Eritrea : Photos

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UNHCR News Story: Eritrean seeking safe-passage to Sudan was led into a nightmare

Women and girls in one of the nine refugee camps in east Sudan where survivors of trafficking receive assistance and protection from UNHCR to overcome their ordeal.
UNHCR / Lisa Pattison / April 2014

Eritrean seeking safe-passage to Sudan was led into a nightmare

KASSALA, Sudan, 16 April (UNHCR) – After 20 members of her religious congregation were imprisoned in Eritrea, Semret knew she had to flee to the safety of Sudan. The 25-year-old woman left on foot with a smuggler recommended by a friend – straight into a tragedy.


The Pentecostal church is among many denominations suffering severe restrictions. Anyone practising outside the four approved religions of Orthodox Christianity, Sunni Islam, Catholicism and Lutheranism can face prison, threats and harassment.


Coupled with Eritrea's strict exit requirements, many pay smugglers to take them to Sudan. These apparent freedom facilitators can present an even greater danger, which has triggered counter-trafficking measures by UNHCR and its partners.


"It is not easy to find the route or people to help you flee," Semret says. She put her trust in a smuggler recommended by a friend. She left with the smuggler and four male Eritreans, walking well into the night. Although Semret reached Sudan safely, she felt growing unease at being in a vast desert area notorious for kidnappings while her smuggler made secretive phone calls.


Suddenly, three men appeared in a pickup truck. "We were all running in different directions and scattered. They reached me first. I tried to escape again but they soon found me. I was beaten and dragged alone into their vehicle. "


Semret's three abductors drove her to an isolated camp consisting of a house and a few mud huts. Without anyone to pay a ransom for her release, she was subjected to daily beatings and rape.


"They came at any time that pleased them. They would bring coke and cake. I lived on coke and cake for seven months." Her voice falters as she remembers.


"After I got pregnant, they stopped closing the house and I managed to escape." Severely malnourished and dressed in a Jallabia (a long robe), Semret walked for hours to reach Kassala, a town 40 km from the border. The UNHCR office in the town was contacted and she was brought to a guesthouse where she received counselling before being driven to a refugee camp.


Seeing the increasing vulnerability of refugees and asylum-seekers in the eastern border area and around the refugee camps, UNHCR and IOM, in close cooperation with the Sudanese authorities, launched an anti-trafficking, smuggling and kidnapping project in 2012.


A comprehensive strategy planned for 2013-14 builds sustainability and complements the earlier project, which enhanced security in the eastern refugee camps, improved care of victims, enhanced Sudan's capacity and strengthened cooperation.


With the increased commitment by Sudanese authorities and more awareness of the risks, verified cases of trafficking by UNHCR tumbled from 338 in 2012 to 100 in 2013 and four by the end of this March. In addition, there have been no reports of kidnappings from the refugee camps themselves since February 2013.


For many trafficking victims, their ordeal does not end with liberation: post-traumatic stress, anxiety, sleeplessness and aggression can all appear. Counselling by UNHCR has been essential in helping individuals like Semret overcome the trauma.


In Semret's case, she learnt to see her pregnancy in a different light. "My daughter was born in January. I called her Heyabel, which means gift of God."


Name has been changed for protection reasons.


By Lisa Pattison in Kassala, Sudan




Debutant Mo

Ref: sc_20140413_8_0082, East Smithfield, London, UK, 13 April 2014, near mile 13, Virgin Money London Marathon 2014. Mo Farah (GB) leads Samuel Tsegay (Eritrea). Mo Farah, competing in his first marathon, would go on to finish eighth in a time of 2:08:21.

Note : this image is for Flickr only. Unless express permission is obtained, you may not use this image in any other way and you may not post this to blogs or social networking sites.




Afar Tribe Girl In Danakil Desert, Eritrea

The region where the Afar live is often referred to as the Afar Triangle, covering Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti, the place is aslo called Danakilia, and the afar people as Danakil; 300,000 afars live in Eritrea, they are nomadic or transhumanic, marriage preference is first cousin,the Afar practice infibulation and boys are circumcised




Irga Garage Building, Asmara, Eritrea

Irga building was constructed in 1961 and designed by Carlo Mazzetti: Asmara is the capital of Eritrea, and became an Art Deco laboratory during the 1930s, rationalism, Novecento, neo-Classicism, neo-Baroque and monumentalism are among the varied avant-garde styles that still can be seen there, the result today is hundreds of aging, sherbet-colored buildings that are still standing in the former italian quarter




Muslim Eritrean Woman, Massawa, Eritrea

Eritrea is a country in the Horn of Africa and a former Italian colony; the capital is Asmara and is bordered by Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, the country has more than 1,000 km of coastline on the Red Sea; from 1961 until 1991, Eritrea had fought a long war of independence against Ethiopia




Women At Festival Of Mariam Dearit, Keren, Eritrea

The Festival of Mariam Dearit takes place in May in Keren, Eritrea; thousands of visitors from all parts of the country come to pray, to worship the holy Mary, and to enjoy with a picnic, music and dance; the Mariam Dearit shrine is regarded a christian holy place, and a source of fertility, during the year the statue of the black Madonna stands in a very small shrine in a hollow old baobab tree; on May 29, the statue is carried around in a procession




Monday Camel Market In Keren, Eritrea

Keren (formerly Cheren) is the second largest city in Eritrea, lying north west of Asmara, it is the capital of the Anseba province and home of the Bilen tribe, every monday takes place a giant market: goats, sheeps, and camels are sold; camels are also used to carry burning wood; most of the people are muslim, men wear the turban, and look like sudanese people with their white robes, inside Keren, the old souq offers a typical arabic atmosphere




Crosses In Medebar Metal Market Asmara, Eritrea

Medeber is the Metal market in Asmara Eritrea, in the huge workshop workers turn heaps of scrap metal into useful items, the national eritrean mantra is self-reliance




Ruined Ethiopian Army Tank On The Massawa- Asmara Road, Eritrea

Eritrea is a country in the Horn of Africa and a former Italian colony; the capital is Asmara and is bordered by Suda, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, the country has more than 1,000 km of coastline on the Red Sea; from 1961 until 1991, Eritrea had fought a long war of independence against Ethiopia; there are 65 miles of road between Asmara and Massawa, it was built under italian times, and it winds down from an altitude of 2 438 m to sea level, going through valleys, deserts and the bush




Window Of An Old Ottoman House, Massawa, Eritrea.

Massawa, also known as Mitsiwa or Massaoua is a port city on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea, important for many centuries, it has been colonised by Egypt, the turkish Ottoman Empire, Italy, England and was finally part of Ethiopia until the independence of Eritrea in 1991 after a long war, the old town is still full of old houses, but many are in ruins, as heavy fights took place between eritrean and ethiopian armies; Massawa is the place to reach the Dalhak archipelago




Fiat Tagliero Garage In Asmara, Eritrea

Asmara is the capital of Eritrea, and became an Art Deco laboratory during the 1930s, rationalism, Novecento, neo-Classicism, neo-Baroque and monumentalism are among the varied avant-garde styles that still can be seen there, the result today is hundreds of aging, sherbet-colored buildings that are still standing in the former italian quarter; Fiat Tagliero gas station was designed in 1938 by Giuseppe Pettazzi to look like an airplane, Pettazzi’s extraordinary flourish was the concrete wings that jut out a total of more than 90 feet




Beans In Asmara Mercato, Eritrea

Asmara is the capital of Eritrea, and became an Art Deco laboratory during the 1930s, rationalism, Novecento, neo-Classicism, neo-Baroque and monumentalism are among the varied avant-garde styles that still can be seen there, the result today is hundreds of aging, sherbet-colored buildings that are still standing in the former italian quarter




Ottoman Building At Night In Massawa, Eritrea

Massawa, also known as Mitsiwa is a port city on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea, important for many centuries, it has been colonised by Egypt, the turkish Ottoman Empire, Italy, Britain and was finally part of Ethiopia until the independence of Eritrea in 1991 after a long war, the old town is still full of old houses, but many are in bad shape, as heavy fights took place between eritrean and ethiopian armies; Massawa is the place to reach the Dalhak archipelago




Monday Camel Market In Keren, Eritrea

Keren (formerly Cheren) is the second largest city in Eritrea, lying north west of Asmara, it is the capital of the Anseba province and home of the Bilen tribe, every monday takes place a giant market: goats, sheeps, and camels are sold; camels are also used to carry burning wood; most of the people are muslim, men wear the turban, and look like sudanese people with their white robes, inside Keren, the old souq offers a typical arabic atmosphere




Boy In Asmara, Eritrea

Asmara is the capital of Eritrea, and became an Art Deco laboratory during the 1930s, rationalism, Novecento, neo-Classicism, neo-Baroque and monumentalism are among the varied avant-garde styles that still can be seen there, the result today is hundreds of aging, sherbet-colored buildings that are still standing in the former italian quarter




Afar Tribe Boy In Dissei Island, Dahlak Archipelago, Eritrea

The region where the Afar live is often referred to as the Afar Triangle, covering Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti, the place is aslo called Danakilia, and the afar people as Danakil; 300,000 afars live in Eritrea, they are nomadic or transhumanic, marriage preference is first cousin,the Afar practice infibulation and boys are circumcised




Old Train In Asmara Train Station, Eritrea

The Eritrean Railway was constructed between 1887 and 1932 for the Italian colony of Eritrea, and connected the port of Massawa with Bishia near the Sudan border, the line was essentially destroyed by war with Ethiopia, but has been rebuilt between Massawa and Asmara, old steam trains are still used on this line for the tourists




Nefasit Railway Station, Eritrea

The Eritrean Railway was constructed between 1887 and 1932 for the Italian colony of Eritrea, and connected the port of Massawa with Bishia near the Sudan border, the line was essentially destroyed by war with Ethiopia, but has been rebuilt between Massawa and Asmara, old steam trains are still used on this line for the tourists




Asmara Opera House, Eritrea

Asmara is the capital of Eritrea, and became an Art Deco laboratory during the 1930s, rationalism, Novecento, neo-Classicism, neo-Baroque and monumentalism are among the varied avant-garde styles that still can be seen there, the result today is hundreds of aging, sherbet-colored buildings that are still standing in the former italian quarter




Little Girl From Asmara With Traditional Hairstyle, Eritrea

Asmara is the capital of Eritrea, and became an Art Deco laboratory during the 1930s, rationalism, Novecento, neo-Classicism, neo-Baroque and monumentalism are among the varied avant-garde styles that still can be seen there, the result today is hundreds of aging, sherbet-colored buildings that are still standing in the former italian quarter





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