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tv   Inside Story 2019 Ep 360  Al Jazeera  December 27, 2019 2:32pm-3:00pm +03

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opposition m.p.'s there protested over normally just freedom please intervene when process politicians try to prevent the vote to 2 people to attend but most will not go through any of peace successfully passed a law which requires religious communities to prevent a ship of properties before 1918 critics accuse the government of trying to take church possessions. and the cargo ship has crashed into stubbles harbor the liberian flag ship careered off calls while traveling down the bosphorus strait no one was hurt although close the waterway to deal with the incident all the stories as we said on our website at al-jazeera dot com more news in half an hour here on al-jazeera with kemal but next it's inside story to stay with us through.
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leaving air a trail for dollars go missing in uganda or in a carbon copy disappearance from earlier tournament fear human rights abuses and years of live free service blamed for the latest defections but is there action enough to expose our approach restricted regime this is inside story. hello and welcome to the show i am sam is a than well ever since independence from ethiopia 26 years ago eritrea is been ruled by president half what he dismisses rights groups alleging is regime is one of the world's most tightly controlled where opposition parties are banned and the judiciary isn't independent thousands of eritreans leave every year mainly to
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escape rights abuses as well as and force them lengthy military service and footballers to defecting while playing abroad for the 2nd time this year 7 went missing after their final game at a recent regional tournament in uganda's capital kampala 5 fled their hotel in uganda in the middle of a regional tournament in october in 201510 players refused to return home after a world cup qualifier in botswana 15 players and the team doctor disappeared in uganda in 2012 and were granted asylum a year later and in 2009 the entire team failed to return home from a tournament in kenya. anniston international says a turning point for human rights violations in eritrea was when the government campaign of repression started in 2001 amnesty says eritrea is dangerous for anyone showing political dissent or attempting to avoid national service government
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critics in exile say they're often harassed or threatened by the ruling party eritreans who stay often face indefinite detention for publicly criticizing the government journalists and human rights activists have often disappeared eritreans who get caught fleeing the country can be detained indefinitely thank you. let's bring in our guest to the show we have mapped bryden is a strategic advisor research a think tank which focuses on issues in the horn of africa he joins us by skype from nairobi in kenya daniel mckernan is director of the eritrean law society he's also a former judge in eritrea joins us from geneva in switzerland are well our low is senior lecturer in law or at kill university in england he joins us by skype to welcome to all of you start if we can with our will so why do we keep seeing in
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particular eritrean sports players disappearing. well i think the the. context. of human rights violations. being. consistent reports. going to the united nations. inconsistent. or. condition. that people are trying to avoid. in the country which is kind of my point since they have a relatively better life why do we keep seeing them going missing match what's your take on this. i think it's probably. explained in 2 ways one is there
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if the numbers we see of footballers are relatively small if you take into account the overall numbers of people who continue to flee eritrea. the most recent figures i've seen from october this year suggest that as many as $300.00 refugees cross the border to ethiopia every day although those numbers fluctuates month by month so it's a massive exodus that's been going on for years and footballers represent just a microcosm but i also think it's because footballers and other. you know athletes are among the few very privileged groups who are able to travel outside eritrea get the get exit visas and passports and are free to visit other countries and of course many take the opportunity not to return to what could be
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a life of indefinite national service. or other types of repression as your introduction and the previous guest have described now let's let's bring in if we can daniel how is the human rights situation in the can the situation with inscription to the military how is all of that evolved since the peace deal lost in 2018 last year with ethiopia. well as far as the internal political dynamics of the trio is concerned nothing has changed even after the ratification of the new peace and friendship agreement we see here pia of course there was a high level of expectation on the part of many eritreans that the government would change course that the government would start. some sort of political transition by
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releasing political prisoners by implementing the 997 urgent can institution. and also by restoring the the defunct the now defunct traditional parliament of eritrea and so forth and so forth but nothing of this time. taken place thus far since july 2018 it's been it's been exactly 18 months since the ratification of the the new peace and friendship argument but unfortunately very solidly the political situation remains business as usual and that's why or we see this latest developments of footballers escaping in large numbers like what has been the case before or the last 15 to 20 years so nothing has changed really in spite of the high level of expectation on the part of the general population in eritrea not only are we not seeing people being released but our wall we saw last
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year even a former minister minister of finance arrested. that was after the peace deal with ethiopia side is that a sign that perhaps the regime is feeling more vulnerable. and . on the internet. the justification for maintaining that. many. of the 80. most people. huge neighboring countries.
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and people. just. saying people. in. the. border.
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or at the border. why that peace deal. more does might as well expected and also that it explains that. the missions were not ability matts when it come with time is there any indication that the relaxation shall we say of the relationship with ethiopia alito relaxation of some of the tense security measures in place domestically. well i have to agree with all that we don't see any any sign of that so far and i would go a step further and would. in some ways it seems like every trace of leadership has been in bold and by the peace deal sanctions have been lifted the isolation
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under which the eritrean leadership has lived under so many years has started to fall. assayas after work he has been trying to rehabilitate his image and to become a a statesman or an elder statesman even in the horn of africa region. fostering not just peace deal with ethiopia but a 3 way alliance with the government that issue and yet as as we've heard nothing has has changed back in eritrea i believe there were there was not let me jump in though that's an interesting point do you think the international community is willfully turned a blind eye to the repression in eritrea lifting sanctions handing out nobel peace prizes while people remain locked up in jails for in some cases decades.
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i think that's very much the case and much of the commentary surrounding the awarded the nobel peace prize to prime minister abbey adamant of ethiopia was that by his should be seen as a sign of a courage and an aspiration not a recognition of achievements that have been realized on the ground and i think there were reasons as well that presidents assayas didn't share in that nobel prize because he certainly wasn't the one who took the initiative to leave the peace deal but the international community seems to be looking for a good news story at the fact that eritrea still has a border dispute with djibouti which was one of the reasons for sanctions is still . failing to provide any information on djibouti and as soldiers who are missing in action or possibly prisoners of war another justification for sanctions all of that has been set aside in the hopes that somehow some positive momentum going to be
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built hine these developments but i don't see any sign of real change in the near future let me go back to why are we seeing the international community turning that blind eye will. i think the. particularly. over the course of. the. people. or people.
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in the country with. you know the. people have been forcibly dissipated and exact. times will be. consistent to reports. that i think. 1 we should move forward. with what. we. will be bringing.
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you were. of repression. well i have been many years since i left the country but at some point i can tell you that the with a certain degree of. independence of the judiciary enjoyed even in trying to protect fundamental rights and freedoms i'm now talking in terms of the pre 2001 political crisis so everything changed after 2001 when the government shut down the private newspapers of the day and when it decided to imprison the so-called group of a group of 15 or the age of 15. who are who are high ranking government officials of the day who initiated the reform movement criticizing the president of
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the country so everything has changed since then but even when i say there was a certain degree of independence enjoyed by the judicial branch it doesn't mean that the judiciary was in the truly free and independent in the ribs and of the term as we see in other experiences but definitely in relative terms i can say there were some space so things have changed completely since 2001 and what we see now is a complete breakdown of the rule of law as has been sufficiently reported now by the 2 major reports of the united nations commission of inquiry on human rights violations in eritrea and of course the follow up reports as well by the un special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in eritrea including the report of the special rapporteur from last year from june 2018 perhaps i can also clarify one of the questions you asked previously as to how many. people have
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been victimized by the government's widespread practice of human rights violations in particular the crime of in force or disappearance and i can tell you. the numbers are estimated in tens of thousands there are credible reports previously published by human rights watch amnesty international and other rights groups and even according to my own research findings since 2001 including 2 previous reports that were published by the office of the attorney general in iraq trap the numbers of people who have been weakened victimized by the specific crime of inforce or disappearance is to mate a way beyond 10000 saw this numbers are very high for a small country like or a trio it is or which has a population of plus minus $5000000.00 people so it's a very very problematic situation and this needs to come to an end and.
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that's that's the fundamental question we need to address and we should point out that this show did extend an invitation to eritrea authorities for them to sense i want to join us for their perspective on this unfortunate we didn't get someone's participation from officials let me present perhaps the other side is the of the argument in terms of the government's achievements and that the government would probably argue well it's made quite significant developmental progress reducing mortality rates improving food security agricultural production improvements in infrastructure development and so on and so forth is life economically getting better fairer trains even if politically it's it's looking bleak. well i haven't been able to visit the country for several years so i couldn't tell you 1st and but i think the government can't have it both ways on the one hand it makes
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a great deal of propaganda and media mileage out of developmental projects which receive a lot of attention whether or not they actually contribute to the overall that's in and of the eritrean people i think is is questionable in terms of the eritrean economy's growth or improvements as far as i'm aware we've seen no signs of that at the same time that the government has been proclaiming these advances it has been decrying but devastating in fact effective sanctions on the people of eritrea and i think it's really important to understand that the sanctions regime regime on eritrea had only 2 parts one was an arms embargo which prevented the country from importing or exporting weapons and the other was a prohibition on air transport or to foreign armed groups around the horn of africa region so there were no economic sanctions on earth trail there was
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a symbolic isolation the country because the u.n. imposed this sanctions regime but no eritrean official or institution was ever subjected to assets freeze travel ban or the other measures that the u.n. could have them posed so i think it's been a really a self-serving narrative that the the eritrean leadership is used to justify. tremendous economic and political mismanagement oh i know from my own work on eritrea the area transept commercial bank and central bank for many years have no foreign exchange reserves these were held in banks that belong to the ruling party they were held in correspondence of banks abroad but basically what you have is a situation. where the ruling party has superceded the institutions of government and is is effectively run by and full of people and as long as these conditions
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persist i really don't see any hope for major development director nomic progress on the part of eritrea as a country our wall eritrea is one of the world's largest producers of refugees when you take the numbers as a percentage of the total population many of those people are the youth. what sort of told us that take on the country's economics its future and the very brains of the country are draining away some would say. so when you look. at the base and. you know. in this. economic.
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question. for. people. a significant economic and. in the country but i think. context. specific institutions. that. i think.
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you know. any tours in more. functions to people of this is. important. but also. important also to keep in mind what we're able to have a discussion like this but our. yes or all outside of eritrea. daniel just give us an idea of what sort of reach the state has on critics outside of the country and what you know what sort of harassment people perhaps even like yourself may face for speaking out against the eritrean regime. historically the government comes from you know the legacy of. a
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liberation movement there are 3 people of liberation front which was how had widespread support throughout the eritrean the aspirant communities and as we all know eritrea as a country also has a long history of force and migration at least dating back to the $960.00 s. because of the prolong of conflict armed conflict was against ethiopia basically the the war of liberation and and also after the independence of the country in particular since 1998. the problem of course of migration has continued persistently and all because of all these factors there is a very large contingent of jasper our communities throughout the world and their interim government has effectively controlled the activities the way of
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mobilization an organization of this the output of communities including by infiltrate things through the activities of these communities via its a diplomatic channels and so close and it has a very strong presence for our the editor and just for our communities and this includes unfortunately has been recently rip reported by amnesty international in june 2009. the price includes harassment prosecution of activists basij in exile. yes and it's happened it's happening as we speak and now it has happened for many years and all of those this is are as i was going on of our lives. in all legal ways all right we'll have to leave it there let's thank our guests very much for coming to the show our wall matt and daniel and thank you for watching too you can see the show again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com for the discuss. head over to our facebook page facebook dot com forward slash a.j.
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inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter and the. inside story. on the whole to you kiran.
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come all santa maria with a look at the headlines here on al-jazeera an ally now has crashed on takeoff in kazakhstan killing 12 people and injuring dozens of others on board the back jet came down there are many airport smashing through a wall before hitting a house rescuers have worked in freezing temperatures to reach the survivors this report from the next year by. emergency crews calmed the wreckage of the airliner torn in half the main body of the baking it barely recognizable its ria resting in a field the flight had just taken off from the airport bound for the capital no so tom.

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