Eritreans protest 'ethnic cleansing' in Ethiopia

politics | May 29, 2013 | By Martin Barillas

Nearly three thousand Eritrean refugees rose in protest at a refugee camp in Berahle, which is located in the Afar region of Ethiopia very close to the border shared with Eritrea. They seek to draw international attention to what they call "the genocide committed by the government in Asmara against the minority Afar."
 
"We appeal to the United Nations and the international community to protect the Eritrean Afar from the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by this brutal regime," the refugees' statement read.
 
Interviewed by the Sudan Tribune, Rashid Saleh, who presides over a youth group in the Berahle refugee camp, said that the demonstration coincides with the 22nd anniversary of the independence of Eritrea. He noted that "despite Eritrea gained independence over 20 years ago, its population has not yet been released."
 
It is estimated that there are 5,000 political prisoners in Eritrea held in appalling condition, according to the Fides news service. Thousands of young people prefer to flee the country. Some Eritreans have been swallowed up by the waters of the Mediterranean while trying to cross the Channel of Sicily.
 
In Ethiopia alone, there are 70,000 Eritrean refugees, while Italy also harbors some Eritrean refugees. The Berahle camp, built in 2008, is located in a desert where temperatures easily surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The camp is home to more than 5,000 people in precarious sanitary conditions. 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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