Dutch Parliament to debate on Eritrea

indexThe Dutch Parliament is set to debate on Eritrea today, 30 June 2016. The debate will specifically focus on the influence of the Eritrean regime in the Netherlands, otherwise known as the ‘long arm’ of the regime. The Eritrean diaspora has started a petition that will be handed to politicians before the debate.

The debate will start at 20:00 in The Hague. Many people, both supporters and opponents to the Eritrean regime, are expected to attend, as the debate is open for observation by the public.

The debate will address the issue of Eritrean influence in the Netherlands, which was tabled after Dutch media published about the harassment experienced by Eritreans in the diaspora, recent refugees and critics of the Eritrean regime. According to Dutch news, a large number of Dutch politicians are concerned about spying and intimidation by supporters of the Eritrean regime. Mr. Azmani from the majority party VVD wants the Eritrean embassy closed for its damaging role, especially related to the 2% tax that (former) Eritreans have to pay. Although this tax is supposed to be voluntary, many Eritreans report coercion is involved.

Another issue expected to be covered in the debate is the development aid from the European Union, thus indirectly the Netherlands, to Eritrea.

The petition that was launched has gathered so far gathered over 6.500 signatures from all over the world. The petition calls for an end of the crimes against humanity that were and are being committed, according to the report by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea (COIE). It is also demanded to bring the responsible individuals to justice. In addition, the petition calls for stopping the European Commission funding of €200 million in development aid to Eritrea. According to the petition, this funding will not solve the problems in Eritrea.

It is expected that a resolution will be adopted in the Human Rights Council today following the report of the COIE.

To sign the petition, click here

To follow the debate live (Dutch), click here – available around 20:00 CET, 30 June 2016