Eritreans who go to Switzerland or in other countries are young and well educated, it is “a loss for us,” says an adviser to President Isaias Afewerki. The Asmara regime “seeks to create conditions for them to remain” in the country.
“We invested a lot of resources and money” on these people, “we do not want them to leave,” said the Italian Swiss Radio (RSI) Yemane Gebreab, political director of the single party, the Popular Front for democracy and justice (PFDJ).
This interview aired on Tuesday was recorded the day after a meeting between Yemane Gebreab and Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga at UN headquarters in New York.
“They know what to say”
According to him, young people know what to say to their arrival in Switzerland to obtain political asylum or a residence permit. If they say come to have a better job, the Confederation does not allow them to stay.
“That’s why they have to say negative things about the country they come from,” he says. And ensure that only 5% of young people leave their country. 95% therefore have the opportunity to stay.
Moreover, since the beginning of the year, 1500 alleged Eryhtréens entered each month in Europe. Of these, a third “declare themselves as Eritreans, but are not: they are Sudanese, Ethiopians, etc.,” said the adviser, denouncing “special treatment for Eritreans.”
Crimes against humanity
In early June, the Commission Council survey of Human Rights in Geneva unveiled a report claiming that Asmara is responsible for crimes against humanity. She mentions slavery, enforced disappearances, torture, discrimination or extrajudicial executions. This text also target arbitrary detentions and sexual violence.
Asked about the situation of human rights in his country, Yemane Gebreab recognizes the existence of gaps in this field, but says that “people do not escape from Eritrea because they think their rights are violated “.
“We seek to build a political system in Eritrea. It takes time and we will take it. But this does not mean that young people are oppressed and they are going for this reason.Eritreans who are in Switzerland are not oppressed, they are there because they are looking for better economic opportunities, “said Yemane Gebreab.
The leader of the PFDJ says that Switzerland saw the arrival of people from around the world, not just in Africa, because they “think that Switzerland will offer them the best opportunities.”
And remember that “every summer, thousands of Eritreans returning home for different reasons (they make) visit family, they marry, they have economic activities, they buy a house … if they were oppressed and they feared for their lives, they would not come back every summer, “he said.
The presidential advisor was also questioned on the tax Eritreans in Switzerland are obliged to pay. “It is a tax for reconstruction, which concerns all Eritreans abroad,” he explained.
It was introduced in 1992. Eritrea was then “a country devastated” at the end of the war of independence. “We had to rebuild it. For this reason, we asked the diaspora to pay 2% of their net salary, “he adds. Those who do not pay are going to jail, as in all other countries, “regardless of whether the government or not you like it,” he concludes.