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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

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 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs