The joint delegation of Eritrean People’s Party (EPP) foreign relations, EPP Women’s League, and Eritrean Democratic Association (a non-profit human rights organization) attended Amnesty International Western Regional Conference on November 7, 2009 in San Francisco, California. The joint delegation included Mr. Tesfai Wodemichael (EPP Head of Foreign Relations), Mrs. Asgedet Mihreteab (EPP Women’s League Representative & EPP Foreign Relations staff), and Mr. Fessehaye Hagos (Eritrean Democratic Association board member).
LTR: Mr. Tesfai Wodemichael (Degiga), EPP Foreign Relations Head; Mrs. Asegedet Mihreteab, EPP Women’s League Representative & Foreign Relations staff; and Mr. Fissehaye Hagos, Eritrean Democratic Association Board Member.
The principal theme for the conference was “Free and Equality in Dignity and Rights,” with a major focus on building the capacity of advocates active in human right activities, and streamlining ways and means by which human rights advocates can bring emergency assistance to the needy effectively and expeditiously.
The three-day long conference (6-8 November 2009) stressed that raising awareness of people as central to ensuring the protection of human rights; empowering and educating people to fight against poverty, backwardness, and corruption; and resisting injustices and human rights violations perpetrated by undemocratic and repressive governments.
Attending such an important conference gave a unique opportunity for our delegates to participate in various working sessions, including meeting officials and representatives of sections and groups responsible for different work areas in the Amnesty International. In the open discussion, our joint delegation explained the pervasive injustices, sufferings, and human rights violations facing Eritrean people, which are wracking the country with political instability, famine, economic crisis, and migration of Eritreans in thousands to the neighboring countries. The joint delegation also answered questions raised by the participants over the dismal political and economic condition of our country.
The joint delegation to the conference further urged Amnesty International to pay utmost attention to the suffering and gross human rights violations of Eritrean people. On their part, officials of the Amnesty International acknowledged the current state of affairs of Eritrea, and stated that Eritrea is one of the countries high on the list of the Amnesty international priorities for which they said they have already began working on it.
The delegation had also a unique opportunity to meet with Mr. Larry Cox, Amnesty International Executive Director; Professor Joe Watkins, Refugee Project Coordinator; Mr. Jeff Bachman, Chairman Amnesty International Board of Directors USA; Mr. Samson Tu, Senior Research Scientist; and Mr. Berhane G/Ngus, member of CiDrie. Both Mr. Samson and Mr. Berhane are Local Amnesty International activists
In addition to the above interesting activities of the joint delegation, the involvement of Mr. Berhane and his group in a petition drive to demand the release of Eritrean prisoners was unique and recognizable in the conference. The petition drive is just the latest move among many others on the part of the Local Amnesty International activists to bring the ongoing injustices and gross human rights violation in Eritrea to the attention of the international community. In the end, both the joint delegation and Mr. Berhane called on the international community to mobilize resources and humanitarian aid to avert the unfolding famine and economic crisis in Eritrea.
(Reported by EPP Department of Information and Culture)