In this week’s news highlights: new study published on 2% diaspora tax for Eritreans in Europe confirming reports of coercion and threat; German charity denies Italian allegations that its rescue ship has had contact with Libyan smugglers; European Parliament delegation visits Tunisia to discuss about current situation of migrants and refugees; BCC launches websites for Eritrean and Ethiopian audiences; Ethiopian ethnic crisis may escalate as officials point fingers at each other; Eritrean people remember the day in which the government crackdown of 2001.
A new report, commissioned by the Dutch government, has been published on the 2% tax that is paid by Eritreans in the diaspora. The study covered seven European countries, researching the legality, modalities and perception of the diaspora tax, as well as the role of the Eritrean government in its collection. The report shows that the legal basis for the diaspora tax, as well as the goals and the collection process, are unclear and inconsistent. In addition, the tax collection is perceived as mandatory by many Eritreans, and non-compliance with payments can lead to consequences such as denial of consular services, punishment of family members in Eritrea. The reported use of coercion and intimidation make the collection of the diaspora tax potentially illegal in its application. The Dutch government deems the ways in which the tax are collected ‘unacceptable’ and lists a range of steps it will take to challenge it.
The Financial Newspaper in Norway posted an article on 2% tax that members of the Eritrean diaspora pay to Eritrea. Member of the Norwegian Parliament Bård Vegar Solhjell says that the tax cannot continue. He expects the Norwegian government to take action. The news comes after the Parliament in the Netherlands passed a motion to push for investigation of the tax in the Netherlands and other EU member states.