AFRICA MONITORS- REPORT ETHIOPIA
All the data below, is gathered informally through observation during coffee ceremonies, pool games and going to places where these refugees frequent, like internet cafes and bars. This is for the security of the monitor who has gathered the datas and the refugees’ apparent ease. The monitor wanted to interview some subjects more than once, since the culture of fear installed amongst Eritreans still not only lingers but is present in totality none of the subjects were willing. They prefer to talk to an outsider rather than to a fellow Eritrean refugee. This is the outcome of years of living in fear, which culminated into looking at one another with suspect even if they are thousands of kilometers away from imminent danger. The very core of trust is shattered when the circle doesn’t go around it. This circle makes exceptions when it is family and closest friends.
The second reason is that almost eighty percent of the refugees are uneducated, their world view is very elementary and have little to say about political, social, economic and humanitarian aspect of their country. Most of them have little or nada knowledge of present situation of their country or about the gross human rights violations both inside and outside Eritrea.The refugees’ notion of themselves as displaced humans depend on their financial stability. And depending upon their financial stability the Monitor has categorized the refugees in three groups:
These refugees are financially able, have a legal process for resettlement and no qualms whatsoever with present or past transgressions and violations acted upon their fellow countrymen or themselves. They are mostly from the peripheries of the country and have no clue of any human rights violations. These groups mostly are married women with children and underage boys and girls. In this group some have waited as long as nine years for resettlement programs.
In this group, the refugees are financially well supported by families from abroad but may not have a legal process. These young men and women are in their late teenage years or early twenties. When they left their country they believed all their problems would be solved but find out that integration is the least of their challenges.
The refugees are not financially secure and safe, and comprises all single young men and women who live in groups or in couples. With no sense of individuality, they are easily influenced by rumors of friends reaching the coasts of Europe. Be it for better or worse they are easily affected by peer thought. It is from this group mostly who become victims of human traffickers and their associates.
There are exceptions, Eritreans deported from Ethiopia from 1998 to 2000 who never felt at home in Eritrea or integrated completely and came back to Ethiopia illegally by hiring smugglers. These refugees are by far more settled here than the rest who use Ethiopia as a transit country. It is a matter of belonging rather than just a language barrier. Language can facilitate the day to day movement or interaction but can never smoothen or break the ice of detachment from the smallest of things of waking up early in the morning to the largest picture of settling down.
The reception of refugees is overall good by the host communities. With the exception of some areas where the refugees live in numbers, the citizens’ empathy towards these refugees is exceptional. In these exclusive areas, the refugees lack respect for the local way of life and ethics of the people. Where as in other areas the perception and response of the locals are encouraging.
The subjects the Monitor chose for observation are either uninformed or lack interest in being informed regarding Eritrean human rights violations. They prefer to give deaf ear when matters of national interest arise or wellbeing of all Eritreans are brought forth. Their contribution with regard to these matters is awfully little and very much limited. On matters of social issues and familial matters though they participate with vigor and conviction. This preference is an indication that these refugees want to live in peace and away from all political hustle.