fredag 13. januar 2012

Skrekken i Syria

Skrekken i Syria

Ethiopian paperless asylum seekers speech at candle light on 12 January, 2012

The plight of paperless Ethiopian asylum seekers in Norway.

On behalf of the Ethiopian paperless asylum seekers in Norway and my own, I would like to thank you and the organizers of this event for coming to show your solidarity and be a voice for voiceless. Moreover I would like to thank those who are not here for many reasons but stand beside us to challenge and explain our gruesome situations for the Norwegian authorities through the different Media, letters and face to face meetings so that they can listen to us.
At last but not least, I wish all of you and the others who are not here with us a Happy New Year. The last two or three weeks represented a special occasion for all of us; you received and gave gifts to all your beloved families and friends. People around us have celebrated the Christmas and received the New Year with spectacular fireworks filled with hope and pleasures. While all these were taking place in our neighborhoods, we the paperless asylum seekers were thinking about our uncertain future and have received the New Year without any hope.

Until the end of 2010, we used to work, pay taxes, loans and bills, earn money to cover our needs, exchanged gifts during Christmas and celebrated holidays. We have integrated ourselves into the welcoming Norwegian society and considered ourselves as one of you despite the limited access and rights social security and other social provisions. Many of us had led this sort of precarious life for a decade or more but our situation has turned out to be the worst as of the end of 2010. Our current life situation is so difficult that we have been forced to depend on friends, members of our communities or beg on the streets and to enter the black labor market where we are abused and exploited by employers who pay less than 20 to 30 kroner per hour and at times send us home without any payment. We have to accept and bear with this deplorable situation because some of us have responsibilities to support families back home or do not want to live in the asylum camps where depressions and stresses take their tolls on our physical and mental health or conditions.

Asylum seekers with the final negative decision and order to leave Norway, get small money which is not enough to cover essential needs. This difficult economic situation had attracted even the attention of the Norwegian media. Specially, it is difficult for women, families with children, diabetic and heart patients to live with this little money in such conditions. Children become often sick, and their parents cannot afford visits to see doctors and medicines. Children are forced to grow up with insufficient nutrition. The long stay without permits and the lack of adequate diets, lead to deteriorating health conditions which can be long lasting and negatively affect the future lives of the persons. The impact on children is even more worrisome and needs swift solutions. We are also affected by transmittable diseases because we do not periodically undergo the required health checkups and examinations. This represents a risk even to the Norwegian society as a whole.

We Ethiopians are the main victims of being irregular migrants for many years with no rights to a private doctor, identity card, education, marriage, recreation places like clubs and cinema. It is common for the women to reach the menopausal stage before having children. The same is true for men. These deplorable situations forced us to stage a hunger strike for a week, erect a tent beside the Oslo cathedral and then trek on foot the more than 640 km historic journey from Oslo to Trondheim last year to highlight our plight to the public and get a lasting solution. Of course, we thank you so much for your help and sharing of our pains.

Why do all these happen to us in this modern and civilized nation where human dignity and values are highly respected and which is the home of the Nobel Peace prize? Should asylum politics come before humanity?

Dear all

Today, Ethiopians are under the worst dictatorial leaders ever in our history, who massacre and commit genocide using force, starvation and incite conflicts and preach and spread hatred among citizens. Farmers are systematically punished, accused of supporting and voting for the opposition parties. They are denied access to fertilizers, improved seeds and different social services. Their fertile farming land is taken away and sold to foreign investors from China, India and Saudi Arabia. The newly graduated Students are denied jobs and further education opportunities if they do not become the members and supporters of the ruling party or front. Membership and loyalty to the authorities are the keys to job and higher education opportunities. Civil servants lose their jobs for the same reasons. The government has enacted different draconian laws including the anti-terrorism law mainly aimed at penalizing dissent, curbing freedom of expression, free media and to crack down on its opponents and pro-democracy activists.

Journalists of the free press, leaders, suspected members and supporters of the opposition parties are thrown into the worst and notorious prisons on tramped up and fictitious charges, exposed to tortures and other inhuman treatments. The recent court charade against the two Swedish journalists is one example of the examples in this regard. All these happened to us while we were in Ethiopia because of our different, dissenting political views and opinions. Most of us have resumed our struggle for democracy, justice and freedom in Norway as exiles. Our political activities and identities in Norway are closely monitored, filmed and photographed by the agents of the ethno-fascist regime in Ethiopia.

Therefore, the risks of persecution and punishment we face upon our return to Ethiopia have forced us to make the difficult choice of leading this deplorable life as paperless or irregulars with practically no rights in Norway. Most of us would never choose to abandon our homes, loved ones, communities and country and expose ourselves to this suffering and hard life as refugees. If peace, security and some opportunities had existed in Ethiopia, many of us would not have needed to be ordered to leave Norway. We would have gone back voluntarily.

søndag 1. januar 2012


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