One of the United Nations’ top human rights experts says Switzerland had no good reason to crack down on Eritreans.
François Crépeau, a Canadian lawyer who serves as the UN’s special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, lashed out at Switzerland’s recent decision to tighten its asylum policy towards Eritreans in an interview with two Swiss newspapers on Friday.
On February 2, the Federal Administrative Court said Switzerland would no longer recognise Eritreans as refugees solely on grounds of having fled their country illegally. Until last summer, leaving Eritrea illegally was considered a legitimate reason for asylum, since whoever did so faced up to five years in prison in Eritrea.
Deaths recorded in slow winter months and International Organization for Migration fears toll will rise in warmer weather.
By Tom Miles
GENEVA, Feb 10 (Reuters) - More than 400 migrant deaths have been recorded so far in 2017, including on the Mediterranean crossings to Europe from North Africa and the route into the United States from Mexico, the International Organization for Migration said on Friday.
“When prison became a synonym for Eritrea…you can only flee.”
In Eritrea, even being part of the East African nation’s tame state media is no protection. That was the conclusion Abraham Zere reached after years of working as a columnist for the government newspaper Hadas Erta and later for the ruling party’s magazine.
All independent media outlets in the country of 6 million were closed in 2001 amid a massive crackdown on internal dissent following the country’s disastrous two-year border-war with Ethiopia. More than a dozen prominent journalists were jailed – and to this day it’s not known how many are still alive.