Through the agency of its Director, ELS participated in a panel discussion, hosted at the Swiss Parliament in the evening hours of 27 November 2018. Under the leadership of Swiss Member of Parliament, Mr. Cédric Wermuth, the panel discussion was organised by members of the Commission for Migration and Integration of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland. The panel discussion focused on the plight of Eritrean refugees in Switzerland, who are subject to “temporary admission,” as well as on latest political developments in Eritrea.
At the event, the Director of ELS, Dr. Daniel Mekonnen, gave a speech titled “The New Peace Process between Eritrea and Ethiopia: What Does It Mean for the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea?”
In his speech, Dr. Mekonnen highlighted some positive aspects of the new peace process, spearheaded by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia (Abiy Ahmed), emphasising on its potential to usher a lasting stability in the Horn of Africa. He also pointed out as a major shortcoming the conspicuous lack of structural political reform on the part of Eritrea, noting that this can threaten both the sustainability of the newly launched peace process as well as the urgent need to resolve the deeply seated crisis of human rights in Eritrea. Dr. Mekonnen concluded his speech by reminding the audience that: in order to preserve the potential dividends of the new peace process, there is a need to look for innovative diplomatic intervention, including concerted international pressure, that shall make it possible to open-up a wider political space in Eritrea.
Joining the panel discussion at the Swiss Parliament were two other speakers: Ms. Esther Maurer, Deputy Director of the Asylum Division at the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration, and Ms. Daniela Schneider, Deputy Director of the Section on Sub-Saharan Africa at the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs.