In the morning hours of 27 October 2017, ELS, joined hands with a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) in lobbying some members of the Italian Parliament in Rome – in pursuit of a more favourable protection to Eritrean asylum seekers and refugees in Europe. The activity is part of the on-going effort of ELS and its partners in promoting a viable solution not only for the plight of Eritrean refugees in Europe and elsewhere but also in finding a lasting solution to the deeply seated crisis of human rights in Eritrea. It also aimed at building a board-based support of liked-minded CSOs in Europe.
In today’s event at the Italian Parliament, ELS was invited to a panel discussion, which focused mainly on the plight of Eritrean and Yazidi refugees in Europe. In the event, the Director of ELS gave a speech in which he emphasised the importance of strict adherence and compliance with international standards on the protection of refugee rights. In the case of Eritrean refuges, it was also highlighted that the factors that compel Eritreans to flee their country in huge droves have remained intact. As a result, it was made clear that the need to accord Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers with full protection rights commensurate with the obligations emanating from the 1951 Refugee Convention cannot be overemphasised.
Today’s event at the Italian Parliament was initiated by the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM), which is a Paris-based coalition of numerous CSOs across Europe, committed to combatting racism, xenophobia and other societal ills. The parliamentary hearing took place with the support of some members of the Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Relations, such as Mr. Fabio Porta and Mr. Khalid Chaouki. It was also supported by SOS Razzismo Italia, a civil society organisation fighting against racism. For EGAM, today’s event was a follow-up activity to a statement it issued on 18 September 2017, commemorating the infamous political crackdown of Eritrea (of September 2001). The statement, which was endorsed by a broad range of parliamentarians, journalists and activists, is available here: https://goo.gl/ByxCU4.