Eritrea Stoking Conflicts Between Its Migrants Abroad

Abdurahman Seeid, an African and Middle East political analyst, echoed this sentiment. He outlined two reasons why the Afwerki regime organizes the festivals — and he said they have little to do with commemorating the country’s independence day.

The first one is for a propaganda purpose in a way to show the diaspora societies, who are already controlled by the system, as a cult community and to tell them that they are different Eritreans and not interact with others,” Seeid said. “The second reason is to collect foreign currency.”

High Costs for Host Nations
In addition to the high price of policing and medical costs incurred by nations that host Eritrean migrants, there are other social, political and diplomatic implications.

Following the August clashes in Stockholm, Sweden’s Justice Minister Gunnar Strommer said it is not justifiable for his country to become involved in the internal conflicts of other nations.

If you flee to Sweden to escape violence or are on a temporary visit, you must not cause violence here. The police’s resources are needed for other purposes than keeping different groups apart from each other,” he said in a written statement to Swedish news agency TT.

Hesse’s Interior Minister Peter Beuth similarly expressed outrage following the July riot in Giessen. He firmly stated that police officers should not be used to resolve conflicts originating from other countries.

Our police officers are not a buffer stop for conflicts in third countries,” he said.

Challenges for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
This situation is creating a complex problem for Eritreans seeking refuge from the oppression of Afwerki’s government.

President Afwerki has ruled Eritrea in a one-party dictatorship since it gained independence from Ethiopia in 1991. 

Eritrea has one of the world’s worst human rights records, and migrants living abroad say they fear death if they were to return to their homeland.

An Eritrean asylum seeker in Israel said that these actions by the government are simply a ploy to get them into conflict with their host nations.

The dictatorial regime in Eritrea has been pursuing us from our very first day in Israel. It’s not enough that we fled from the regime in our homeland. It won’t stop seeking us out in the places where we’re seeking asylum and are trying to rehabilitate our lives,” he said.

According to data from the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, the majority of Eritrean migrants who arrive in Germany are granted asylum — around 86% in the first half of 2023 — but Hirt fears that recent events could have an impact.

This could result in a certain potential for aggression towards those who live in safety here and celebrate the government of Eritrea,” the researcher told DW.

In Israel, where Eritreans make up most of the 25,000 African asylum seekers living there, Netanyahu said during a meeting with a ministerial committee tasked to deal with the aftermath of the violence that a “red line has been crossed.”

Riots, bloodshed — this is lawlessness that we cannot accept,” he added.

They have no claim to refugee status. They support this regime,” Netanyahu said. “If they support the regime so much, they would do well to return to their country of origin.”

DW’s inquiries to the Eritrean diplomatic missions in Europe did not receive a response before the publication of this article. Festival organizers and Eritrean community speakers in Germany declined to comment.

Mimi Mefo Takambou is DW journalist. This article was edited by Keith Walker, and it is published courtesy of Deutsche Welle (DW).