We are appealing to the UN and the EU humanitarian agencies to help African refugees

Sunday, October 18, 2011.

The situation of the sub-Saharan refugees is becoming increasingly desperate: in Sudan, Egypt, Libya and all the other countries they are forced to take refuge in, in the hope of later reaching a country where they can apply for international protection or political asylum. The United Nations are playing an important role, particularly when it comes to setting up refugee camps. However, much more needs to be done and the interventions are not effective enough against these serious humanitarian tragedies. What is more, the UN and the EU institutions are not working alongside human rights defenders – except in rare cases – but rather with charities and humanitarian associations closely linked to governments, or too large to take completely independent and courageous steps. For years EveryOne Group has been appealing to the UN and the EU to set up a network of associations that could save lives and address the major challenges of civilization. We are not giving up. Here are the most recent appeals we have sent – alongside other humanitarian organizations – to the UN High Commissioners, the European Commissioner for Human Rights and other international humanitarian organizations. We are talking about serious cases, but where it is possible to avoid injustice and the killing of innocent people. We have also provided international authorities with the full names, mobile phone numbers and geographical references of both victims and perpetrators. We know that in some cases the High Commissioners and the European Commissioner are taking action to save the people reported by us. In other cases, unfortunately, nothing has not been done to prevent injustice and unfair treatment. However, we have great confidence in Mr. Guterres,  Mrs. Pillay, and Mr. Hammarberg. We are appealing to them to make a further effort to emerge from this bleak period together, where the lives of refugees, the marginalized and the poor seem of little importance.

EveryOne Group

Here is a summary of the most recent cases we have sent in the form of urgent appeals to the High Commissioners, the EU Commissioner for Human Rights and other international and national organizations.

Urgent Action – The fate of Eritreans who were deported from Sudan

Saturday, October 15, 2011.
Someone has just sent me a message from Eritrea saying… “When Sudan deported more than 50 Eritreans back to Eritrea, the bus they used was involved in an accident. 25 people died, the rest are severely injured and are now being treated in Adi Abyoto prison camp.”

We have to do something about Sudan, how many more people have to die before  the Sudanese government decides to take responsibility?

On another note, I spoke to four Eritrean refugees who have just arrived in Sweden from Djibouti. I could not believe the stories they told me. There are over 300 Eritrean refugees being held in Djibouti. The Djibouti government is worried that they might be Eritrean spies, and instead of treating them as refugees, they have thrown all the refugees in prison, among serious criminals. They all told me that they are allowed no contact with the outside world; they are not allowed to talk over the phone or to write letters to anyone. They have no idea what is happening outside the prison. Many are mentally instable and have never received any medical treatment. For years most of their families believed they were dead, yet after being imprisoned for over three years Sweden has accepted only 4 refugees. Seven of them are about to be resettled to another country. God knows how long the others will have to remain in prison.

Meron Estefanos, Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights
Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau, Glenys Robinson – EveryOne Group

Urgent Action – Libya: re-open detention centres for refugees

Saturday, October 15th, 2011.
Numerous Eritrean and Somali refugees are being held prisoner in a detention centre in Kufrah, Libya, close to the airport. The group is comprised of about 100 people,  90 Eritreans and 10 Somalis. The police have asked the prisoners to pay
$500 U.S. dollars each for their release. We do not know what the situation is at the present moment.  Initially this number was due to be released and escorted to Tripoli, but now only those who have paid are being released from detention. Many Somalis have already paid and have been released, but many more have nothing, and have to survive on a loaf of bread and a glass of water given to them by the police each evening, often accompanied by abuse and insults.
We are calling on all EU states that have diplomatic representation in Libya to intervene with the transitional government to demand a respect for the rights of these people, and ensure they are handed over to UNHCR facilities.

Mussie Zerai – Habeshia
Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau, Glenys Robinson – EveryOne Group

Urgent Action – Deportation of Eritrean Refugees from Egypt

Saturday, October 15th, 2011.
A silent deportation of dozens of Eritrean refugees from Egypt to their country of origin is underway. Many of these deportations are disguised as a voluntary return to their homeland. Many detainees have been forced to sign after the continuous abuse and deprivation of food and medical care – others claim they were tricked. The fact is, that rather than die in Egyptian police stations or barracks, many out of despair are choosing to return to their homeland even if they face the same risks there. In recent years many Eritrean refugees have found asylum in Ethiopia, but it seems that lately the Ethiopian Embassy in Cairo has turned down all asylum applications from  Eritreans. This means that many Eritrean refugees – frightened by the possibility of prolonged detention in Egyptian police stations or barracks in degrading conditions, exposed to health risks, and at the mercy of suffering and hardship – have signed forms to return home. The UNHCR is unable to do much about it due to the Egyptian authorities denying them access to the detention facilities. This leads to the denial of asylum for these people in Egypt. Egypt, as a signatory of the Geneva Convention, should respect the right of asylum for these people, but for years it has preferred to hand them back to their persecutors. Already dozens of Eritrean refugees have been deported home in recent weeks, all in the disguise of repatriation. However, it is a forced repatriation, caused by the conditions of prolonged detention, ill-treatment, the lack of food, poor sanitary conditions, degrading treatment, and even the risk of losing their lives, as can be seen from the presence of mass graves where they have buried dozens of displaced Eritreans, Ethiopians and people of other nationalities.
We are appealing to the UN and the EU to do everything in their power to demand a respect for the rights of asylum by the transitional government of Egypt, and legal permission to access UNHCR staff in detention facilities who are assisting refugees being detained these places.

Mussie Zerai – Habeshia
Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau, Glenys Robinson – EveryOne Group

Urgent Action Needed – Sudanese Refugees in Northern Sinai

Sunday, October 16, 2011.
The Sudanese detainees are being held in the Romana Police Station (Bi’r Rumana, North Mediterranean coast, Sinai, Egypt). Their living conditions are intolerable, medicines are insufficient, they are being subjected to ill-treatment and their future is uncertain.

(We have sent a list of the names of 14 Sudanese refugees to the international authorities).

(List of 14 Sudanese refugees)

New Generation Foundation for Human Rights – EveryOne Group

Urgent Action – Eritrean Prisoners in Egypt Risk Deportation

Sunday, October 16, 2011.
Just heard that every Eritrean-registered prisoner in Hurghada, Aswan and other prisons have had their mobile phones taken from them and are being transported to Cairo today for deportation to Eritrea. They successfully deported one Eritrean female prisoner last Friday.

D.H. – EveryOne Group

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