A Call for Action
The Action Group for Eritrea
Original Article http://www.youngpfdj.org/index.php
It has been reported that a draft resolution is being circulated among UN Security Council members calling for sanctions against Eritrea for allegedly supplying weapons to Somali insurgents fighting against the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in violation of a U.N. arms embargo.
The draft resolution which was drafted by Uganda calls for an arms embargo, freezing of assets and travel ban for members of the Eritrean government. The draft resolution calls for member states to be authorized to inspect cargos to and from Eritrea if they suspect the cargo.
We wholeheartedly and unequivocally reject the idea of sanctions against Eritrea and view it as unjust and irresponsible for the following reasons:
• The UN or any other country for that matter cannot be the accuser, the
judge and jury. To date, there has not been a single shred of evidence to link Eritrea with whatever/whichever party in Somalia by way of aiming to make the region unstable. The government of Eritrea has denied all charges levelled against it including weapons smuggling – thus far, the UN and AU have not been able to present any credible facts to prove otherwise.
• The accusation against Eritrea was based on an unfounded and
unsubstantiated report produced by the U.N. Arms Monitoring Group. The Group accused Eritrea of shipping arms and claimed that 2,000 Eritrean soldiers were fighting alongside the Somali Islamic Court Union (ICU), which turned out to be pure fabrication. No Eritrean was found dead or alive in Somalia following Ethiopia’s invasion of the country. A plane that was allegedly transporting weapons and fighters from Eritrea was later found crashed in Uganda while being used by Dyncorp, a contractor for the US military and Intelligence service.
• The UN Envoy for Somalia has admitted that despite the talks about
Eritrea supplying arms to Somalia, there is no hard evidence to link Eritrea with these accusations.
• Therefore, the call for sanctions against Eritrea rests on flawed
premise – not only are the UN and AU intent on unfairly meting out punishment but their action represents a travesty of justice.
• Sanctions on Eritrea will not solve the problem in Somalia and Eritrea
cannot be used as a scapegoat for the failure of others to bring about ‘peace’ in Somalia.
• Sanctions never work: realistically speaking, all evidence points to the
inefficacy of sanctions. What’s more, when imposed against countries, sanctions have always produced a result that does not match the desired outcome. History is rife with examples of countries that have been left destitute as a result of sanctions.
• What will sanctions mean to Eritreans? The consequences in human terms:
o Freezing Eritrea’s assets abroad will mean that our access to hard
currency will be curtailed and Eritrea will not be able to import essential goods that are necessary for our people and the nation’s survival;
o The impact of sanctions on the health of our country will be huge. Many
people who depend on medicine imports will be the first to suffer. The long term impact will mean that the health of our people will vastly deteriorate – our water quality will be affected (we will not be able to import water purification supplies) while shortage of spare parts for medical equipments such as X-rays and important lab machines will have monumental impact. Generally, Eritrea’s capacity to provide health care will be greatly diminished and all the gains that have been made in the fight against malaria, contagious diseases and other illnesses will be lost;
o Eritrea’s imports will be hurt badly. This will include medicines, all
kinds of food imports, much needed agricultural products such as fertilizers, pesticides, machinery spare parts, industrial spare parts, fuel, educational materials and etc;
o Food Security: All the efforts to ensure food security will be badly
affected. There will be even more shortages of basic food supplies while prices for basic foodstuffs will be even more expensive than they are now.
This will be coupled with low agricultural production which will make the situation even more dire;
o Eritrea’s economy will be so badly damaged because of lowered economic
activity, loss of trade partners, decline in export revenue, chronic unemployment and sharp decline in GDP and GNP per capita income;
o The country’s ability to defend itself and the interest of its people
from Ethiopia’s aggression will be severely curtailed. Any invasion could lead to a disaster in terms of displacement of citizens, loss of life and damage to infrastructure;
o A travel ban on government officials will result in a detrimental
diplomatic impact which will have short and long term consequences;
o The economic, social and political repercussions will set our country
years back and by the time sanctions had reached their final stage, everything that has been gained in Eritrea will have been completely lost;
o Ultimately, every single Eritrean will lose out – it will be our mothers
and fathers, young brothers and sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces, uncles and aunts – in short, every ordinary Eritrean will be the victim of the sanctions. Those who are trying to impose sanctions against Eritrea without any evidence at all are intent on plunging this young country into the Stone Age. If we allow this to happen, then we’ll all rue the day we couldn’t be bothered;
We, the Action Group for Eritrea, call upon all Eritreans and Friends of Eritrea to remain steadfast and oppose the draft resolution. We ask you to call for an end to the injustice and the co-ordinated attack against Eritrea by writing to your MP and other relevant bodies.