Ethiopia-Eritrea: Eritrea Calls for release of its Citizens, 4/1/99

Ethiopia-Eritrea: Eritrea Calls for release of its Citizens, 4/1/99

ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: Eritrea calls for release of its citizens

NAIROBI, 1 April (IRIN) - The Eritrean government has called on international organisations working in Ethiopia and Eritrea to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to release over 1000 Eritreans who have reportedly disappeared from the capital Addis Ababa and other towns "without trace".

"We have found out this through hard work and our sources," the Eritrean embassy spokesman in Nairobi, Kidane Woldeyesus, told IRIN on Thursday. "We have the names of all these people. The figures are not forged and neither are the accusations false."

Ethiopia last week accused Eritrea of dumping 2,500 of its nationals at the border town of Humera, which it described as "a precarious area during this time of war". It said the victims had no access to basic needs such as food and shelter.

"Eritrea's failure to notify ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] was a deliberate attempt to cause increased suffering to the deported Ethiopians, who arrived in their homeland," an Ethiopian government press release said.

For its part, ICRC has deplored the public use of its information "for propaganda purposes", according to a recent press release issued by the organisation. It said it was reacting to an Eritrean foreign ministry statement on 18 March regarding an Eritrean citizen interned at a camp at Bilate, Ethiopia, who had been subjected to "physical and mental torture" which contributed to his death.

ICRC said that in its capacity as a neutral and impartial intermediary, it had notified the Eritrean authorities of the man's death. "This is not the first time in the context of the border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia that ICRC has been used publicly to denounce violations of international humanitarian law allegedly committed by one or the other," the press release said. Such a practice "can only jeopardise a purely humanitarian operation", it added.


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 15:42:47 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Ethiopia-Eritrea: Eritrea calls for release of its citizens

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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