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Letter to the Prime Minister Harper from the Coalition of Eritrean Canadian Communities

Eritrean-Canadian delegation - Senai Iman and Lambros Kyriakakos

December 23, 2014


Subject: Letter to the Prime Minister Harper from the Coalition of Eritrean Canadian Communities and Organizations

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Dear Prime Minister Harper,

1. We are writing on behalf of the 30,000 Canadians of Eritrean descent to urge your government to take immediate action in lifting the Regulations implementing the UNSC Resolution 1907, and ease restrictions on the people of Eritrea and its Diaspora. We are deeply concerned that government policy towards Eritrea since 2010 has not changed despite an October 2014 UN report that found no evidence linking Eritrea to the instability in Somalia. As community leaders we believe that sanctions encroach more upon the freedoms of civilian populations and particularly in our case Canadians of Eritrean origin. We view sanctions at the very least as a counterproductive manner of promoting ones concrete interests, and at worst an indefensible method of achieving policy objectives through the collective punishing of a people struggling to become self-sufficient. Furthermore, sanctions isolate and aggravate peace and security and have historically—as in the case of U.S-Cuban relations, not been reliable instruments in effecting desired change. It is ordinary Eritreans who are paying the price associated with the burden of political and economic isolation, on the basis of what we believe to be unsubstantiated charges.

2. Eritrea is a much maligned and misunderstood country. Adverse media coverage of the country makes it challenging for policymakers to understand and appreciate the true nature of its current state. Policymakers and individuals who favour Canadian sanctions and restrictions on Eritrea will often avail themselves of an analogy between Eritrea and North Korea to justify the punishment of African countries that are deemed as “rogue". In our opinion, sanctions play into Eritrea’s deeply-rooted historical narrative of persecution at the hands of the West. Like the colonial system before it, there has been an established engagement by the West with African countries that has been in place since the second half of twentieth century. Largely the product of US-led organizations, this “order” has brought stability and prosperity to much of the West. But like colonialism before it, this order has had tragic reciprocal consequences and contributed to the general uncertainties of the times in which we live. For many years after the Second World War, it did these things in the name of preventing the spread of communism, as in Canada’s support for pro-western leaders like Emperor Haile Selassie—who caused much suffering in Eritrea as a result of human rights violations carried out by imperial soldiers. Eritreans turned to the West and the United Nations in the 1950s for support but much of this fell on to deaf ears because of our pre-occupation at the time with stemming the tide of communism. Canada’s foreign policy justified an alliance with Ethiopia and eventually became the tacit acceptance of the repressive practices conducted against the Eritrean people. Today, the pendulum has only shifted slightly in the opposite direction. Canada and our allies continue to work and cooperate with monarchies and repressive regimes around the world. Acknowledging the double standard in the application of sanctions may be the first constructive step towards improving the diplomatic relationship between Canada and Eritrea and re-establishing peace and security in the Horn of Africa.

3. We believe Canada’s main interest in the Horn should be the peaceful development of Eritrea as a stable trade and cultural partner. There are already reasons to do so - Eritrea is Canada’s largest source of gold in Sub-Saharan Africa and it is strategically located at the southern end of the Red Sea—a prime location for the lucrative trade with Asia and Europe. Because of its proximity to the Middle East, it also carries broader strategic implications for Canada. Whatever affects Eritrea, sooner or later, will affect Canada—whether it is preventing a blockade of oil lanes or keeping the Red Sea and Indian Ocean region free from threats of piracy or terrorism.

4. We cannot accept either that the sanctions today are necessary to prevent Eritrea from funding radical militant groups like Al-Shabaab. Since the media first began reporting it, this line has become part of a body of generally accepted truisms about Eritrea that are used to support the need for sanctions. It is a statement that disregards contradictory or nuanced statements made by the same organization that first made the claim back in 2009. Early in 2011, versions of the rumor that Eritrea supported Al-Shabaab were written in the National Post. Since 2012, the UN itself found no evidence of support by Eritrea to Al-Shabaab during the course of its mandate. Despite this, the National Post continued to report, even as late as July 2014, that Eritrea backed Al-Shabaab. The same is true for a confidential RCMP report from 2012 that we obtained via a Freedom of Information Request, stating that allegations of funds being used to support AlShabaab come entirely from complainants referred to as individual members of groups opposed to the Eritrean Government. The RCMP later confirms in the same report that proving that money paid in taxes or contributions goes to Al-Shabaab is impossible given the lack of evidence.

5. We also recognize that sanctions play a role in economically isolating Eritrea and pushing its citizens to flee in search for opportunity in wealthier countries in Europe and North America. According to the oft-cited human rights organization known as Human Rights Watch, Eritreans flee because of mass torture, random political repression, and severe restrictions on freedom of religion. Nearly all major news organizations in Canada have routinely used HRW reports when reporting on Eritrea. Solid facts about the situation in Eritrea are hard to come by and HRW has no physical presence in the country -- thus making their reports unsubstantiated and speculative. Conversely, a recent report from the Danish government published after a fact finding mission to the country in October 2014, concludes that Eritreans leaving the country in increasing numbers is more likely attributable to the economic situation as well as the fatigue of national military service. That is why individuals who visit Eritrea on vacation or on diplomatic mission, for example, notice a disparity between the dire situation that is reported by human rights organizations and what things appear to be on the ground. The Danish government's report states that hardly anyone leaves Eritrea for political reasons alone.

6. On the issue of military service, it may be said that resolving the long-standing occupation of Eritrea’s sovereign territory by Ethiopia, in violation and in disregard of international law, could help accelerate the demobilization of National Service conscripts and curb the volume of individuals leaving their homeland. Our organization is deeply concerned that a wider effort by the government of Ethiopia to push for sanctions on Eritrea rather than peace, and targeting remittance of the Diaspora is a regrettable and indefensible way of putting pressure on Eritrea. The Canadian parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade accepted that resolving this occupation was central to improving the human rights situation in the region. In 2005, the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy said,

"the lack of resolution of the conflict is such a large and powerful force that impedes any efforts, whether it's human rights improvement or poverty reduction or agricultural reform. It's like that big 800-pound gorilla that's sitting there, and you just can't get around it. Until the conflict itself is resolved, any efforts in these other areas I think would be severely impeded."

More recently, Canada publicly reaffirmed its recognition of the 2000 Algiers Peace Agreement and the final and binding resolution of the Border Commission awarding disputed territory to Eritrea.

7. We hope that the information and context argued above provide the foundation for engaging in a more frank, and constructive conversation about Eritrea and Canadians of Eritrean origin.


Lambros Kyriakakos

On behalf of the—Coalition of Eritrean Canadian Communities and Organizations

Hon. John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Hon. Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

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Letter to the Prime Minister Harper from the Coalition of Eritrean Canadian Communities Reviewed by Admin on 12:44 AM Rating: 5


  1. Thank u CECCO. We're proud of u!!!
    ወትሩ ዓወት ንሓፉሽ!!...

  2. The name of the so called coalition should have to be Coalition AssYasian Canadians (CAC).

  3. The usual nonsense! "Let no grass grow after my death!" said the donkey!

  4. Proud of you. Thank you for job well done.

  5. Mahmud:
    Negative comments are more acceptable than stupid comments.
    I hope you are proud of your "creativity".
    BTW: Lifting the un-just sanctions will reduce the number of young Eritreans who would be risking their life for "better" life somewhere else in to the unknown.

  6. Happy Holidays & Happy 2015
    --Lambros Kyriakakos and

    --Coalition of Eritrean Canadian Communities and Organizations.
    The world is coming to know a clear picture of Eritrea and its leadership. The light under the tunnel is getting brighter by the day, thanks to the true ambassadors of Eritrea like CECCO.

  7. Alec you, you're the devil.

  8. Wow!
    You have impressed everyone of us.
    Keep the Low IQ comments coming.

  9. Senai and Kyriakakos: in which planet do you live? Please have attentyion to the gross human rights violation that is committed by the ineot junta called HIGDEF. IIf you love eritrea, defend the right of eritreans.

  10. B.adal: in which planet do you live? Please have attentyion to the gross human rights violation that is committed by the ineot junta called HIGDEF. IIf you love eritrea, defend the right of eritreans.

  11. It really is sad bro.

  12. I don't usually response to comments from pen names like "AREGAWI". Well, it the Holiday season, I will respond today ... Sorry, I will be back ...
    I have to go, my Dog is waiting for me to take him out of the house.

  13. It is truly Sad.
    These are known as "Eritrean Opposition".

  14. Because your words flow like honeycomb. they are sweeter than honey than honey from the honeycomb and his smell is like the smell of Sulfur. his words were softer than oil, at one time full of soothing and flattery. your intention is to mislead people. just like the devil misled the good sheep from their shepherd.

  15. You're the one that truly sad.

  16. I agree with you only on one thing, that is, I am truly sad wasting my time reading your comments.

    If you want people to take you serious, start getting serious. I won't respond to you negatively just because you happen to oppose PFDJ, however, I will respond in-kind if you prefer to use un-necessary pen-names and name calling.

  17. Hgdef coming with another white man to entice if Canada authorities can listen them.Opposition in Canada is Iron amalgamated and hard to intimidate. Canada knows the Junta Hgdef very well. This white guy and the other guy do not represent Eritreans in Canada. There is no way 30.000 Eritreans in Canada supporting the dictator.There is no proof that much people support the brutal dictator. As Eritrean the paper does not represent me and I denounce it. The opposition in Canada know how to handle mercenaries like the white guy,who is there to beg for the mercy of hgdef. No to dictatorship,Yes for constitution,free press and democracy.

  18. I would have too; bro, but that fly aregawi might dive-in, I don't want to spend my day saying Ahhhk ..TuhF aregawi!!!

  19. hahahahaha
    Happy Holidays & Happy 2015 forto sawa.

  20. Let us know how you feel when you wake up from your dream.

  21. He scares you, doesn't he? He tells it like it is!

  22. Do you mean, the sanctions and aggression of PFDJ on Eritrean People.

  23. "Let no grass grow after my death!" said the donkey!
    That is what exactly the stupid dictator of Eritrea is doing.

  24. I'm tending to believe it. He/she always "hitting" on Alec you? Scared of him does make sense. I'm going to observe him/her from now on :).

  25. b'hahahaha....good one man. U really made my day bro. thanks hahahahaha.....

  26. I think wen he/she seem, well they say here com the boom...LOL...hahaha...

  27. well bro, observe cuz am gonna talk loco with this laqwa..LOL..hehehehe...

  28. Okay so u wana go bible on me. LOL...bring it on LOCO.....

    Misled ? why would i mislead people they have their own choice to read ma comments and whether they like it or not, it depends on them.

    Okay, time to go a lil bible.....:)

    Am here, to defend Eri at all cost from those so called opposition group-(መቦቆል-ትግራይ- ዘለዎም) that are invented by the kedmti woyane in ደብረዘይቲ ብወያነ ተጠፍጢፉ ዝተሰርሐ ማሕበር, that are based on Regionalism, Religism, Ethnicsm and no Nationalism. Those are the enemies that are misleading pple. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. they talk kindly smooth as butter (they talk about human rights), yet war is in their heart (they want the Eritreans pple to start a war by joining the enemy against Shaebia the back bone of Eritrea). their words are more smoother than oil, yet they are drawn swords (they want the youth to flee and die so the people can turn on their government out of despair-they made them a game in their plan as- casualty of cold war).

    So tell me who is the devil here?. hmmmmm... i refuse to listen to this snakes cuz they only serve others not Eritrea. They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live in the land, peacefully.

  29. Het off his back...stupid! if it was for your kind the country would have been in pieces.

  30. Dreaming again hmmm...well i guess there is no cure for that except the robe, Sorry!.

  31. wel said,Canada government follow the evil of american empire against eritrea people.But now remember all the sanction cause they propagated for years became Saddam mass destruction.what they are doing is find eritrean who sold their soul to destroy eritrea for ever.Those criminals are have no problem with Isayas,they problem is with Eritrea it self,because iseyas will never live for ever,they are so frustrated he stayed long more than they planed.
    Let me tell you a year a go my old friend went to addis for so called Eritrea opposition meeting,one of the top Ethiopian Intelligence,asked him why you Eritrea opposition are so weak comparing with those who were with mengistu wel organised,wel equipped,wel educated.
    my friend said,I shocked by hearing this,I said why?he replied well,we are not the same,what is your difference? hmmmm...
    This man is a brave ethiopian man who told you who you are! eritrea opposition always as Ethiopian mercenaries! nothing else
    today American and other countries are looking other option,the only option left is fund blindly to those who ready to burn eritrea people,the song is ESEYAS and WANTED democracy which is exactly like libya,iraq afgan,somalia or worse than that.
    All eritreans are invited to watch the RT TV and documentary to see the crime american and their friends committed.
    I call all eritrean young please,eritrea is not esseyas,those criminals wedogoba who burned eritrea people for 40 years are coming back in different approach.
    They are so frustrated,some they are saying we are regional,no body asked them to represent them,just they are mercenaries,they are funded well by FBI and CIA and other NGO,to burn eritrea once for all.
    they burned us for 40 years.
    let me add others,in 1987 eritrean fighters defected to ethiopia,most of them get weapons from ethiopia and came back to our village,it was sunday,and I am grade 4,the village circled by huge ethiopian soldiers lead by those who have no mercy on us,started fire the Hidmo,mothers cried loudly the smoke of the village change like fog we could not see who is who,one old lady burned inside because the mercenaries and the soldiers collected us in the church,the priest went out shouted eritrean traitors who burned the village you criminal yes you dont have mercy on us are happy now that is your mum burned her body,they tied him and beat him.I had problem to sleep after that for years,after independent the government should bring them to justice those 80,000 criminals who worked with ethiopia,but the government just spread mercy of water they freed,now this encouraged them back to ethiopia back cia,destroy Embassy,they are doing every evill to eritrean people
    I called young eritrea never try to join those criminals,
    One of the traitors who burned our village was asked by the eldely of the village not to do again after month in keren,but he are right but I started the crime once no body will give mercy now...the only option is to continue alas...geben
    I am just a victim of ethiopian criminal colony and eritrean mercenaries,I dont want eritrea to burn a gain..who want to burn execept those criminals.
    They are trying every thing possible eritrea to flame,
    but I will never forget the government should do more,about prisoners
    and young handlers.Those holes are window for criminals who are crying every where,they have got Tv now,they are well funded to do the dirty job we know them,Eritrea asked heavy price to be alive,why we let to fall on the hand of HYENAS,,,,,who have no mercy as long as got money.
    AWET nehafash AGAIN

  32. Why don't you take care of one lemani Eritrean from one of the refugee camps in Tigrai instead.

    You have a dog? You must be one rich ass Anseba.

  33. You better say "Happy Italian Masters' Holiday". Shameful ppl. You have nothing to do with the Gregorian Calendar. However, as your nation is created to be ass licker, you are trying to be proud with a distant and foreign thing by dropping your thousands' year history.

  34. Yes I have a Dog, who is trained to identify woyenty like you. Not again!
    He wants one more poop in your name. Sorry.

  35. thanks Alec,it is our job to defend the country that asked us incredible price, thousands of Eritreans sloughed and buried alive by the Eritrea traitors. They are coming now, bad luck, with new song..under cover Iseyas but the agenda is put back Eritrea on hell,
    don't worry we will never sleep Eritrea to fall on the hand of those criminals

  36. Sam
    Thanks for "edmucating" me.

  37. This traitors they deserted the people/Eritrea in the time of struggle. and now wen Shaebia get our Independence with sweat and blood!!! This traitors they try to act like they care, they only care/come for power. y'germ!! they can't deceive us.

  38. Poor you, its just a holiday....what a low !Q..Dukaei.

    Stupid You Are, Breed You Should Not

  39. Ras Alula,
    Don't be confused, in Eritrea we have only and only ONE LEADER, the others are just his servants, Do you know that the so called ministers, Generals etc. call Isias by "Amena".

  40. Ras alula ras adgi
    think for the whole horn africa,why you happy by the false sanction against Eritrea resilience people,
    if Ethiopia is sanction do you think only hurt the top weyani ellit,
    the Ellit will be fine because they have money collected from poor Ethiopian people.There for I will never support sanction to any country,because it hurt ordinal people,look Cuba..look Russia
    But Alula who are greedy and thick skin,nothing to you what ever,you might be in profitable place.Though I hate junta Ethiopian leaders,but I never think saction to them,because it goes straight to the poor people.
    Dont be donkey Alula,think like human.Those Un is never sanction American empire,look can you treat such horrific tragedy treatment Alula...Alula.

  41. Bro, in Eritrea we have just one devil and he is the tyrant DIA. The real devil has left long time ago when he realized that Nusu is performing his work better than him, so Alec you and his clan members are worshipers of the devil DIA.

  42. You and ur hgdef tongue is like a fire, a world of iniquity. I am in the midst of beasts; I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts hgdef men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. Break the teeth in their mouths, O jebha tear out the fangs of those beasts. But if not, let fire come out from Eritrea and devour them all. the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

  43. scared i enly scared of our lord jesus christ. only allec you he tell a lie.

  44. you believe wrong. wake up !

  45. Yes all of them are.

  46. gasha yes you r hallaye.

  47. you r liveing diaspora you r free you cant feel what our people r feeling they are trap inside Eritrea with out a voice. yes you r sleeping in yr comfort bed they are dieing every day.

  48. there are no opposition group መቦቆል-ትግራይ zelowome DIA him self is ትግራይ send by them to devour us all. yu hate them then how com yu with them.

  49. this is a surprise Alec you the skinny lollipop changed his hideous photo. thank yu God.

  50. yu still stupid.

  51. his not the devil the devil is smart. this are prostitute of sheboon. kkkk

  52. I think you're the low IQ here. A day can't just be a holiday unless an important religious, historical or other event is attached to it.

    I think in few years you will start to celebrate Fidel Castro's birthday. And, you'll effort to be Cubans will miserably fail as it was the case when you tried to be first Italian slaves ( I think this part worked), then Arabs, Sigapoooorians and to some degree Vietnamese.... Please just be Ansebas.

  53. It is never too late to learn. At least you are better than your stupid leader who took quarter a century to figure out that camels can't swim.

  54. Hahahaha....oh man u making me laugh hard....wat a bone head u are. sad really wat a waste.

  55. O u for reallllllllllllllll.......?

  56. Yep, ma head was so heavy i can't take anymore so, i have to change the pic. :?)

  57. U just revealed ur self that you're Agame wahid. qomal....

  58. U who practice deceit, ur tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor. Am here fighting for ma beloved-Eritrea...Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity.

    What they spew from their mouths-(jebha the deserters of Eritrea) they want a civil war, rebellion against the back bone of Eritrea-(shaebia); that was what Ahithophel meditated in their heart; and nothing less than to take away the life of Eritrea was designed by Jebha. They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent's; the poison of vipers is on their lips. they are even at war within them "they are divided, by Sub region, Religion and Ethnicsm" till this very day that is, their mouth and their heart: "their mouth was butter, and their heart war"; wen Shaebia declared for peace, they-(jebha) intended for war. jebha took badme as a beacon of hope for their battle against the guardians of Eritrea.

    The words from their lips are sharp as swords, and they shout,"Who can hear us?" and i replayed...loudly!!.. not me, nope!! i don't want to parish in the dessert or at the sea, for their evil vendetta.

  59. No! do tell go on.....and then...

  60. And then right now I am transferring a money that was donated by the Canadians for the Eri refugees in the north to my own account. And the reason is coz I wanna keep'em a couple bitches on their knees and sucking on me.

    I am wasting time! this is the result of arguing with stupid people. Being dragged to their level.

  61. I know my Dog has higher IQ than you, which is high in Dogs level. He is barking, he understood what I wrote; I hope you do :)
    Don't worry, it's all about time.

  62. Sam
    I don't mind Stupid guys when they are funny.

  63. Who are you aregawian to say so? I say PFDJ or EPLF, is the people's movement who fights for Eritrea's freedom..Our vision endeed..neseka ke men yebluka?
    zey melaelteka aytetzeweh..


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