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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
     Previous   Next 
    by: mark from: Africa
    October 16, 2013 4:37 PM
    First of All, Yemane Gebreab and Isayas Afewerki do not represent us any more. They are half Ethiopians and should be deported there so that they can get life Imprisonment. We hate them so much as they are destroying our beloved country.

    This guys are sick and sick and they are making me sick to just read it. People are escaping Eritrean because of dictatorship and brutal government that we have in Asmara. I am sure the crime that is been done right today is much worse than what the Italians did to us in the beginning of this century.

    May God bless our country in this difficult times.

    by: mans from: Bahrain
    October 16, 2013 2:16 PM
    He's blaming the outside , UN & the arab I wish he's on his mind - difinatly eritean citicens living the luxury inside so who will leave the country they will shoot him because on whom they will spend the gold & diamond

    by: William from: Eritrea
    October 16, 2013 2:09 PM
    The evil armies are wasting their time on hired and corrupted Ngo, Humanitarian ploy actors, self interst companies backyard to torpedo the Eritrean independence and sell their Eritrean identify but the right army is busy building his nation and secure his existance as a proud dignified citizen, and there is a million ways he will succeed .

    by: Abraham from: Canada
    October 16, 2013 2:03 PM
    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!!!
    In Response

    by: fithi from: london
    October 16, 2013 2:39 PM
    Brother are you living in Eritrea. Why do you live in Canada? First you must go there to live.

    by: Thomas Negassi from: London
    October 16, 2013 12:23 PM
    The most annoying person in every thing he knows no one on earth will trust this man !!

    by: SAMUEL from: LONDON
    October 16, 2013 12:15 PM
    saying,human traffickers are to blame and a powerful force behind them.
    yes.no one expecting you to say "that was our fault, we need to fixed it"do you forget to say ,indefinite national service conscription drive them to leave the country ,unfortunately the Eritrean youth have no right ever to choose what they are going to for their future.you suffocated them, therefor they dicided to look their future outside their land. please stop deceiving the people.we used the way to get in EU countries.no one drove us to leave out country but you
    ,

    by: Imbaye Measho from: Nottingham
    October 16, 2013 12:02 PM
    I think they don't even now how to respect each other let alone to speak we this people let as show tham what we can do brother's and sister's may god bless eritera

    by: mr bee from: Canada
    October 16, 2013 7:53 AM
    He is blaming for outsiders. He doesn't have control his own country. Iraq is shame.

    by: eritreaplf from: dc
    October 16, 2013 7:14 AM
    The illegal sanctions must end, the illegal occupation of badme must end, and these arab human traffickers must be arrrsted for their crimes against humanity
    In Response

    by: fithi from: London
    October 16, 2013 2:45 PM
    I agree with you but it must stop the slavery in Eritrea. People work for nothing life is better when Mengstu was there for get about when we had Imperial HaileSellasie.
    You live in DC that is not part of Eritrea, eritreans are living in very bad condition.

    by: Thang cho Nguyen Tan Dung from: Kampucheakrom
    October 16, 2013 7:07 AM
    To crazy Yemane Gebreab, political advisor to Eritrea President Isaias Afewerki, you should learn that if you do not wish these people to be drowned in the vast ocean, you should give them better living conditions, better lives or else you should take necessary actions to prevent these people from living your own country. Furthermore, your country should have a rule of law or else shut up your mouth.
    Comments page of 3
     Previous   Next 

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora