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Eritrean refugees: the pawns of European interests

Flüchtlinge aus Eritrea: Spielball europäischer Interessen
[Arbeitspapier]

Hirt, Nicole

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Körperschaftlicher Herausgeber GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies - Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien, Institut für Afrika-Studien
Abstract During the past decade, hundreds of thousands of Eritreans have fled to neighbouring countries to evade the state-prescribed forced labour of the indefinite national service. Now the EU is attempting to keep these people away from Europe by providing significant funding to the Eritrean and Sudanese regimes. The plans developed to date are not working towards an improvement in the living conditions of those affected, but rather towards increased repression. Since the implementation of the indefinite national service in 2002, hundreds of thousands of working-age Eritreans have been performing military and civil services for the state, for minimal pay. This system of organised forced labour has led to massive human flight and the development of organised human smuggling. Since 2014, tens of thousands of Eritreans have managed to reach Europe via Libya. The majority of those who have fled, however, live in neighbouring Ethiopia and Sudan, often in precarious conditions. They live in fear of falling prey to human-trafficking gangs or being deported back to their home country, where they face imprisonment without trial because their flight is vie wed as treason. Through the Khartoum Process, the EU is attempting to stem the flow of refugees to Europe. As part of this process, the Sudanese military and police forces are to be given support to capture and intern refugees. At the same time, the EU has resumed development cooperation with Eritrea and has pledged EUR 200 million for the expansion of the energy sector and to support improved governance. This assistance is not tied to conditions. Policy Implications The courting of autocratic regimes is not an effective strategy for combating the causes of refugee flight. Instead, development assistance should be tied to conditions and should require and support comprehensive reforms. These include, first and foremost, the shortening of the national service, which is the main cause of flight; the liberalisation of the Eritrean command economy; and the development of rule-of-law structures.
Thesaurusschlagwörter Eritrea; Sudan; refugee; migration; cause; forced labor; compulsory military service; living conditions; repression; slave trade; EU; policy on refugees; development aid; pressure-group politics; political influence; developing country; East Africa
Klassifikation Migration; internationale Beziehungen, Entwicklungspolitik
Freie Schlagwörter tied foreign aid
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2016
Erscheinungsort Hamburg
Seitenangabe 10 S.
Schriftenreihe GIGA Focus Afrika, 2
ISSN 1862-3603
Status Veröffentlichungsversion; nicht begutachtet
Lizenz Creative Commons - Namensnennung, Nicht kommerz., Keine Bearbeitung
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