Nine Eritreans plead for asylum

Nine Eritreans have fled their country for Yemen, in the hopes of receiving asylum, said the Alkarama Association for Human Rights, based in Geneva. They are begging President Ali Abdullah Saleh to grant them refugee status. The nine Eritreans arrived in Yemen on July, 17, running away from their government. “They have been rejected by Saudi Arabia, and then they turned to Yemen,” said Abdul-Wahab al-Humaiqani, the head of Alkarama in Yemen.

The runaways were forced to join the Eritrean military to fight against Ethiopia. “If they go back to Eritrea, definitely, they will be executed,” said al-Humaiqani. They have reported to Alkarama the violations to their rights. “Some of them are denied retirement when they finished their service in the military,” according to a statement by the Alkarama Association. They are also forced to join the military forces and to fight in the crazy wars their government goes through against all the neighboring countries, according to Alkarama.

The Eritreans have also been exposed to humiliation, obvious discrimination, and treated like slaves by the highly officers in the army, said the group. Their families suffer too from their position in the army due to their inability to provide them with the basic needs. The Alkarama Association urged the president to first free them from the prison in which they are detained, then to recognize them as refugees, according to what it calls Yemen’s noble standards and also as a right given by the International Convention of Refugees in 1951 that Yemen ratified in 1980. “Even now, the Association in Geneva has not received any response to its pleading letter,” said al-Humaiqani.

The Eritreans were imprisoned first by the political security, and then transferred to the Immigration, Passports and Nationality Authority, and now they are in a holding cell in Bab al-Yemen, said al-Huamiqani. The political security denied that they have imprisoned anyone, said a political security resource. The Immigration, Passports, and Nationality authority said that they put them in a temporarily suspension until their status cleared.
“For us, they are identified as illegal immigrants, as they have not been granted refuge,” said Fakhar al-Deen Hussain, the head of the public relation in the authority.

“They are treated well, but this is the law in all over the world.” Alkarama has sent other letters—to the United Nations, Minister of Interior, Minster of Human Rights, and the General Prosecutor. The Yemen journalists tried to get comment from the Eritrean embassy, but the embassy was closed and no one was available to speak by press deadline. “I hope that the government will give them the refuge,” said al-Humaiqani, “they will be executed and this is enough motive to seek refuge.”