20th ANNIVERSARY – PRESS AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION CLAMPDOWN IN ERITREA
By Siyad Arts @artssiyad (a political cartoonist who believes arts has power to change the world).
PHOTO EXHIBITION – 18 to 19 September 2021 10.30am to 4.30pm
17 September 2021 at 5pm: Exhibition Opening by Patrick Grady, MP for Glasgow North and Vice-Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group for Eritrea
At Resources for London, 356 Holloway Road, London N7 6PA
Eritrea – bordering on the Red Sea – has been fought over for generations. Colonised by Italy, it was forcibly united with Ethiopia after the Second World War. Deprived of many of their freedoms, and suffering egregious extrajudicial killings, its people rose in revolt.
After a liberation struggle lasting 30 years, Eritreans finally won their independence in 1991. But a further border war with Ethiopia between 1998 and 2000 and a ruthless internal crackdown plunged the nation into dictatorship and repression. Eritreans have fled their country in their hundreds of thousands, seeking refuge in neighbouring states, or drowning in the Mediterranean in an attempt to reach sanctuary in Europe or the USA.
Today Eritrea finds itself engaged in another bloody war in Ethiopia, between the Tigrayans and the Federal Government. Eritreans, along with Ethiopians and Amhara militia have committed despicable atrocities since the outbreak of the war in November 2020, including systematic attacks and abduction of Eritrean refugees in Tigray. Thousands of Eritrean troops have been killed in this unnecessary war, instigated by Prime Minister Abiy and the unelected president of Eritrea, Isaias Afeworki. All in the name of the “Peace Accord” signed by the two countries in 2018. There is no prospect of the war ending soon, despite appeals for peace from the international community and the UN.
Following the end of the border war with Ethiopia, on 18 September 2001, the Government of Eritrea banned all independent media outlets and incarcerated all but the most compliant journalists. Government critics were also rounded up and detained without trial in the most brutal of prisons.
The journalists and political activists who were arrested twenty years ago have not been seen or heard of since. We mourn their loss and demand their freedom.
For further information, please contact:
Post: 2 Thorpe Close, Ladbrooke Grove, London W10 5XL
Tel: +44 (0) 7949 700 412