On 26 and 27 June 2017, the Eritrean Law Society (ELS) joined hands in a newly launched initiative of likeminded civil society organisations (CSOs), which are collectively involved in the implementation of a lobbying strategy focusing mainly on the EU.
Accordingly, a series of in-depth consultations were conducted with some major role players of the European Union (EU) in Brussels, which included: members of the European Parliament representing various political parties from Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Portugal, and the UK, including members of European Parliament sub-committee on human rights and sub-committee on development cooperation; representatives of the European Commission, in particular officials from Europe External Action Service (EEAS) and the Directorate-General for International Development and Cooperation (DG DEVCO). Separate consultations were also conducted with some Brussels-based NGOs.
The consultations focused mainly on the following issues: 1) the need to promote tangible accountability mechanisms for the on-going situation of crimes against humanity in Eritrea as sufficiently documented by the UN commission of inquiry (COI) on human rights in Eritrea; 2) the need ensure adequate legal protection to newly arriving Eritrean asylum seekers in Europe; 3) the need to recognise Eritrean diaspora grassroots movements as key players not only in the on-going fight of ending impunity in Eritrea but also in the forthcoming and inevitable transition of the country to a democratic system of governance. The need to meaningfully empower and support diaspora actors was also emphasised in all of the various consultations.
The on-going joint initiative is coordinated by the Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR), Europe External Policy Advisors (EEPA), Förderverein Pro Asyl e.V., Connection e.V., War Resisters’ International, and the Eritrean Law Society (ELS). ELS is represented in this initiative by its Executive Director (Dr. Daniel Mekonnen).
The Brussels consultations will be followed-up by similar other activities at different levels and with different actors.
Media coverage by Radio France International
about the Brussels consultations is available here: https://goo.gl/AFcNMj