Minister Blok requests clarification from Eritrea about controversial fundraising | ...

Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs demanded clarification from Eritrea on Saturday about a fundraising by the embassy office of the country, a minister tells the news agency ANP know after reporting the radio program Argos.

According to Argos the Eritrean embassy office in The Hague uses coercion to raise money among Eritreans in the Netherlands. They were asked to donate at least 100 euros in connection with the corona crisis.

Eritrea has been asking for money from fellow countrymen living abroad for years. It concerns the so-called diaspora tax. This tax cannot be banned, but according to the United Nations (UN), the tax is often subject to intimidation and coercion. Action can be taken if Eritreans report that they have been forced to pay.

Blok calls it “very worrying” that there are again reports of the forced collection of money by Eritrean diplomats. The minister requires an explanation from the embassy office. He also says that he cannot rule out further actions.

Highest diplomatic representative was previously expelled

In 2018, former Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra demanded that Eritrea’s highest diplomatic representative, Tekeste Ghebremedhin Zemuy, leave the Netherlands, as the embassy continued to forcibly collect money from the diaspora. He was named persona non grata. The House of Representatives also demanded that the embassy office be closed, but the cabinet did not agree to this at the time.

Minister Blok calls on victims of the fundraising to file a report so that the Public Prosecution Service (OM) can investigate the case.

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