Members of Minneapolis-based Eritrean Forum have emphasized that it supports any action that gets the attention of the current administration, which they accuse of destroying the hopes & aspiration of the Eritrean people and their homeland.
“I agree that the possible sanction by the U.S on the Eritrean belligerent government is appropriate and timely. Given the Eritrean government ‘s human rights record and the overall dictatorial system, it needs to be stopped; either by sanctioning the regime or other forms of pressures.” said Haile Petros, Executive Director of the Eritrean Forum.
“I wish the U.S. or the international community would primarily consider the gross violation of human rights in Eritrea as the main reason for the possible sanction. My worry is if somehow the current government agreed to the conditions put forward by the U.S. to avert the sanctions, the dictatorial system will continue to subject the people of Eritrea to unimaginable repression and the sanctions’ partial measure would not serve the purpose of deterring the regime from rising up when the occasion allows it.” Petros added.
Forum leader, Haile Petros, in a chat with the African News Journal recently, felt that a “Smart Sanction” should be enforced to suffocate the top leadership, which is engaged in the destabilization of the region. He said some of the members recommended travel restrictions and other selective measures that would protect civilians from any harm, but alienate and disengage the leadership from all sorts of privileges.
Eritreans fought a protracted struggle against foreign occupiers. After being ruled by the Italian colonial power from 1889-1940s, the British took over from Italians as a Trust territory under the United Nations, staying in Eritrea for 12 consecutive years. In 1952 the United Nations passed a resolution on a federal arrangement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, a decision that was not received well by the Eritrean people. In September 1961, Eritreans engaged in an armed struggle that lasted till May 24th 1991, when they gained total liberation and independence. This was, and has been the longest armed struggle in Africa. During this period not only did Eritrea help defeat the military dictatorship of Ethiopia, but contributed to and played a major role in its downfall.
The independence of Eritrea was the desired result of the entire population, and a heavy price was paid to achieve this goal. During this period, the loss of civilian life reached more than 150,000, and over 60,000 freedom fighters died, while an estimated 1/3 of the Eritrean population was forced to live in exile, and many more were internally displaced.
As it is said, “adding insult to injury,” as if the sufferings of the last 30 years was not enough, the 1998-2000 war again with Ethiopia adds up to more death and destructions on both sides.
The Eritrean Forum of Minnesota, also called on the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia to remain vigilant and pursue the road for peace and avert the cloud of war that arises between these two brotherly nations. The Forum also called on the Ethiopian government to respect the U.N. resolution on the border demarcation process as “final and binding”. This decision cannot be implemented by force . The only viable alternative we have is through peaceful means, using a mature diplomatic work-based “Rule of Law”. Both nations will gain a whole lot if peace and stability can be reinstituted. The peaceful environment of these two brotherly nations will have a positive regional impact, and will speed up the recovery process and ultimately lead to the region’s development, growth and prosperity.