News / Africa

Lampedusa Boat Tragedy a Crime Against Eritrea, Says Official

Yemane Gebreab, political advisor to Eritrea President Isaias Afewerki
Yemane Gebreab, political advisor to Eritrea President Isaias Afewerki
Peter Clottey
An adviser to Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki says human traffickers are to blame for the recent boat tragedy that left over 300 African migrants dead off Italy’s coast.

Authorities say about 155 survived the accident which occurred about half a mile off the Sicilian island of Lampedusa.

Presidential adviser Yemane Ghebreab called the incident “a crime against Eritreans, especially Eritrean youth.”

“This is the work of human traffickers who benefit from this, and there are powerful forces behind them,” said Ghebreab. “It’s an ongoing war which is being waged against Eritrea as part of the sanctions that have been imposed on [us]. It’s part of the continued illegal occupation of Eritrean territory.  We look into the root causes and what lies behind this tragedy.”

Ghebreab’s comments came after the government in Asmara welcomed the idea of bringing the victims home, an idea that emerged from a meeting between the Italian ambassador to Eritrea and his counterpart in Asmara.

“As far as the burial of Eritreans who are victims of this crime are concerned, Eritrea will like to see them buried at home. This is not just the wish of the Eritrean government, it is also the wish of the families of the victims, so we are working on that,” said Ghebreab.

Critics say official government pronouncements prove the administration is using the boat tragedy as a propaganda tool against its critics. Ghebreab disagreed.

“There is a whole network of human traffickers, of criminals,  who have the support of officials in a number of countries and agencies of organizations which are part of this,” said Ghebreab. “No attempt is made [by the media] to look at what is really behind what is happening. This is not the first incident, and unless this war is stopped, unless the criminals who do this and organize this are brought to justice, there will be many victims.”

Observers say the decision by young people to go abroad is due to the failure of the government to create jobs for them. They said Asmara is wrong to accuse alleged enemies rather than creating work.

But, Ghebreab disagreed, saying the government has implemented measures to meet the UN’s efforts to improve living standards and alleviating poverty.  This, he says, in spite of sanctions imposed on the country.

“Eritrea has made huge strides over the past two decades. We are on track in meeting most of the UN Millennium Development Goals.  The Eritrean government takes care of its youth and creates opportunities for them,” said Ghebreab. “It’s just not Eritreans, its Africans in general that are trying to migrate to Europe and other places.”

Ghebreab blames external forces for luring young people to leave home. 

“For Eritrea, the defining reason for this is that Eritreans are given preferential treatment and are treated not as economic migrants, but as political asylum seekers.  This is a deliberate policy that has been well documented,” said Ghebreab.
Clottey interview with Yemane Ghebreab, presidential adviser
Clottey interview with Yemane Ghebreab, presidential adviseri
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
    Next 
by: Abraham from: Usa
November 03, 2013 1:30 AM
Eriterians will suffer more and more catastrophic deaths because the don't know why they fought for thirty years and they have no idea the identity of their government and they will face war after the fall of tplf or wayane!!


by: Anonymous
October 19, 2013 1:57 PM
Pray for Selma in eritrean !


by: abraham from: usa
October 18, 2013 11:12 AM
God bless the lives lost at sea, but we eritreans need to stand for what is ours. we cant have monkey and dictator any more, they are half tigrayians, not eritreans. and are destroying our country. WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! ERITREANS, they shouldnt be blaming smuglers they should be blaming theirself. with indefinite military service,and it's not really military service it's slavery. they have to build house and pave road etc.. they dont even get paid. they cannot live their own live. they cant go to college, get a job, and support their families. that's why they leave. i sense a civil war in eritrea soon. our unity and peace will be destroyed forever. And for all of you dictator supporters go live in eritrea and suffer like our people do. get a taste of our reality.


by: Berhan Gedem from: Minnesota U.S.A.
October 18, 2013 11:05 AM
First all Yemanea Gebreab is not adviser or division maker his puppet and loud speaker of this brutal dictator of ESsayas.Esayas the only person made decision.The phenomen what we see in Eritrea today personally I was predict and said before independent Eritrea because from experience in armed struggle.the only solution ifor all this problem the Eritrean people mast be united to get ride of this evil cruel dictator and replace democratic institution and government


by: Observer from: Here
October 17, 2013 11:18 PM
I am Eritrean and I think this guy is on drugs. Wow. He is blaming human traffickers. Wake up Eritreans. Time to get a new administration.

In Response

by: mohammed from: asmara
October 18, 2013 5:01 AM
WE SHOULD STAND FOR THIS


by: FRE WEYANE from: TIGRAY
October 17, 2013 1:35 PM
ERITREANS SORRY FOR THE ONCE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE SEA BUT BE SURE YOU WILL FAIL AS A STATE ONCE FOR ALL UNLESS YOU STOP BLAMING OTHERS FOR YOUR FAILURE


by: Freqalsi Warsai from: Oakland,ca
October 17, 2013 11:42 AM
Eritrea never Neal down. It always strives while other are thinking otherwise. We have always proved the world super powers Worong and we will do it again and again untile one day, they understand Eritreans do not give up easily and they would sacrifice over and over untile they reach their destiny. Awet Nihafash and Zelalemawi Zikri Nisematat Eritrea!!

In Response

by: Rahel from: Washington Dc
October 18, 2013 10:32 AM
Are you kidding me, our people are dying becouse of sheytan DIA and his followers, I myself paid the Eritrean government 20.000 to let me out of my beloved country, so go to sawa and see what is going on there, haseweti kemakum abzi kof elkum tetakeuu teseseuu while your people are dying. you will pay for it very soon ashashu.

In Response

by: Anonymous
October 17, 2013 12:27 PM
Why don't you go back and live in Eritrea??? What are you doing in California?


by: Aguma Bera from: Atlanta Georgia
October 17, 2013 9:01 AM
Dear Mr G/Ab I'm total agree with ur political reality.There id no sought that the puppet wayane and the western are all behind this tragedy ,However eritrean national must stand together to overcome the enemy dream to fall.Long life H.E.Afewerki and eritrean ppl.


by: Mengis from: Londin
October 16, 2013 7:27 PM
Great talk to VOA Mr yemane .Let's camel march & the dogs bark .Eritrean people Are aware Weyane boot lickers.Truth hurt Continue doing your job, do not bestow down to the West. We Eritreans agree with this struggle and will continue to support our people in times of adversity. The opposition are fuelled by the west and the people writing here have no sense of reality. Do not become economic slaves to the west, fight for our true civil freedom, continue doing your work Awet n'Hafash!!!


by: Mohamed from: London
October 16, 2013 6:46 PM
It's really a very simple equation, if people didn't have a reason to leave they wouldn't. Eritrea is one of, if not the, poorest countries in the world. Ofcourse people are going to flee. Endless military service, a closed economy, no educational opportunities and the endless threat of war. No one wants to live in a place like that. Eritrean government should accept responsibility for the deaths, they are the ones providing people smugglers etc with a market.

In Response

by: Hamza from: Sweden
October 17, 2013 12:23 AM
I agree with you Mohamed. Military officers in Eritrea are highly involved in this market. The agames and thier eviel mind is fully determined To do what they Can do even more To harm our people. The eritrean gov. Tries To play as à victom of foraigen powers but they are worst abuser of thier people.

Comments page of 3
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid