age of 18, when they’re called in for obligatory military duty that’s supposed to only last for 18 months but which in practice can be forced upon them for as long as 10 years. All young men and women can be put to work to strengthen the economy and the regime.

Desperate flight
Increasing numbers have been arriving in Norway in recent months, after fleeing through the deserts of North Africa and, often, embarking on hazardous attempts to cross the Mediterranean and then make their way north through Europe. Most are desperate to flee a country that’s described as the most isolationist in Africa, and where it’s difficult to obtain objective information about everyday life and government control over the population.

Professor Kjetil Tronvoll, senior partner at the International Law and Policy Institute, told Aftenposten it was unlikely Eritrea would sign any repatriation agreement at this point. “Eritrean authorities are experts in the game around any such negotiations,” Tronvoll said. “They create a process to show interest for the international concern around Eritrean refugees and immigration, so they can’t be criticized for not addressing the problem. At the same time they make themselves relevant to European countries that want to halt the stream of Eritrean refugees. That can be used in negotiations for more foreign aid.”

Undaunted by such warnings, State Secretary Jøran Kallmyr was traveling Wednesday to the dictatorial nation in East Africa that’s among the world’s poorest for meetings with government authorities. Kallmyr, from the Progress Party known for its skepticism to immigration, wants to draft an agreement for refugee return with the Eritrean government. His effort comes despite the United Nations’ claim that returning Eritrean refugees face grave danger of being imprisoned, tortured or never being heard from again.

Responding to ‘signals’
“In Asmara I’ll have talks with representatives of the government,” Kallmyr told newspaper Aftenposten. “The goal is an agreement for returns, along with agreements that would secure Norwegian immigration authorities access to the county so that they can ensure it is safe to send the asylum seekers home.”

He told NRK that he’s concerned about the growing numbers of young Eritreans “sent to Norway to obtain residence permission.” That in turn could allow them to bring other family members to Norway.

Kallmyr stated that the Norwegian government had “received signals” that Eritrea “wants to do something” with its military draft program that’s been equated to forced labour.

“It’s important to have a good dialogue with Eritrea, but we rely on seeing results on the ground before any agreements can be signed,” he said. That’s why the Norwegian government wants to have observers in the country, “to follow developments” and see how refugees returned by other countries are being treated.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

  • Ertra Natna

    Professor Kjetil Tronvoll said “That can be used in negotiations for more foreign aid.” This is the problem with people who have no knowledge of Eritrea and yet act as experts, not only giving wrong information but making things worse. Eritrea is known for a very long standing and determined anti Foreign Aid policy. This policy is consistently enforced kicking out major NGOs like US Aid. Yet, Mr Professor things Eritrea will use this to get more Foreign Aid. very unfortunate.

    Eritrea’s negotiation will be on how best to resolve the issue by attacking the root cause. The root cause of all this evil is Ethiopia’s constant neglect of international law and occupation of Eritrean uncontested land forcing Eritreans to be on alert militarily. This issue can only be resolved by the international community enforcing the law. If they don’t do that, like Eritrea, they have to accept the reality and deal with it. It is that simple.

    • Michael

      What another simpleton! Don’t you know Eritrea receives the highest Net ODA per year in Sub Saharan Africa? It is not just because what the wicked regime in EritrEritrea said. If you look at the WB data set, the country has been receiving the largest aid per gdp ever since its independenc. Don’t simply get duped by the regim’s constant lies and propaganda slogans. Just look at the facts.
      Another rubish is the analogy between Ethiopia occupation of a tiny useless rocky plot of land and the complete absence of basic freedom of dissent in the country _which is the main driver for people to flee their home . You are one of the most ignorant creatures i have ever come across.

      • Joel Oel

        You wrong Michael. Eritrea dont accept foreign aid. Ethiopia is number one in subsaharan african in getting foreign aid, loan and military hardware.

        • Michael

          I gave you my generous instruction to go and look at WB database before you come up with this pointless argument. If you get numbers go and see the data and compare with rest of countries around the region.
          But you did not answer my question what is the precise correlation between Ethiopia occupation of a small margin of territory of Eritrea and the complete absence of all kinds of basic human freedom in the country? Just tell me since you said the root cause of the refugees is Ethiopia’s occupation.

          • Merhaba

            Give an inch. Take a mile.

          • lucio

            Wow! Hold your horses,and don’t let your prejudice ran amock and blind you.With the unjustly occupied “little swath of land” comes the threat of war daily,you wouldn’t know the provocation launched from dusk to dawn by the Woyanes and their mentors daily .The “No War No Peace” sure contributes to the slow down of the social ,political and economic progress.Therefore the correlation to the immigration woes is absolutely justified.

          • Joel Oel

            Michael unless you have your imaginary data base, you are wrong. You cant paint the sky green.

            • Michael

              Lol,,again like your mad dog leader, you too want to deny the well documented fact. Ask any literate fried around, they would probably show you how to deal with numbers. The regime in Eritrea is well know for publishing phony statistics to mislead lapdogs like you.

      • Joel Oel

        God bless Bruton form the USA. Micheal please listen to it.

        http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/news/in-the-news/bruton-on-eritrea-s-president-afwerky