THE SOCCER-STAR REFUGEES OF ERITREA

DC 387200040002 Samson, Eritrean Football Squad, Francistown, Botswana for The New Yorker Magazine 14-17.03.16-David Chancellor 001

From The New Yorker:

“When Arefaine boarded the plane, he had never been outside the country. For Eritreans, this is not unusual: Eritrea is one of the few nations that require an exit visa. An isolated, secretive state of some four million people, it has been under emergency rule since 1998. The United Nations has accused its military and its government—including the President, a former rebel leader named Isaias Afewerki—of crimes against humanity toward their own people, including indefinite conscription, arbitrary arrests and torture, and mass surveillance. “There are no civil liberties, there is no freedom of speech, there is no freedom to organize,” Adane Ghebremeskel Tekie, an activist with the Eritrean Movement for Human Rights, said. “The regime can do anything it wants.” According to the U.N., as many as five thousand people flee the country every month, making it one of the world’s largest sources of refugees. Last year, thirty-eight hundred people drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea; many of them were Eritreans.”

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