On the 5th of June 2018, we noted with delight your government’s decision to unconditionally implement the Algiers Peace Agreement, and humbly attempted to express our concerns with regard to the response of the government of Eritrea to your call for peace. We are following with great interest the ongoing peace process. Nevertheless, as we have already anticipated, we have come to learn with regret that the process lacks transparency and remains completely hidden from the Eritrean public. It has been handled by few Eritrean officials. Precisely, the process is being controlled at the whim of Issaias Afewerki and in accordance with his personal wishes and desires. Therefore, our previous fears and concerns that we brought to your attention are not without substance. Rather they are backed by solid evidence.
As you pay a visit to Eritrea, it might be important to take note of the fact that your delegation will not meet institutions such as representatives of peoples’ or national assembly, social, human rights and professional associations and religious leaders who can express their ideas freely. Such institutions and organizations does not exist in Eritrea. This is due to a simple reason that the repressive culture of the Eritrean government does not allow such national and peoples’ institutions and organizations to flourish and play a role in Eritrea’s development.
Most importantly, Eritrea does not have a constitution nor a semblance of any government structure that clearly demarcate the authorities of the executive, legislative and judicial bodies. Accordingly, any agreement that you may reach in the absence of such government structures in Eritrea is tantamount to null and void. Indeed, the regime in Eritrea lacks the required political and moral authority to sign any agreement on behalf of Eritrean people. And any peace effort done with such an illegitimate entity is rather a waste of time and will have no impact in building a sustained normalization of relations between the two peoples.
Real and sustained solution for the good relations between Eritrean and Ethiopian people can only be realized when dialogue is made with those exiled Eritrean justice seekers who have the opportunity to speak freely. We plead with you to make such contacts with those groups. We recognize that the border issue is paramount; and this is why we paid heavy price over the course of 32 years (1961-1991 & 1998-2000) to secure Eritrea’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Hence, for us border means life, and not an artificial line.
Our country, like all its peers, has got a highly revered land, sea and air borders. The task of securing its borders is the responsibility of its people. If the Ethiopian government would truly like to ensure that peace and prosperity reigns among the two peoples, we believe it must unconditionally and swiftly implement the Algiers Agreement whose primary cause was the border itself and all the destruction and loss of life that followed thereafter.
Nations and peoples remain while governments and leaders transient. Unfortunately, unlike the people of Ethiopia, the people of Eritrea have not been endowed with leader that care about his own people. As a result of this, our people are going through horrendous moments in time. Many have disappeared without any trace and others suffer and tortured in various dungeons. Thousands have fled the country. Many have lost their lives in their efforts to reach a safe haven. Some lost their lives in the Sahara deserts and others sunk in the Mediterranean Sea. Many remain jailed without any contact to their loved ones. So, for us, the new-year or epiphany celebrations have no meaning at all. The Eritrean family is mourning one way or another. Indeed, we have a long way to go before we reach to the level of celebratory mode and hope Ethiopians are displaying. What our people need is not an invitation for celebrations, but an end to the border issue. So, we plead with you to swiftly and unconditionally implement the Algiers agreement and demarcate the border.
As explained above, the regime in Eritrea did not come to power through the concent of the people. To protect its illegitimate power, the regime has unleashed terror as preferred method of governance. As a result, Ertireans are forced to leave their country in droves. Accordingly, today we have thousands of Eritreans from all walks of life enduring a hard life in refugee camps in Western Tigray.
While peace is something to wish for, the ongoing peace process with an illegitimate regime, which does not take any kind of responsibility for the people, is causing a lot of unease among the Eritrean refugees living in Tigray and other cities in Ethiopia. They are concerned about their future, their safety and security. We would like to bring to your attention that, due to the ongoing peace process, they are going through difficult psychological pressures. Accordingly, we respectfully call upon your government to pay your kind attention on the refugees’ conditions, set out a program that would help assuage the ongoing psychological unease they are experiencing, and ensure that they are assured with a continued legal and security protection.
Sustained peace can be achieved when negotiated and agreed to with a government that cares about its own people, and not with an illegitimate ruler who thinks he is above everyone else and the law.
Human Rights Concern-Eritrea