Leaked document show government estimates over half a million will sign petition denouncing UN human rights report on Eritrea

An Eritrean whistleblower that goes by the name Samuel has recently started publishing leaked government documents through a Facebook page: SACTISM: Classified documents of the dwindling PFDJ.

On April 20, SACTISM posted a seven-page document, in Tigrinya language, of a letter by Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs detailing a government plan to collect over 300,000 signatures from Eritreans for a petition that denounces the UN Commission of Inquiry and its ‘fabricated’ reports.

The letter, dated 12th of April 2016, is addressed to “All Eritrean missions” and to “Eritrean consulates in Canada and Australia” with copies to “(1) Coordinating committee; (2) Coordinator of Action Europe, Ambassador Fisehatsion Petros; and (3) Eritrean permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Ghirma Asmerom

The letter urges the responsible to collect signatures starting from 16th of April until 27th of May 2016 and fulfill their respective country’s “quota“. The document lists 25 countries including the Scandinavia region and sets the target number of signatures for the petition.


Target numbers of signatures to collect from Eritrean citizens residing abroad from the leaked government letter.

These numbers are perhaps indicative of the number of Eritreans in those countries (most of them as refugees or political asylees), and the level of influence and leverage the government believes it has on its citizens residing in each country.

The document details that this ‘drive’ is overseen by a certain “Global Eritrean Action for Justice” and all reports and copies of petitions are to be sent to it via email (eritreanglobalmekete@gmail.com). The letter also indicates that a peaceful rally will be held in relation to this petition sometime between 21st and 23rd of June.

Perhaps an interesting point is when the letter explains how the ‘drive’ will be mobilized. It indicates that “every citizen will take the petition form and collect signatures from their neighbors, friends, workmates and so on.” furthermore it indicates that during this mobilization, citizens will be “helped by groups, organizations and unions who will be leading the action.” It will be curious to know who those groups, organizations and unions are since most government organizations claim they are mere civic organizations with no political affiliation to Eritrean regime. In fact, in a recent well-publicized case, a member of one such Eritrean organization sued a Dutch professor for defamation because she claimed he has association with the Eritrean government (details of the incident here and here).

This also suggests that the signatures will be collected in a similar manner the 2% ‘diaspora tax’ is collected and Eritrean refugees are forced to sign a ‘letter of regret’ at Eritrean embassies and consulates. That is, through extortion.

The petition form reads:

“We, the undersigned reject the fabricated Reports of the Commission of Inquiry and the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights situation in Eritrea and request immediate nullification of the Reports and termination of their mandates, and instead promote constructive engagement!”


The petition form. Appendix 2 of the leaked document


A copy of the leaked document, which is written in Tigrinya language, can be downloaded here: Government_Petition2016_leak

Isaias Afewerki hides behind the term ‘Shaebia’: a selfless servant of the system

As the leader of an authoritarian government, president Isaias Afewerki is responsible for everything his government does. This is one of those very few facts that everyone agrees on — his supporters and opponents.

In spite of this fact, it is not normal for Eritreans to refer to the political system or the ‘era’ of its rule by the supreme leader (like you would for similar dictators like Mengistu or Idi Amin) or at least by its party name (like you would for the Ethiopian Derg or the ‘communists’). Eritreans refer to their system by an abstract name that attributes to the government’s political ideology–which itself is very abstract. The term ‘Shaebia‘ is the natural way of referring to their government. For example, you would caution a friend saying “Shaebia don’t like that.”; you would speak of a government supporter as “She is Shaebia.”; who killed him? “Shaebia killed him.”

Some people try to equate Shaebia with PFDJ, the ruling party, hoping to avoid controversies associated with the pre-independence elements of the current government (which is a hot potato issue and should be avoided whenever possible). But PFDJ does not feel right, and it does not cover the many ways the term ‘Shaebia’ is used. For instance, in the example above it would not be appropriate to say someone is PFDJ. PFDJ is the bureaucracy, it does not represent the ‘spirit’ of the government.

Let me elaborate this point with a true story from 2003 (or was it 2004). A sympathetic military police (MP) was escorting my friend to jail. My friend had publicly confronted a person in a cafe who reported on his brother’s whereabouts to the government that led to his brother’s arrest. A military officer heard of the confrontation and ordered the MP to take my friend to jail (a very normal Eritrean story so far). With a compassionate tone, the MP that was escorting my friend said, “You shouldn’t have done that friend, you don’t do that with Shaebia, they don’t tolerate such things.” My friend angrily replied, “who is Shaebia? is that you? you’re the one taking me to jail. Is it your commanding officer? his boss? who?”. The poor MP muttered with a deep thought for a while and struggling to find the right words he replied, “I don’t think it’s my boss or anything like that, Shaebia is…Shaebia is the spirit.”

“PFDJ is the bureaucracy, it does not represent the ‘spirit’ of the government.”

When discussing Eritrean politics and oppression, people who have not lived in Eritrea may think ‘Isaias Afewerki’, ‘the dictator’. People in Eritrea simply think ‘Shaebia’.

This line of thinking is significant because it hides Isaias Afewerki, the dictator, and obscures the personality cult that is pretty much there.  Isaias Afewerki has successfully managed to make himself invisible behind the Shaebia ‘concept’. In fact, Isaias Afewerki is simply a humble servant of the Shaebia. The appeal supporters and sympathizers see in Isaias Afewerki are that he is, apparently, a selfless servant of ‘the system’. He is a true Shaebia.

To the everyday Eritrean, using the phrases ‘PFDJ’, ‘Higidef’ or ‘DIA’ are as strange as referring to super PACs as ‘independent-expenditure only committees’. More accurate but it is as confusing and non-intuitive as the wordings in Facebook’s Terms and Conditions.

“Shaebia is an amorphous collage of things.”


Shaebia is an amorphous collage of things.

ሓደሽቲ ስውኣት ፦ መንግቲ ኣብ ማእከል ኣስመራ ሰብ ይቐትል

ዝሓለፈ ሰንበት፡ 3 ሚያዝያ፡ መንግስትና ካብ ኣገልሎት (ግዱድ ዕስክና) ከምልጡ ኢሎም ካብ ተሰቒሎመን ዝነበሩ ናይጽዕነት መኪና ዘሊሎም ክሃድሙ ንዝፈተኑ መንእሰያት፡ ከምቲ ኣብ ዶባት ኤርትራ ዝገብርዎ፡ ብብረት ተኩሶም ሰብ ከም ዝጎድኡን፡ ካብቶም ዝተጎድኡ ድማ ዝሞቱ ከምዘለው ውን ብዝተፈላለየ ምንጭታት ክንገር ቀንዩ።

ጋዜጠኛ ማርቲን ፕላውት፡ ካብ ውሽጢ ኤርትራ ብዝረኸቦ ሓበሬታ  መሰረት፡ ክሳዕ ሕጂ ዝተፈልጠ 29 ሰባት ከም ዝጎድኡ፡ ካብኣቶም ሽዱሽተ ብቕጽበት ክሞቱ ከለዉ ካልኦት 5 ድማ ኣብ ሕክምና ከምዝሞቱ፣ እቶም ዝተረፉ ድማ ኣብ ‘ሆስፒታል’፡ ኣብ ትሕቲ ጽኑዕ ሓለዋ ከምዘለዉ ሓቢሩ። ማርቲን ኣብ ጽሑፉ ናይቶም ዝሞቱ ናይ ኩሎም ኣስማት ኣለኒ፡ ቤተሰብ ክሳዕ ዘይተርኡ ግና፡ ናይቶም ቤተሰቦም ዝተረድኡ ጥራይ ክነግርየ ብምባል ናይ ክልተ መንነት ገሊጹ፡ ንሳቶም ድማ፦

  1. ጨዓይ ሃብተስላሴ ገብረመስቀል — ኣብኡ፡ ኣቶ ሃብተስላሴ፡ ኣብ ዓዲ ጓዕዳድ ዝቕመጡ ናይ እንዳ ዓለባ ሰራሕተኛ ‘ዮም።
  2. ያፍየት ፍስሃየ መንገሻ — ኣብኡ ኣቶ ፍስሃየ ኣብ ማይተመናይ ዝቕመጡ ኮይኖም ምስ መጎዓዝያ ዝተተሓሓዘ ስራሕ ‘ዮም ዝሰርሑ።

እዞም ክልተ መወትቲ ካብቶም ክሃድሙ ክብሉ ዝተቐትሉ ኣይኮኑን፡ ኣብቲ እዋን’ቲ ኣብቲ ከባቢ ስለ ዝነበሩ ዝተለከሙ ግለሰባትዮም።

ካብቶም ተጎዲኦም ኣብ ሕክምና ዘለው 18 ሰባት ድማ፡ ናይ 10 ሰባት ኣስማቶም ከምዚ ዝስዕብ ይዝርዝር፦

  1. ዳዊት ሚካኤል
  2. ኣብራሃም ፍሰሃ
  3. ሃብቶም ግርማይ
  4. መድሃኔ ገብረመድህን
  5. ቢንያም ዘርኣይ
  6. ዮናስ ጠዓመ
  7. ሰዓረ ወልዳይ
  8. ዮናታን ዓንደሚካኤል
  9. ባሲልዮስ ዘምህረት
  10. ሳሙኤል ተክኤ

ናብቲ ኣርእስቲ ጽሑፈይ ክመለስ፡ መንግስትና ነቶም ብግፍዒ ዝቐተሎም ግለሰባት “ስውኣት” ብምባል’ዩ ክጽውዖም፡ እዚ ድማ’ዩ ዝገርም ነገር። ብመሰረት መንግስትና ነቶም ግዳያቶ “ስውኣት” ይብሎም፡ ከም ኡ ድማ ነቶም ምስ መንግስቲ ኮይኖም ሰብ ዝቐትሉ ኣብ ዝሞቱላ መ ዓልቲ “ስውኣት” ይብሎም። ቀታሊን ተቐታልን ስው ኣት ዮም። ዘስደምም።

እዚ ድሕሪ ሞትካ ዝወሃብ ናይ “መስዋእቲ” ሽመት፡ ንመንግስትና ኣዝዩ ‘ዩ ዝጠቕሞ። ማለት ቤተሰብ ግዳያት-መንግስቲ፡ ወገኖም ከም ገበነኛ፡ ከም ሓደ ዓማጺ ሰብ ብኢድ መንግስቲ ተቐቲሉ ክነሱ፣ መንግስትና ብወገኑ፡ ብዘዕባ’ቲ ዝቐተልዎ ከም ሓደ ምስ ኦም ዝነበረ፡ ከም መሳርሕቶም ቆጺሮም “ስውእ” ይብልዎ። በዚ ኸምዚ፡ ነቲ ክፉእ ስርሖምን ነቲ ብከንቱ ዝጠፍኤ ህይወትን ከነኣእስዎ ይሕግዞም። ወረ ምንእኣስ ጥራይ ኣይኮነን፡ “ጅግና”፡ “ሓበን”፡ ወዘተረፈ ቃላት ኢናተጠቀሙ… ካብኡ ሓሊፉምውን “ ሕድሪ ሰማእታት” እናበሉ ነቲ ዝገበርዎ ገበን ምንእኣሱ ጥራይ ዘይኮነስ፡ ካብኡ ሓሊፎም ንዕኦምሓደ ጠቓሚ ባእታ ገይሮምዎ ‘ዮም። በዚ መሰረት ሓደ ዓሰርተ ወይ ዕስራ ‘ስውኣት’ እንተወሰኹ፡ ንመንግስትና ይጠቕሞም እምበር ኣይጎድኦ ምንይ’ዩ።