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African Exodus

Ethiopian Refugees in Yemen are tortured

By Yalda Hakim, Yemen

The BBC’s Yalda Hakim visits a so-called ‘torture camp’ Efta is just 17 but has experienced shocking brutality.

The Ethiopian teenager survived a treacherous boat journey being smuggled across the Red Sea.

But on reaching Yemen, she was kidnapped and driven at gunpoint to a mud brick house.

She said: “They tortured other girls in front of me. They beat us and they raped us at gunpoint. I was terrified.”

She is one of 80,000 Ethiopian migrants who undertake this dangerous journey every year.

They hope they will find work in the wealthy Gulf state of Saudi Arabia and be able to send money home.

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Hafton’s story

 

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Hafton Ekar, 23, made the journey from Ethiopia to Yemen with a group of friends.

Their aim was to find work in Saudi Arabia to support their families but they were kidnapped shortly after being smuggled into Yemen.

Hafton’s father was told he needed to pay $300 to free his son but after the ransom was paid, Hafton was sold on to a ‘torture camp’.

The new gang wanted another $250 but there was no money left. Hafton was brutally tortured.

“They hurt me very badly. I can’t use the bathroom any more. I’m paralysed,” he said.

His friends carried him on their backs when they escaped. Hafton now lies on a mattress in the refugee centre in Haradh.

But they risk being exploited by criminal gangs and the Yemeni military in the 500 km (310 miles) trek across Yemen to the Saudi border.

‘Raped and burned’Efta was held at what is known as a “torture camp” for three months.

She was too ashamed to ask her parents for money to set her free so she was raped every day.

Once it became clear that no ransom was going to be paid and after Efta fell ill, she was thrown out on the street.

She is now being cared for in a refugee centre run by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Yemeni border town of Haradh.

She remains traumatised by her experience.

“The women get raped and the men are burned. They break bones. They take people’s eyes out,” she said.

“Everything you can imagine, they do it. I saw it with my own eyes.”

Most of the Ethiopians we met came from the Tigray region in the north of the country.

They crossed the mountains into Djibouti and then paid people smugglers to take them across the Red Sea at its shortest point, Bab al-Mandab (or the Gate of Grief).

It was a harbinger of the trials and tribulations ahead of them where thousands are tortured and sexually exploited by people smugglers.

A map showing the Horn of Africa, Yemen and Saudi ArabiaA map showing the journey of Ethiopian migrants to Saudi Arabia.

And if they make it to Haradh, many die trying to get across the heavily-fortified border into Saudi Arabia.

Saleh Sabri is the local undertaker. He has lost count of the number of migrants he has buried.

“Some people are shot at the border. Some have been hung. Some are beaten to death,” he said.

“They all die from unnatural causes.”

Inside ‘torture camp’For centuries, Haradh has thrived on gun-running and drug-smuggling. Now, the commodity is people.

The Medecins Sans Frontieres charity says there are an estimated 200 “torture camps” in this area alone.

We become the first journalists to enter one after we are promised safe passage by a local judge.

Five migrants in what is known as a 'torture camp'Five migrants under armed guard in what is known as a ‘torture camp’ in Haradh, Yemen

One of the judge’s soldiers accompanies us for our safety.

We drive across sand dunes to reach a mud brick house on the outskirts of town.

As we enter, there appear to be five migrants sitting on the ground with two armed men guarding them.

We ask them if they have been abused.

“For the last three days, they have threatened to beat us if our families don’t pay,” said one migrant.

We then spot the entrance to a small room at the edge of the compound.

The soldier says this is where the migrant women are taken.

We ask to go inside but the soldier says what is going on behind the door could be haram, meaning forbidden.

We are told there could be a man and a woman in there.

We are not allowed to knock on the closed door but there are two pairs of shoes outside.

A man then appears with a pistol who says he was the owner of the camp. We ask him if torture exists on this farm.

“That’s forbidden,” he said.

“There’s no torture here. If we were capturing them by force, we’d have plenty of migrants there. They come here willingly.”

We also ask if there are women here.

“No, there’s no women in this farm,” he said.

After we left, we visited a senior local police officer and told him what we had seen.

We understand that the next day, all the migrants in the camp were released.

The International Organization for Migration says it is dealing with an “international humanitarian crisis”.

Failed stateBut Yemen is ill-equipped to solve this problem when it is fighting two insurgencies that have displaced tens of thousands.

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Yemen: The most dangerous journey in the world

Yalda Hakim in Yemen

See Yalda Hakim’s Our World documentary at the following times:

BBC News Channel: Saturday 20 July at 02:30, 05:30, 14:30, 21:30 and Sunday 21 July at 03:30, 05:30, 10:30, 14:30, 21:30. All times BST.

BBC World News: Friday 19 July at 23:30; Saturday 20 April at 11:30, 16:30; Sunday 21 July at 17:30, 22:30. All times GMT.

International aid is mainly directed towards them and the 200,000 Somali refugees in the south.

In the vacuum, gangs of kidnappers and torturers seem to operate at will.

But many Ethiopian migrants say the Yemeni army is complicit.

Efta said the men who kidnapped her were dressed in military clothing.

“They were wearing army uniforms,” she said.

“So that’s why we did what they said. We didn’t think they would do all of this to us.”

She also said the same men – Yemeni soldiers – raped her at the ‘torture camp’.

And 16-year-old Asma said the same. She nearly made it past the Yemeni guards at the Saudi border.

“Then the Yemeni army came,” she said.

“They caught us. They sold us to the torture camp.”

Asma was raped by up to three men every day for two months. She got out because one of her captors, she said, felt pity for her.

She is also living in the refugee centre in Haradh.

We requested an interview with the Yemeni government about the treatment of migrants but our request was declined.

The undertaker of Hardah Saleh SabriThe undertaker of Haradh burying another migrant. Saleh Sabri says he has lost count of the number.

The undertaker of Haradh is used to operating without government support.

“I have 40 bodies in the morgue and I have only six draws to store them,” said Saleh Sabri.

He still washes and prepares the bodies in the traditional way.

“I’m a simple man with a simple job,” he said.

“I take care of the morgue so I must take care of these poor unknown people. I do it for God.”

An Ethiopian baby is born on high waters… escaping from Gadaffi & Melese Zenawie

Africans escaping from dictatorial regimes found themselves between the hammer and the hard thing. Those   trying to save their lives from one found themselves stranded in the conflict of the other.  Many   are drowning in the coast of Libya, while others have been sold as slaves in Sinai trying to cross to the Promised Land. Those who stayed behind in the camps of Gadaffi are stigmatized and marked as his mercenary by local population.  Many Ethiopian and Eritreans have been victims of rape and body trafficking. Recently an Ethiopian baby is delivered on a boat from a rapped mother. Gaddafie has a great responsibly in financing and arming most the African tyrants to power.  When it comes to the new mother, the Libyan dictator   has a direct responsibility in her rape   in Libya and for his support tyrant regimes   in Eastern Africa.

On the 26 of March 2011, the first of wrecked boat able to reach the coast escaping form the North African uprising carrying over 350 East Africans refugees from Libya.  One of the rapped women who were evacuated from the boat to a hospital on the island of Lampedusa lost her baby.   The Earlier young lady who was airlifted from the tiny island to a hospital in Sicily a named her child «Yeabsera” (” Glad tiding of God”) on the memory of her hardship and that God saved her from perishing in the seas.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTZ1aOjHszw

 

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According to Laura Boldrini a spokeswoman of the UNHCR in Italy confirmed that the African groups need international protection. “Until now the only migrants to arrive in Lampedusa were Tunisians, and this is the first boat coming from Libya with people fleeing the military escalation, the vendettas and the retaliation attacks.”

T Italy and Libya signed a friendship treaty in 2008 which Italian authorities say led to a 94-percent decrease in illegal immigration.   These days Gaddafi himself has threatened to send “millions” of migrants to Europe as a soft weapon of war against NETO groups.  The last group that arrived   in the wrecked boat on Saturday is mostly Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalian. Over 15,000 mostly Tunisian migrants have landed on Lampedusa in rickety fishing boats since the ouster of Tunisian Dictator Ben Ali, and more are expected every day.  According AFP, “more than 1,000 migrants arrived on the island on Saturday including 69 who were rescued from a sinking boat by a fishing trawler.” There were chaotic scenes when three boats carrying some 600 migrants arrived in the port. The Italian security forces have been seen to prevent a crowd of migrants already on the island from surging towards them. Recently the Italian government has suspended the treaty and warns that hundreds of thousands of migrants could depart for Italy if Gaddafi’s regime falls.

Italy has requested increased assistance from the European Union. The boat was assisted on Friday by a Canadian warship taking part in a mission by the NATO alliance to enforce a naval arms embargo on Libya. Coastguards said the boat would not be taken to Lampedusa but to the nearby island of Linosa and the passengers would then be taken to a refugee centre. David Taylor, a spokesman for the NATO embargo mission based in Naples, said: “We are monitoring the situation very closely and confidently.” It is reported that that the boat arriving in Italy had left Tripoli in the night between Thursday and Friday. The refuges informed the local UNHCR officer that four or five other boats carrying African migrants had also left Libyan shores carrying around 1,000 people. The charity Save the Children said around 250 Tunisian children is still on the island, which is closer to North Africa than to mainland Italy.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXwdUo-nZMw

More than 250 other children — most of them teenagers — have been taken to special care homes in other parts of Italy in recent weeks. Ninety-six of the children were transferred to an abandoned US Coast Guard base on Lampedusa on Saturday after Save the Children said the conditions in which they had been living on the island were unacceptable. The island is struggling to cope with all the recent arrivals and hundreds of migrants have been sleeping out in the open because of a lack of space. “We believe it is necessary for transit centers to be set up for children to ensure acceptable living conditions while they wait to be installed in communities,” Rafaela Milano of Save the Children said in a statement. The European assistance in the elimination of African dictators will surely stop the inflow of refuges to their mainland. Gaddafie was highly implicated in the Horn of Africa conflict that cost millions of life, not forgetting scores of conflicts he financed throughout the continent that assured many tyrants to stick on power.

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Abyssinians caught in outrageous Human Trafficking and slave trade in Sinai by Egyptian boarder guards..

Thousands of refugees from Eritrea and Ethiopia running from the outrageous dictators of the Horn of Africa found themselves caught in Human Trafficking theatre in Sinai. The Jewish State by fencing the border areas has  directly participate in  the destruction of the people of Ethiopian origin. To what objective Israel trying  to block them from  entering the Holy Land, while at the same time bringing their brothers from Ethiopia  stigmatized as “Falashas & Felasha Muras”? The only refugees who are adventuring to Israel are the Southern Sudanise and the Abysnians. They are either Christians today stigmatized as “Felasha Moras” or  southern animists running away from Sudanese slave trade. Let us not forget the Abyssinian (Eritrean & Ethiopian) Semitic people ethnically known as Habeshia are the same with any of those immigrated to the Jewish state. The main difference  would be that those who accepted  Orthodox Christainity, those recently  converted and stigmatized as Felasha Muras, and last but not least those who are die hards   stigmatized as “Falashas” and  never accepted the New Testement. Anyway all are Habashas ethnically but little difference in their religiosity . When we read  the word Habesha  from the right to left  reads  as Sheba meaning the children of the Queen of  Sheba or in Arbic Belkis.  And why is the complicity of the Arabs and Jews when it comes on destruction of these particular ancient people of African origin?

It seems there is a tacit complicity which surpasses religiosity when it comes to Africans slave trade and human trafficking.  Such complicity  has  historical roots  that brought millions to Americas in the 16th century . In the  Middle East the inhuman institution had victimized many from eastern Africa. Even Bilal the Prophet’s Hazan was a slave sold from Eastern part of the Continent.  This complicity is historical, tracing its roots in the long past when the Africans were sold as slaves.  Hebrews were victims of historical slavery and modern time refuges before 1948. Where is their solidarity to the victims of such atrocities in their door steppes  in Sinai today?

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The starving population in the Horn of Africa needs to follow the foot steppes of Tunisia. They have to call back their  memories the 1974 & 1991 revolutions that changed regimes. 2011 announces  the end of the dictators in Africa and in the Middle East. Only the change in Egypt & Northern  Sudan could stop such in human trafficking, the regime of Hosni Mubarak & Omar Beshir  assumes the full responsibility of their massacre. Egyptian  border guards have the full responsibility on  their lives. They have been  complicit to their capture and they know exactly where they are, and are  working hand in hand with the Sudanese slave traders. These murderous  guards have been making money the  last 10 years in this new slavery of the 21st century  known as Human Trafficking across the Sinai. The UN  through ICC must pressure the Egyptian government official to force the desert guards to liberate their innocent captives.

Prof. MT

Please READ THE FOLLWING BY :-Everyone Group

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By

Agenzia Habeshia and EveryOne Group have asked for urgent action to be taken by the Egyptian government to free the migrants and control the tents and fruit orchards where we suspect other migrants are being held. The humanitarian organizations are asking the nations of the Multinational Force and Observers (as well as Egypt, Israel and the United States), the UN and the EU institutions, to do everything in their power and adopt all diplomatic means to convince the Egyptian authorities to take immediate action.

Rome, January 19th, 2011. Trafficking in human beings in the northern Sinai is a plague that Egypt is preparing to face in 2011 with a special anti-terrorism unit. “The Egyptian government is setting up a special body,” say Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, co-presidents of EveryOne Group, “whose goal is to stamp out trafficking in human beings and weapons. The Special Corp uses tanks, helicopters and heavy artillery: a sign that the Egyptian government has reached an agreement with Israel for a derogation from the Camp David accords of 1978, which required the Egyptian security forces on the border to use only light weapons”. Meanwhile, the Eritrean priest, Mussiè Zerai, had been in contact with a second group of migrant prisoners in the Sinai. “Don Zerai promptly launched the alarm,” continue  EveryOne, “and our group has carried out investigations in an attempt to identify the locations where the migrants are being held. According to the information in our possession, when the group of migrants left Sudan and crossed into Egypt, there were 60 African refugees. Traffickers of the Rashaida tribe have asked each of them to pay $3000. In Sinai, however, the group has been divided into two. The one we are in contact with consists of 38 refugees, including 8 women. They are being held in a prison camp, chained hand and foot in metal shipping containers. “The young prisoner in contact with Zerai has provided valuable information for the investigations of the human rights defenders. “The group is located near the border with Israel, close to an airport used by a multinational force,” say EveryOne Group. “We have enough information to locate the place of detention: El Gorah, north-east of Sinai, where there is an airbase used by the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO). There are some properties near the airport of El Gorah that belong to Bedouins and which have already been singled out during investigations into human trafficking. El Gorah is an organized crime stronghold that has its centre in the nearby Al Arish, the capital of the Northern Sinai Governorate, which is being controlled by Palestinians bosses born in Egypt who work alongside members of the Al Tarabin tribe. Recent police operations have proved their links to Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Fatah. Profits from trafficking are used to fund terrorism and this gang – whose members call themselves ‘Arabs’ – is well-known for its violent responses to the local law enforcement, and has led to many victims among police officers. These ‘Arabs’ corrupt security forces and carry out their trade virtually undisturbed. Our group has received reports of other groups of migrants being detained at El Gorah in large tents or confined in underground metal shipping containers, hidden in the Bedouin fruit orchards of El Gorah. A number of Ethiopians and Eritreans work for the “Arabs”, and they communicate with the refugees in their own language. The name of the Eritrean guardian assigned to the new group of refugees is Araya Tesfamicael. Based on this information, Agenzia Habeshia and EveryOne Group have asked for urgent action to be taken by the Egyptian government to free the migrants and control the tents and fruit orchards where we suspect other migrants are being held. The humanitarian organizations are asking the nations of the MFO (as well as Egypt, Israel and the United States), the UN and the EU institutions, to do everything in their power and adopt all diplomatic means to convince the Egyptian authorities to take immediate action.

URGENT ACTION – AFRICAN REFUGEES IN THE SINAI
Translated by Google Translator – Soon in a better English

Refugees in the Sinai. Another group is located at El Gorah: called for MFO and UN intervention

Rome, January 19, 2011. Trafficking in human beings in the northern Sinai is a plague that Egypt is preparing to face in 2011, fielding a special anti-terrorism unit. “The Egyptian government is setting up a special body,” say Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, co-presidents of EveryOne Group, “whose goal is to stamp out trafficking in human beings and weapons. The Special Corp uses tanks, helicopters and heavy artillery: a sign that the Egyptian government has reached an agreement with Israel for a derogation from the Camp David accords of 1978, which required the Egyptian security forces on the border use of small arms”.Meanwhile, the Eritrean priest Mussiè Zerai came into contact with a second group of immigrants prisoners in the Sinai. “Don Zerai promptly launched the alarm,” continue  EveryOne, “and our group has carried out investigations to identify the locations where migrants are held. According to the information we have, the group included when the migrants leave Sudan 60 African individuals. Traffickers of the Rashaida tribe have asked each of them $ 3000. In Sinai, however, the group has been split in two. The one with which we are in contact consists of 38 refugees, including 8 women. They are in a prison camp chained hand and foot, in metal containers. “The young prisoner in contact with Zerai has provided information useful for investigations of human rights defenders. “The group is located near the border with Israel near an airport used by a multinational force,” say EveryOne. “We have enough information to locate the place of detention: El Gorah, north-east of Sinai, where there is an airbase of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO). Near the airport of El Gorah, there are some properties of the Bedouin, already focused during investigations related to human trafficking. El Gorah is a stronghold of organized crime that has its center in the nearby Al Arish, the capital of North Sinai Governorate, controlled by Palestinians bosses born in Egypt along with members of the tribe Al Tarabin. Recent police operations have shown thair links to Al Qaeda, Hamas and Fatah. Traffics are used to fund terrorism and this band – whose members call themselves ‘Arabs’ – is known for its violent responses to the local law enforcement, cost the lives of many agents. The ‘Arabs’ corrupt security forces and carry out their trade virtually undisturbed. Our group has received reports of other groups of migrants detained at El Gorah in large tents or confined in metal container buried, hidden in the Bedouin orchards of El Gorah. They work for the band of  “Arabs” some Ethiopians and Eritreans, that communicate with the refugees in their own language. The name of the Eritrean guardian assigned to the new group of refugees is Araya Tesfamicael. Based on this information, the Agency Habeshia and EveryOne Group has asked for urgent action by the Egyptian government to free the migrants and control tents and orchards, Where we suspect there are other migrants. Humanitarian organizations ask the nations of the MF (above, in addition to Egypt, Israel and the United States), the UN and the EU institutions to activate their diplomatic means to To convince the Egyptian authorities to act now.
EveryOne Group+39 331 3585406 :: +39 393 4010237 :: +39 334 3449180 info@everyonegroup.com :: www.everyonegroup.com

Egypt denies the existance of refugees death camp in Sinai, hostages might have been executed by captors ?

Eritreans/ Ethiopians  escaping from local dictators  found themselves between the hammer and the hard thing.  As refugee, they have been sold many times in the hands of local tribes’ men Rashaidas and other border line tribes, before they arrive in the hands of the last captors in Sinai to transit via Israel to Europe or North America their final destination. They do not have to pay in the starting point in the refugee camp. It is a free trip to death and torture.   They were sold for a few hundred dollars in Kassala Sudan and by the time they reach Sinai their price reaches thousands of dollars supposedly to be paid by their relatives aboard. I they failed to pay the some demanded some will be sold as slaves in different parts of the Arab world other will summery executed as one of the members who recently escaped after being raped and tortured told our reporter. By the time the Egyptian authorities arrive in the area the asylum seekers are sold or already transferred if they are not dead, making its impossible to trace.
Recently the Egyptian activists are calling on the government to take action to save African asylum-seekers from «systematic torture» by their Bedouin captors in the Sinai Peninsula who demand thousands of dollars in ransom.

“The Egyptian  government says it does not have information,” said Magma Botrous, violence and physical safety specialist at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a local NGO. “But the problem is that the government doesn’t try to get the information,”

Some hundreds of African asylum-seekers cross into Israel via Egypt with the help of international human trafficking agents living and working in refugee camps in the Horn of Africa ending at the Egypt-Israel border.

Today over 500 of these asylum-seekers from Eritrea and Ethiopia are held in the Sinai desert in different torture tents and face torture and rape, with their captors demanding to be paid since they bought them as slave, before they are allowed into Israel.

Egypt authorities could not put their hand on them since they are hidden in the deep Sinai dessert even they cross hiding them in Saudi Arabia if they are pursued. The Egyptian said recently that “Whoever has information about the presence of African refugees in captivity in the Sinai has to prove it; they have to give us the names of the refugees and the places where they are kept.”

The local Egyptian human right NGO’s were contacted by some refugees, and they insist the reports about the refugees in the Sinai are true.  They claim that they are forced to work without food, and forced into prostitution. They said even gave the information and the government gave silent treatment. They declared that, “It is unbecoming of Egypt to fall silent while something like this happens, the government can’t really understand that it has a moral and a legal responsibility to rescue these people.”

About 13 local rights groups issued a statement on 29 December, calling on the government to intervene. The organizations say the African hostages are beaten, burned, and lashed with electric cables, while the captors communicate with their relatives to pressure them to pay ransom.

“Women are separated from the men and repeatedly gang raped by their captors,” they said in their statement.

I Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) said clinic staff began noticing a growing trend over the past few months of women, recently freed from detention, seeking abortions.

“In conversations with our doctors, many women confessed to being raped prior to entering Israel. Of a total of 165 abortions facilitated by the clinic between January and November 2010, PHR-Israel suspects half were requested by women who were sexually assaulted in the Sinai,” the update said.

During the same period, 1,303 women were referred for gynecological treatment, a large percentage as a result of the trauma endured in Sinai, according to PHR-Israel.

An Eritrean refugee  in Israel in Youtube , describes the torture he underwent on his way to Israel at the hands of Bedouin smugglers.”We were beaten brutally, whipped on the face and on sensitive body parts; we were chained, four persons on each side. One of the common methods [by the captors] to get more money is to call family members in Sudan and Eritrea and let them hear the painful cries of their relatives and ask for more money. Some US$4,000-8,000 is the price paid to smugglers to reach Israel,  I was very depressed. I did not know what to do. I could not pay $4,000, so I stayed in the desert for a month and a half. It was very hard.”

The 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report of the US Department of State describes Egypt as a source, transit, and destination country for women and children who are subjected to people-trafficking.

The government approved new legislation in May 2010 criminalizing people trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation.

“We only want to save these innocent people who suffer horrifying conditions in the detention camps in Sinai,” said Hossam Bahgat, a local rights activist.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said in November there were 39,461 refugees and asylum-seekers in Egypt. It said the majority of the refugees were Sudanese, followed by Iraqis, Somalis, Ethiopians, and Eritreans.

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