Home | News    Wednesday 16 April 2014

Djibouti hands Eritrean prisoners of war over to UNHCR

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

April 15, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The government of Djibouti says it has handed over 267 Eritrean prisoners of war to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), ending an incarceration that began in 2008, when the two neighbouring countries engaged in a territorial dispute.

The announcement on Monday comes after years of international campaigning led by Human Rights Concern Eritrea (HRCE), an exiled Eritrean human rights organisation.

The human rights group had been calling for the immediate release of the prisoners arguing that the prisoners of war (POWs) were forcibly conscripted into the Eritrean army by president Isaias Afeworki’s regime.

According to human right groups, most of the former Eritrean soldiers joined the army in order to deliberately surrender to Djibouti defense forces, hoping to secure refugee status in neighbouring Djibouti.

However Djiboutian authorities refused to free them, suspecting that they might be a threat to national security as the border row between the two East African neighbours remains unsettled.

"We have made them talk to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to facilitate their return to their country, and we’re doing this despite the fact that we never heard of Djibouti’s POWs,” Djibouti presidential adviser Najib Ali Tahir told reporters on Monday.

However an Eritrean activist, Yemane Bereket, who is based in Ethiopia, told Sudan Tribune that if they were returned to Eritrea the PoWs turned asylum seekers might face prosecution at home and called upon the UNHCR to resettle them to a third country for their safety.

Bereket said the Eritreans who were held as POWs opted to join the army as a means to escape political oppression at home including, extra judicial killing, forcible and indefinite national military conscription.

"They fled to escape the unjust and inhumane imprisonment at home only to end up in another prison" he said.

The Eritrean politician further urged Djiboutian authorities to release the remaining 19 Eritrean prisoners of war still kept in detention at at Nagad Detention Centre in Djibouti.

Some of those freed are said to have been military deserters.

Djibouti and the reclusive Red Sea nation of Eritrea engaged in two border wars in 1996 and in 1999 before their latest conflict in 2008 which led to officially breakdown of their diplomatic relations.

Eritrea accuses Djibouti of siding with Ethiopia, Asmara’s longstanding rival.

In 1998-2000 Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a bitter border war that killed an estimated 70,000 people.

(ST)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article


 
 

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


On the need to redefine Pan-Africanism from Nkrumah to Museveni 2015-05-21 07:11:10 By Trayo A. Ali “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”- Charles Darwin May 25th is African Day. On May 25-2015 the (...)

Will Sudan allow rights experts to do their job? 2015-05-14 06:50:04 By Jehanne Henry Sudan is set to receive not just one, but three visits from international human rights experts this month: the United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women and (...)

Chaos in Libya poses big threat to Sudan and Egypt 2015-05-13 05:56:16 By Amira Khair Speaking to journalists after briefing the Security Council Mr. Bernardo Leon, special representative of the secretary general to Libya, said "chaos in Libya is a huge problem not (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


European Union helps treat malnutrition in Sudan 2015-05-25 06:49:48 WFP Press Release European Union helps treat malnutrition among Sudan’s most vulnerable 24 May 2015 KHARTOUM - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a contribution of €9 (...)

HRW calls to stop arbitrary detention in Sudan 2015-04-30 21:53:00 Sudan: Surge in Detention, Beatings, Around Elections Free Those Held Arbitrarily; Investigate Abuses (Nairobi, April 29, 2015) – Security forces in Sudan<https://www.hrw.org/africa/sudan> (...)

Sudan’s 2015 Elections: A huge step in democratic consolidation 2015-04-22 13:12:25 EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE SUDAN 3 CLEVELAND ROW, ST.JAMES'S LONDON SW1A 1DD TEL: 020-7839 8080 PRESS AND INFORMATION RELEASE (2/2015) Sudan’s 2015 Elections: A Huge Step in Democratic (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2015 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.