Eritrea: The Proclamations versus the Shabait response doesn’t add up…

3. Payment of Rehabilitation Tax

With the exception of those who have limited income and are exempt from paying income tax, any individual with income, shall according to the articles specified in this proclamation, has the obligation to pay a rehabilitation tax that takes care of disabled freedom fighters, members of the family of disabled freedom fighters and the martyrs, and those members of the society who sustain injury due to natural catastrophes” (Proclamation 17, 10.12.1991).

I don’t know about you… but when you have old texts and proclamations, which is the legal texts for the theme in question. There should be no shadow of a doubt what is going on. No one should be shocked if the Eritrean government is willing to lie or deceive. That’s what they are known for doing and this regard… they are doing it again.

Yes, the Ministry of Information or Shabait is trying to dismiss stories written about the involuntarily imposed tax. A taxation of the diaspora and a measure, which states that Eritrean citizens in the diaspora have the obligation and shall pay the tax. That differs from the wordings in the article or statement posted yesterday. The Proclamations of 1991 and 1995 isn’t aligned with the wording of Shabait. That should be compelling and telling about how they want it all to look like. Instead of being sincere and honest about the tax. They are instead acting holier then thou, because they don’t think people have access to the documents, which are the basis for the tax in the first place.

As it continues in the 1995 proclamation…

1. Short title

This proclamation is called “Proclamation Number 67/1995, a Tax Payment Proclamation for Eritreans in Diaspora Who Have Income”.

2. Tax payment

Any Eritrean citizen who lives outside of Eritrea and earns an income from employment, rent from movable and non-movable property, from business, from professional, or from a service charge of any other work or activity must be a 2% (two percent) tax of the net income on a monthly or annual basis” (Tax Payment Proclamation for Eritreans in Diaspora Who Have Income, 10.02.1995).

Now that you have read this part, which are blatant and direct. Both Proclamations was made by the Eritrean government and not grassroot organizations. This was government program or policy, which are a way of raising domestic revenue from outside sources. That is very clear and the intent is there. The proclamations are direct about who has to pay and such. In the 1995 proclamation the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for collecting the tax payment and have to use the entities or offices associated with the Ministry in the diaspora to do so. The Ministry later is ordered to directly deposit the tax payments to the Ministry of Finance and Development’s treasury account in the Bank of Eritrea. Therefore, we can see the scheme and tax is implemented with a clear goal.

That’s why you have to read these small fragments of the Shabait response on the matter.

Shabait Response in 2023:

The overriding desire was to imbue some structure and uniformity to what was effectively a burgeoning spontaneous and voluntary grassroots movement. Subsequently with clear objective of funding countries’ social and development programs, in 1994, the Eritrean National Assembly enacted the Rehabilitation and Recovery Tax Proclamation (RRT). The RRT Proclamation specifically targets only Eritrean citizens in the Diaspora, not citizens of other countries of Eritrean descent. The rate was fixed at a low of 2% of net income; in a country where personal income tax is progressive and reaches 38%.” (…) “The legality of the RRT is unambiguous, and purposes laudable. It represents a symbolic burden shared by the Eritreans in Diaspora with the people inside the country. In this sense, its historical, moral, humanitarian and patriotic contents and values are more significant and profound than its material dividend. In fact, the funds collected annually are modest that should not be overstated when compared with the government budget and expenditure on basic social services” (Shabait – ‘Eritrea’s Response to the SEMG, 2014’ 23.02.2023).

I find it very interesting the way and the manner of which Shabait portrays this. It is compelling and really deep, in the sense of despair and need to address it. Yes, the international scrutiny of it can cause a stir. That is only sensible, as the way the Eritrean government has created a diaspora and later taxing them. This is people who has fled the regime and after that they got to pay them too. It isn’t a noble idea or cause, but just shows what the GoE is willing to do with their citizens. Even the citizens who fled into asylum and sought refuge far away from the rulers of Asmara.

Therefore, the premiss for the tax is false. This isn’t done voluntary by the citizens in the diaspora. Neither is the whole thing made out of patriotic values or sentiments. Yes, the proclamations can speak of the martyrs and the families who lost their lives in the war of Independence. However, the monies are directed to the Bank of Eritrea and Ministry of Finance and Development. No one knows what happens with these funds after they are deposited. Neither are the any due diligence or accountability on the matter. The President and his men can spend these funds recklessly. Possibly create new asylum seekers by funding labour camps or keeping soldiers conscripted for years. Therefore, the Shabait must think people are stupid or blind.

This tax is only benefiting the elite and the inner-circle. They are getting a push and revenue to continue to operate their government. That is the gist of things here. While this tax is also a reminder where your loyalty lay and where your home is. So, the Eritrean government got a hold on you… even if you tried to flee into exile.

Home still haunts you and they want 2% of your earnings. You shall pay the percentages and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are directed to get you to pay them. Peace.

Eritrea: Embassy of the State of Eritrea to the United States of America – Council on Foreign Relations Recycles a Blatant Lie (25.07.2022)

Somalia: Statement on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Republic of Somalia and the State of Eritrea (12.07.2022)

Eritrea-Somalia: Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Eritrea and the Federal Republic of Somalia (12.07.2022)

Eritrea: Embassy of the State of Eritrea – United Kingdom – Eritrea the Epitome of Religious Harmony (07.07.2022)

Eritrea: Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights situaton in Eritrea, Mr Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker – 50th Session of the Human Rights Council – Ineractive Dialogue on Eritrea – 13 June 2022 (13.06.2022)

Ethiopia-Eritrea: Shabait says Badme is theirs, the conflict over the Badme triangle… never ends…

Even before the economic issue became important, however, in July 1997, Ethiopian forces occupied part of the Badda District, a small, remote, but more fertile area close to the Danakil depression, and replaced the Eritrean administration in the village of Adi Murug. The claim was on historical grounds, and based on the “inaccuracy” of current maps. The most widely used map of Eritrea, published in 1995 by the Eritrean Government in cooperation with the University of Berne, shows only Eritrean territory; neighbouring countries are simply marked in grey. Unhelpfully, this map shows neither Adi Murug nor Badme nor places just across the Ethiopian border, such as Zalambessa. Despite its claims, the map presented by the Ethiopian government to representatives of the international community in Addis Ababa in May 1998 showed the border in the same way as in all current atlases. A month later, however, the provincial authorities in Mekelle (Tigray) produced a different map – funded, in their case, in cooperation with the German government which showed several areas hitherto considered part of Eritrea coming within the Ethiopian border” (Margaret Fielding – ‘BAD TIMES IN BADME: BITTER WARFARE CONTINUES ALONG THE ERITREA-ETHIOPIA BORDER’ – IBRU Boundary and Security Bulletin Spring 1999).

The Tripartite Alliance are still very active and there is reports of furthering the war in the Tigray Region. The reports that the Eritrean Defence Force has been stationed and vital in the warfare in the Tigrayan war of late is an understatement. The EDF has been one of the reasons why the Tigray region was invaded and they occupied it whole for some time. That was a retaliation of old grudges and wanted to settle old grievances. Therefore… that Shabait brings back the Badme Triangle.

Shows that the Eritrean government planned all along to annex and get the territory, which has been contested. The Ethiopian government has also claimed this land and the Badme Territory. Now, the Eritrean government claims it theirs and that the recent peace agreement of 2018 is stating so. This means the Tigray Regional Government have to give up this territory and let the demarcation of the border continue. That is evident and the Eritrean government does this… as they have allies in Addis Ababa and wants Mekelle to know that.

Here is the most interesting parts of the Shabait piece published today:

When TPLF’s military campaigns was thwarted by a costly defeat at the Assab Front in June 2000, it was finally forced to accept cessation of hostilities and later the entire Algiers Peace Agreement on December 12, 2000. The Algiers Agreement created a court of arbitration, the EEBC. The Algiers Agreement also stipulated, in categorical terms, that “the parties agree that the delimitation and demarcation determinations of the Commission shall be final and binding”. But notwithstanding the unequivocal provisions of the Algiers Agreement, the EEBC decision was not enforced by the UN Security Council because principal sponsors – especially the US and the EU – failed to honour their obligations for their own narrow geopolitical considerations. When the EEBC decision was announced, Seyoum Mesfin, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister at the time falsely claimed that “Badme was awarded to Ethiopia”. He urged the international community to use punitive sanctions if necessary, to secure Eritrea’s full and immediate compliance with the provisions of the EEBC Award. The Foreign Minister and his government were soon to make a u-turn, sing a different song and reject the EEBC Award. Subsequent sessions of the EEBC were marked by Ethiopia’s dilatory tactics. Thus, in its 16th Report to the UN in 2006, the Commission was compelled to write: “Ethiopia is not prepared to allow demarcation to continue in the manner laid down in the demarcation directions and in accordance with the timeline set by the Commission.” (…) “The course of events changed when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared Ethiopia’s readiness to accept and implement in full the Decision of the Boundary Commission. Following his visit to Asmara, a Joint Declaration on Peace and Friendship was signed between Eritrea and Ethiopia on July 9, 2018. The Declaration brought to an end eighteen years of ‘no war no peace’ between Ethiopia and Eritrea and opened a new era of peace and friendship. Article four of the Joint Agreement stipulates that “The two countries will implement the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission decision.” (Shabait – ‘We do Not Relinquish What is ours; Nor do We Covet What Belongs to Others: (Natna Aynhbn Zeynatna Ayndeln)’ 13.04.2022).

We know these ideals of Badme is old by now. As it has been part of the independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia. The Eritrean government is willing to use Italian colonial maps to prove it too. That the land and territory belongs to them.

That’s why Eritrea Daily wrote this in 2005: “At worst, the status of Badme is unclear, at best, Badme is part of Eritrea and never Ethiopian. Regardless, if there is any one left that believes Ethiopia has accepted the border ruling, here is the proof to the contrary: In a clear demonstration of its defiance of the border ruling, Ethiopia today reported that it has started registering voters in the village of Eritrean Badme for the upcoming “elections.” The international community cannot remain indifferent to this Ethiopia’s provocative action?” (EDNews, 22.01.2005).

So, the Eritrean claims are old and they are pursuing them still. What is striking is the Tripartite Alliance way of violating, war-crimes and weaponizing humanitarian assistance isn’t helping the cause of Asmara. Even if the Badme triangle or parts of Badda district is belonging to Eritrea. Their forces and the acts done in Tigray region will not help them legitimizing it. Instead, there will no goodwill and no wishes of recognizing the border between the two nations. They will rather ensure the investigations into the warfare, the violations of the Geneva convention and crimes against humanity.

The Eritrean government could be within their rights and have historical basis for the territory. However, when they are known for their actions and use of force against unarmed civilians within the Tigray region. Very few to none will give them a bouquet of flowers and give the Republic more territory.

The WikiLeaks cable says this: “Legwaila, who has served as UNMEE SRSG for five years, detailed how both Ethiopia and Eritrea had initially committed to accept any decision by the EEBC, at December 2000 cease-fire talks in Algiers. Upon the announcement of the EEBC’s decision in April 2002, Ethiopia’s foreign minister hosted a celebration and issued a statement hailing the decision as a victory for both parties; however, Ethiopia had not realized that Badame had been awarded to Eritrea. The reason for this is the EEBC did not identify Badame so it took sometime for the experts to determine to whom Badame had been given. Legwaila observed that delimitation of the border (i.e., determining where it lies) was complete, whereas demarcation (i.e., placing physical markers) was stalemated. Delimitation of the border had been conducted professionally and impartially, Legwaila said, through an Asmara-based chief surveyor armed with GPS equipment and assistance from New Zealand experts, and with aerial mapping conducted by a Swedish company. Demarcation would reflect the boundaries determined by delimiation — there would be very little change, e.g. Badame would remain in Eritrea” (WikiLeaks – ‘UNITED NATIONS REQUESTS USG ASSISTANCE TO MONITOR AND RESOLVE ERITREA-ETHIOPIA CRISIS’ 28.10.2008).

Time will tell if Prime Minister Abiy will honour his peace agreement with Asmara. Which is what Shabait hopes it does. The Tripartite Alliance has been favourable for the PM and his reign. That has helped his causes and he couldn’t continue or hold on so long with warfare in Ethiopia. He needs the EDF and he knows that. Therefore, if the Tripartite Alliance is able to silence and annihilate the Tigray region. That’s what the alliance wants to achieve.

Alas, the Eritrean government is clearly saying by publishing this on Shabait. That they want it legitimized and recognized. This is the what it is initially saying. While we can wonder how Mekelle is thinking about this. Since, this is taking away territory it had occupied for a few decades now. While the current federal government of Ethiopia might offer it and do it, because Abiy has a good relations with Afewerki. Peace.

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Ethiopia: Media Authority Warning letters to the CNN, BBC, Reuters & AP (19.11.2021)

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