Radio Erena: 20 October 2017
A Swiss government backed organization – Pre` En Bulle, calls for a special investigation on the Eritrean Consulate to Switzerland over claims to allegedly pressure Eritrean nationals in Switzerland.
The call for the investigation came following a harsh criticism and opposition that warned all Eritrean nationals not to take part in the annual festival organized by Pre` En Bulle – held last month between the 22nd and 24th of September – claiming that the festival was not recognized and endorsed by the Eritrean government and that the Eritrean government wasn’t informed of the festival.
In the call made via an article published on Tribune de Genève, Pre` En Bulle has been hosting such cultural festivals since 2002 and that it has never been encountered with oppositions by any government or organization. The article further pointed out that such opposition is an interference on the Pre` En Bulle’s business.
Radio Erena has covered the statement released last month by the Eritrean government through its representative and the head of the country’s ruling PFDJ party at the Eritrean Consulate in Geneva which strongly warned the Eritrean nationals in Switzerland against partaking in the festival. As a result of this, famous singers and musicians who are believed to be sympathizers of the government – like Dahab Faytinga, were forced to pull their names from the festival for fear of retaliation against them.
According the Tribune`, when the Eritrean Consulate learned that Pre` En Bulle’s was seeking legal actions against the Consulate’s attempt to infiltrate, it tried to downplay its official warning statement claiming it was all done to avoid confusion among Eritrean nationals and clarify it was not the annual Eritrean government commissioned-festival organized by the Eritrean Community in Switzerland.
It is to be recalled that several Eritrean activists (in 2015) had previously petitioned the Swiss government to completely shut down the Consulate for allegedly forcing Eritreans to pay 2% (two per cent) diaspora tax. The Swiss federal police department, however, dropped the petition stating lack of enough evidence and that it would conduct additional investigation on the allegations.
According to Tribune` de Genève, there are 20,000 (twenty thousand) Eritrean immigrants in Switzerland and of whom 1,400 (a thousand and four hundred) live in or around Geneva.
In a related news, the Federal Government of Switzerland announced it will reinstate its technical support on governance for Eritrea, which has been stalled for the past ten years.