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Press Statement

The Embassy of the State of Eritrea to the Swiss Confederation is appalled by the provocative contents of a letter dated 17th April 2024 about Eritrea’s Independence Day as well as the normative annual celebrations associated with this honorable event.

The Embassy wishes to remind the Swiss authorities that 24 May 1991 marks the historic liberation of Eritrea after a thirty-year costly war against colonial occupation and that had exacted the unparalleled and precious sacrifices of over 60,000 Eritrean freedom fighters in the context of a small nation.

The people of Eritrea resorted to armed struggle in 1961 when their inalienable rights to nation-hood in the period of decolonization was trampled through a US-sponsored UN Resolution 390 A (V) that bound their country to Ethiopia for “overriding US Strategic interests”. Ethiopia went further to unilaterally abrogate, with impunity, the Federal Act and annex Eritrea in 1962.

Eritrea’s hard-won military victory on 24 May 1991 paved the way for the people of Eritrea to hold a referendum to illustrate to the wider world, their aspirations for national independence and dignity.

In April 1993, Eritreans inside Eritrea and across the globe cast their vote in a UN-sponsored referendum to decide whether or not they wanted Eritrea to be a sovereign state. The people of Eritrea voted with an overwhelming majority of 99.8% in favor of sovereignty.

In the immediate aftermath of the historic referendum, Eritrea acceded to and assumed its seat at the United Nations alongside countries like Switzerland.  Eritrea also established bilateral diplomatic ties with the community of sovereign nations as well as important regional and international organizations.

In the event, feigning ignorance of these historical events to desecrate Eritrea’s National Day is an irresponsible, reprehensible and unacceptable act of political and legal blasphemy of the highest order.  The Embassy of Eritrea requests immediate rescinding of the letter and appropriate remedial action.

Naturally, Eritreans at home and abroad have and continue to celebrate Independence Day in unison and with vigorous vibrancy as it symbolizes the day that so many have sacrificed so much to ascertain their inalienable national rights and human dignity.

In this perspective, the 24 May Eritrean independence celebrations which have been held in Switzerland, Europe and other parts of the World in the past three decades have always been peaceful family events. These events have been attended by all sections of the Eritrean community.

It is very unfortunate that since last year, a violent group claiming to be “Eritreans and fighting for the rights of Eritreans” have tried to disrupt the traditionally peaceful Eritrean Independence Day celebrations. These are naturally illicit acts of vandalism and threats to public safety that have to be dealt with in accordance with the law.

On the other hand, to appease these violent thugs, or use their illicit conduct to prevent law-abiding Eritreans in Switzerland from celebrating Independence Day peacefully and with civility –  as this has indeed been the normative tradition –  cannot be justifiable under any circumstances.

Embassy of the State of Eritrea to the Swiss Confederation

And to the United Nations

Geneva,

9 May 2024

 

 

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