Eritrean Community in Colorado reacts to recent migrant deaths

“Until some change comes, let’s treat these people as human beings.”

Boulder resident Tzegai Negash came to Colorado from Sudan in July, 1984. He had left his homeland of Eritrea fleeing civil war and a repressive government. While he had to overcome many cultural barriers to settle in Colorado, his experience as an immigrant stands in stark contrast to that of thousands of Eritreans who face torture, kidnapping by human traffickers and death as they flee their country. “The suffering, the torture, the imprisonment inside Eritrea and on their way to flee Eritrea, they are victims of many, many, many inhumane acts, of the government, of the traffickers.”

In October 2013, 365 Eritreans drowned trying to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa. In April 2015 more than 350 Eritreans and migrants from other African countries drowned in the Mediterranean sea. Hundreds of thousands of Eritreans have fled a repressive dictatorship since 2001. The northeast African country is one of the largest per-capita producers of asylum seekers in the world.

Negash and other members of the Eritrean community in the US are planning a rally in Washington DC on June 19th to call for action and for the international community to find an urgent solution to the tragedy of those fleeing Eritrea and the plight of those who stay behind.