Voice of "Plight of the Eritrean Refugees, Toronto, Canada"
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The IDF is preventing the entry
of a group of about 20 asylum seekers from Eritrea
trapped between fences on Israeli soil

It was published today in the Israeli media, that the IDF is preventing the entry of a group of about 20 Eritrean asylum seekers who are trapped between fences on Israeli soil next to the Egyptian border. The asylum seekers have been trapped there since Thursday and the IDF is not providing them with any food. Two of the asylum seekers are women, one of them was pregnant and had a miscarriage in the past few days.The soldiers provided the Eritreans with tarps to cover themselves from the baking sun. The soldiers have been ordered to give the asylum seekers "as little water as possible."

The Hotline for Migrant Workers stated: "Preventing the entry of those who seek asylum here is a violation of international law, which obligates countries to allow such entries so as to examine the asylum requests. The asylum seekers are on Israeli soil and it is a violation of the principle of non-refoulement to return a person to a place where he or his freedom is endangered. The Supreme Court has ruled that no person should be deported to a place where his safety cannot be guaranteed, and it is a known fact that Egypt often deports asylum seekers to their countries of origin."

Sigal Rozen
Public Policy Coordinator
Hotline for Migrant Workers
Tel: 054-8177845

from http://habeshia.blogspot.ca

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Canadian Bill C-31

Prepared by: Simon Gebreselassie (Plight of Eritrean Refugee)

Ever since the conservative party won the majority in the last election, we have seen a number of pieces of legislation introduced and voted upon. Unfortunately some of this legislation passed with inadequate public consultation, or appropriate agencies were not consulted. In other cases, they were not given enough time to study the proposed legislation, and problems have resulted.

Let me give you some background to Bill C-31, the Immigration and Refugee act that the government introduced on Feb. 16, 2012.

This Bill will bring in a lot of legislation changes which affect immigrants and refugees who are seeking to come to Canada and also refugees who are here waiting for their claims to be heard or approved. It also changes the way family sponsorships are handled plus the ministerial powers have been altered as well. The minister will have a sole power to determine who are refugees - based on their country of origin – and the power to designate which country is deemed a safe country. While the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration claims that the announced changes will only deny services that are not included in basic care for Canadian, in fact they cut much deeper. One of the many changes that is being introduced is the Interim Health Program coverage for refugee claimants, protected persons and others, effect on June 30, 2012. From then on, and depending on their status, under rules for temporary federal health coverage a person will be eligible for basic and essential care only, treatment for conditions which pose a risk to public health and public safety, or no coverage at all.
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton poses for a photo with the 2012 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report Heroes Sister Azezet Kidane, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on June 19, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain].

Sr. Azezet, also known as Sister Aziza, is an Eritrean nun with the Comboni Missionary Sisters who volunteers as a nurse for the NGO Physicians for Human Rights- Israel (PHR-I). During the past two years she has led PHR-I’s efforts to call attention to human trafficking in Sinai, Egypt, including sexual slavery and the torture of hundreds of African asylum seekers. PHR-I developed a groundbreaking research project that has interviewed hundreds of victims living in Israel.

This painstaking work was accomplished by the devotion of Sister Aziza who helped identify men, women, and children who had been kidnapped, repeatedly raped, or subjected to forced labor and sexual servitude, in addition to being tortured, in the Sinai.

Her perseverance, heartfelt concern, and willingness to listen to countless hours of interviews enabled many victims to open up about their experiences of rape, torture, kidnapping, forced labor, and sexual servitude. Whereas previously little was known of the specific atrocities in Egypt, these documented firsthand accounts have led to widespread international media reporting and attention to human trafficking in the region. The State Department has relied on the work of Sister Aziza and PHR-I to promote awareness of this important issue.
(From http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/192587.pdf )

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton poses for a photo with the 2012 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report Heroes, individuals around the world who have devoted their lives to the fight against human trafficking, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on June 19, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain] - con  Azezet Kidane Fortunately, Eritreans in Israel are not considered "infiltrators".  One is singled out as a model of compassion and dedication. This is not the first time Sr. Azezet's commitment to the Plight of the Eritrean Refugees in Israel, the Sinai Peninsula and in the ME in general is publicly recognized. Last year also she was awarded a prize in Rome.  Sr. Azezet reminds me of a story I read in my 4th grade book: a religious sister in Algiers was taking care of a very difficult French soldier, wounded in combat. Everybody else had given up on the unfortunate because of his temperament and his demands. Sister though attended to him with devotion and love. At the end the soldier himself broke up and asked the religious: "Sister, why are you doing this?" And the good nun, pointing at the cross that was hanging from the chain around her neck replied: "I do it for him, who first did it for me!" Sister Azezet did it for Him in Massawa, Asmara (Eritrea), she encountered Him and served Him in Awasa and elsewhere in Ethiopia, she loved Him and knelt before Him in South Sudan, Uganda, or wherever else the Congregation sent her, and now she sees Him tortured, ransomed, raped, cursed, denigrated, threatened, neglected, robbed of his dignity, of his personality: "He does not have any beauty or dignity to make us take notice of him. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing that would draw us to him. We despised him and rejected him he endured suffering and pain. No one would even look at him, we ignored him as if he wee nothing." (Is 53: 2b-3). This time she has taken the image of the African refugee, stranded in Israel. Sr. Azezet and a few other compassionate souls of every racial, religious and social extraction have recognized him and are serving his cause.
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Starting July 1, Canadians can expect to see something new on our streets: people begging for money to pay for medication or hospital care.

Canada, which prides itself on being more compassionate than its rough-and-tumble neighbour to the south, will soon have its very own underclass of people unable to obtain life-sustaining medication and treatment.

This is because, with no prior consultation with the provinces or health-care professionals, the federal government recently announced that it will make drastic cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program – the health-care program for people seeking refugee status in Canada – effective June 30.

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World Refugee Day: Helping The ?One in Five?

Mon, 18 Jun 2012 15:31 GMT

Source: Content partner // World Food Programme  http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/world-refugee-day-helping-the-one-in-five

They fled across the borders of Libya as the country slid into civil war. They ran for their lives through the dense bush in western Cote d’Ivoire, to reach shelter in Liberia. And, as famine loomed in Somalia, they poured into the camps of Dadaab in Kenya and Dolo Ado in Ethiopia desperate for food, water and medical attention. 

ROME -- Of the 99 million people who received WFP food assistance last year, one in five was a displaced person. Forced to flee across borders as refugees, or internally displaced within their own countries by fighting or by natural disasters, they are among the world's most vulnerable people. Every year on World Refugee Day (20 June), we recognize their struggle.

WFP Assisting RefugeesIn 2011, WFP provided food assistance to: • Refugees: 2,595,785• IDPs: 15,093,137• Returnees: 3,061,072 

Unfortunately, many refugee crises continue for a long time. For example, WFP provides food assistance near the Sudan-Eritrea border in camps for Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees that were set up in the 1960s. 


Today, among the newest camps are those in Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso, where WFP is helping tens of thousands of Malians who fled their homes following a recent coup d'etat.

WFP works closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to provide emergency rations to new arrivals and longer-term food assistance once refugees are officially registered.

WFP also works with the International Organization for Migration and governments to assist ‘returnees' with reintegration packages to help them get back on their feet when they finally go home. Today, WFP is assisting thousands of returnees who are going home to South Sudan, which became the newest country in the world last July.

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By Noam Wiener

The Tel Aviv District Court, roughly comparable to a circuit court in the American federal system, sentenced on Wednesday an Eritrean refugee convicted of aggravated robbery to four and a half years imprisonment. Explaining the harsh sentence, he cited the need to deter “foreign citizens” from committing crimes.

Without detracting from the brutality of the individuals who attacked refugee shops and cars last week, this is a far more insidious form of racism. And if anybody was so deluded into thinking that only the less fortunate lower classes are so racist, Judge Zvi Gurfinkel has proven that the virus of racism against African refugees is firmly ingrained in the system.

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