Diplomats of Eritrea have again raised money among compatriots in the Netherlands. This was preceded by an appeal from the Eritrean embassy, who asked in the spring to contribute at least EUR 100 to the fight against coronavirus in Eritrea, reports VPRO radio programme Argos.
Members of the Eritrean community in the Netherlands said that representatives of the country have also visited the doors to raise money. People who paid declared that they were under pressure, including the threat that the family in Eritrea would not receive food coupons if they were not paid.
A list of payments received by Argos shows that at least 155,000 euros have been raised. Some of them come from supporters of the military regime, or organisations affiliated with the regime, but on the list there are also people who have fled from that regime. We are talking about hundreds of status holders, but also about people who still live in an asylum seeker centre.
The action is remarkable: two years ago, the highest Eritrean diplomat was expelled from the Netherlands, because the regime forced former compatriots in the Netherlands to pay taxes to Eritrea. Intimidation was not shunned, the then Minister Zijlstra of Foreign Affairs wrote to the House of Representatives.
MPs want the Cabinet to take measures. Minister Blok informed Argos that he would ask the Eritrean embassy for clarification. He also calls on people who are victims to report charges. “If there are legitimate suspicions of criminal offences, the prosecutors office will investigate.”
The episode of Argos can be listened to this afternoon on NPO Radio 1 from 2pm to 3pm.