PRESS RELEASE: Eritrean Refugee dies in Negad detention cerntre in Djibouti

Eritrean Refugee dies in Negad detention cerntre in Djibouti
30th January 2014

Eritrean Refugee dies in Negad detention cerntre in Djibouti

Thomas Haddish, a 21 -year-old Eritrean, died yesterday evening in Djibouti Negad Detention Centre. Having fled from Eritrea three years ago, fearing serious persecution, he sought asylum in Djibouti. From the moment of his arrival in that country, he was illegally detained at Negad prison.

It is reported that he died from illnesses that he picked up in that prison, during the harsh incommunicado detention, in the most unhygienic environment, lacking medical facilities.

Thomas Haddish was suffering from TB, but was for a long time denied treatment by the Djiboutian authorities. Following persistent lobbying by Human Rights Concern-Eritrea (HRCE), he and other detainees in the same detention centre were finally provided with medication. Unfortunately, in continuous detention in the same unhygienic environment, he later contracted Hepatitis. It is reported that, during his last hours, he was not taken to hospital in time for medical treatment to save his life. This is the second Eritrean refugee who has died in the Negad detention centre.

Elsa Chyrum, Director of HRCE said, “I am extremely saddened to learn the death of Thomas Haddish, a young man who came to Djibouti to look for safe heaven, but was unjustly held for years in incommunicado detention. He was no criminal, but a refugee needing protection. Our deepest sympathy is with his family and those closely affected by his death.
However, this unnecessary death should not pass unnoticed by the world. I call upon Eritreans and all who care about justice to step forward and make your voices heard! Protest at Djibutian Embassies. Call for the release of all the 266 innocent Eritrean refugees who have been detained illegally for up to 6 years. All who care can stand by the detainees in this hardest of times to ensure that they receive the treatment they are entitled to under international treaties such as the UN Refugee Convention. Among these rights is the precious right to life, as well as the right to sanctuary and protection.”

Background information

267 Eritrean detainees have been held in Negad prison in Djibouti for up to 6 years. These are mostly deserters from the enforced military conscription in Eritrea. However, because there is a border dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti, and these refugees have military training, they have been treated as enemy combatants and a military risk. Detention conditions have been so bad that some of the detainees have been described by witnesses as “barely looking human”. Repeated appeals to the Djiboutian government demanding the immediate release of the detainees have yielded no results. The government has turned a deaf ear to all the appeals for just treatment, and an end to the plight of the detainees is nowhere in sight.

For further information please contact Elsa Chyrum, Director of Human Rights Concern – Eritrea on +44 7958 005 637 or,, Twitter: