Radio Erena: 11 november 2014
Report by Amanuel Ghirmai Bahta
Eritrean Immigrants in the make-shift camp in the port city of Calais-France said the sole responsibility for their perturbation and that of several other Eritreans lies on the hands of the government of Eritrea.
In an interview they gave to Radio Erena , the immigrants stated that they have passed through unforgiving routes of the Sahara desert, Sinai, Libya, Israel, the Mediterranean Sea, and Italy and are now in Calais waiting to cross over to the Great Britain.
A 22-year-old young Eritrean by the name of Nasser is one of these immigrants. Nasser was in grade eleven in Adi Khuala [a town 90 kilometers South of the capital city] when he decided to flee for fear of a forceful conscription by the government. In 2010, he crossed over to Ethiopia where he settled at Adi Harush refugee camp though he decided to leave the camp to go to Sudan and then to Libya and finally to Calais via the Mediterranean Sea and now he is yet to make his final crossing to the Great Britain.
Nasser has been in Calais for a month now and in this short period, he said he has made thirty attempts to cross over to the Great Britain.
Nasser reminisces the sexual harassment over Eritrean and Ethiopian women by the drag-addicted Libyan human traffickers, as one of the most difficult things to bear in his travel.
Another Eritrean who came from Nakfa [a town in Northern Eritrea] indicated that he had made over hundred failed attempts to cross over to the Great Britain in his five-month-stay in Calais. He pointed out that there were times when the French police sent him off to Belgium.
A former teacher at HalHale, who asked us to keep his name, stated that he had touched eleven countries including Sudan, Turkey, Albania, Montenegro, Greece and Italy before he got to the port city of Calais. After all this and weighing his future in Europe, the former teacher pointed out, he would have preferred to stay in Eritrea with his family, had it not been for the cruel conditions in Eritrea by the government.
Mohammed – originally from Forro – a survivor of the ship that capsized last May 12 with 450-immigrants on board, underscored that the sole cause for his immigration was caused by the circumstances in Eritrea and that he confirms he would return home, if change comes in his country. Mohammed was detained for three months prior to his departure.
The Eritrean and other immigrants in Calais accuse the French police of allegedly harassing them and using pepper spray on them, especially, in streets where surveillance cameras are scarce. The French police, on the other hand, accuse the immigrants of allegedly engaging in unlawful acts.
There are 1500 immigrants in the make-shift camp in Calais – who are housed in the donated tents in a forest and are subjected to freezing weather.
Some French philanthropists are seen to donate clothing, comforters, and food. Although the French government announced to build some shelters for the immigrants to protect them from the upcoming winter weather, nothing has been done so far.
Radio Erena confirmed Eritreans and Ethiopians top the number among the 1500 immigrants with very few women. Our reporter also confirmed that most of the Ethiopians have been registered as Eritreans.