October 27, 2011

Analysis: Overview of Eritreans overseas

US Ambassador marches on Martyrs Day in Eritrea.

This Wikileaks document offers a broad overview of Eritrea with a particular angle of "What relations do expatriate Eritreans have with Eritrea?" Eritreans who live outside of Eritrea are supposed to pay a 2% tax to the country.

UPDATE: Articles on the internet are being published about the 2% tax that Eritrea tries to collect from the diaspora.  A national Canadian newspaper featured the story. See also Meskerem.

The document was created by the US Ambassador to Eritrea in December, 2009, and released in September 2011. Short sections deal with subjects like: Diaspora Basics, Escape from the 30 year war, Political Outcasts, and the Youth. Here's the complete text of the "Refugees" section.

7. (C) Today's refugees flee the country in droves. 
While some are genuinely persecuted by the GSE (religious 
dissidents, too successful in the private sector, close 
association with foreigners, etc.), the vast majority simply 
want to escape poverty, or, in the case of the young, avoid 
the grinding labor and poor wages of interminable national 
service.  A young writer for ELEM (Eritrean Lifestyle and 
Entertainment) Magazine recently left Eritrea for a new life 
in London.  In Eritrea she experienced no direct persecution; 
she was only prohibited from achieving her goal of running 
her own magazine.  She told Poloff her deep disappointment in 
the GSE's restrictive policies that prevent young Eritreans 
from achieving their full potential.  Her comments are not 
unique.  Many young Eritreans choose to flee the country in 
hopes of being something other than a soldier or a woefully 
underpaid teacher. 
8. (C) Those that are able to escape usually end up in 
refugee camps in Sudan, Kenya, South Africa, Libya, Egypt, or 
throughout Europe.  Once outside the country, the majority do 
not discuss politics.  Many of those that disagree with the 
GSE would rather bide their time silently in the refugee camp 
than risk being outspoken and having GSE forces harass or 
arrest family back in Eritrea. Once resettled, refugees often 
congregate in pre-existing Eritrean communities, such as in 
London, Stockholm, Washington, D.C., and Oakland, California. 

Posted at two locations:



No comments: