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UNHCR protests deportation of Eritreans

Briefing Notes, 27 August 1999

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Kris Janowski to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 27 August 1999, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR registered a strong protest with the Government of Malawi after an Eritrean asylum seeker was killed this week and 24 others were subsequently deported to Ethiopia from Lilongwe

The group arrived in Malawi from Ethiopia on 14 August and were returned by air one week later. Despite several interventions by UNHCR, staff were not granted access to the Eritreans in order to hear their case. Authorities stated that it was an immigration issue as the group had entered the country illegally with fake visas.

Alerted to their imminent deportation, the Eritreans staged a protest at a detention centre on August 20 during which one of them was killed and several others reportedly wounded.

In a Note Verbale to the Government UNHCR recalled the requirement to review such cases on merit, regardless of how an asylum seeker enters a country, as well as the present tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea. UNHCR is now following up on the case in Addis Ababa.




UNHCR country pages

Cold, Uncomfortable and Hungry in Calais

For years, migrants and asylum-seekers have flocked to the northern French port of Calais in hopes of crossing the short stretch of sea to find work and a better life in England. This hope drives many to endure squalid, miserable conditions in makeshift camps, lack of food and freezing temperatures. Some stay for months waiting for an opportunity to stow away on a vehicle making the ferry crossing.

Many of the town's temporary inhabitants are fleeing persecution or conflict in countries such as Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Sudan and Syria. And although these people are entitled to seek asylum in France, the country's lack of accommodation, administrative hurdles and language barrier, compel many to travel on to England where many already have family waiting.

With the arrival of winter, the crisis in Calais intensifies. To help address the problem, French authorities have opened a day centre as well as housing facilities for women and children. UNHCR is concerned with respect to the situation of male migrants who will remain without shelter solutions. Photographer Julien Pebrel recently went to Calais to document their lives in dire sites such as the Vandamme squat and next to the Tioxide factory.

Cold, Uncomfortable and Hungry in Calais

The end of a long, silent journey: Two Eritreans in Libya Play video

The end of a long, silent journey: Two Eritreans in Libya

Two Eritreans set out on a perilous journey to Europe, crossing Sudan and the Sahara arriving in Libya during its 2011 revolution. They arrive in Tripoli having avoided the risks of detention and despite contending with a crippling handicap: both David and his wife Amitu are deaf and mute.
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Kassala camp in eastern Sudan provides shelter to thousands of refugees from Eritrea. Many of them pass through the hands of ruthless and dangerous smugglers.