Despite the peace deal signed with Ethiopia, repression and military service in Eritrea continue to force Eritreans to flee their homes to seek safe haven in neighbouring countries or in the West. The migration route taken by Eritrean refugees to reach the European coasts remains volatile and dangerous. In Libya, thousands of Eritreans are in the hands of human traffickers who exploit, mistreat and illegally detain them.
While the international community is missing in action to immediately evacuate them from this conflict zone and provide protection, the discontent connected to the movement of people grows in many European countries.
In Switzerland, this discontent has recently been materialized with the tightening of the asylum policies towards Eritreans, which is the harshest in Europe. Indeed, Switzerland is the only country to demand that Eritrean asylum seekers to return to Eritrea despite (1) the risk of persecution upon their arrival and (2) the absence of a readmission agreement between Switzerland and Eritrea.
IFE observes a serious degradation of the mental health of many young Eritrean women and men in Switzerland who often talk about suicide.
The psychological and physical violence that Eritrean young women and men are subject to is immeasurable. IFE will continue to stand for the respect of their basic human rights and will continue to promote a better understanding of the challenges.
As we reflect on 2019, we extend our gratitude to our dynamic team and our partners who supported us throughout this year in amplifying the voices of Eritrean refugees.
Thank you for joining us to promote respect of human rights.
Co-founder and Co-director