‘Embassy office Eritrea forces donations from asylum seekers’


Diplomats from the Eritrean embassy office in the Netherlands are involved in raising money among members of the Eritrean community in the Netherlands, including asylum seekers. This has emerged from research by the radio program Argos. People who paid would have been pressured to do so.

In April, the office – Eritrea does not have a full-fledged embassy in the Netherlands – started a fundraising campaign with “a minimum contribution of 100 euros” for the “fight against corona”. During the lockdown, embassy staff went to the homes of Eritreans in the Netherlands. Consul Solomon Mehari was also involved in the action.

It was implicitly stated that failure to pay would have major consequences. According to Argos, there are known cases in which Eritreans are refused consular services or family members in Eritrea have more difficult access to scarce goods such as sugar and oil when their relatives in the Netherlands do not pay. According to a list of payments that Argos saw, at least 155,000 euros was collected from the collections. The list also includes persons who have just fled the Eritrean regime and are still living in an asylum seekers’ center.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is going to ask the embassy office for clarification. In 2018, the highest diplomat of Eritrea Netherlands was expelled for levying a so-called diaspora tax, whereby Eritreans in the Netherlands had to pay 2 percent of their income to the repressive regime in Africa. That too would have happened under pressure at the time.


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