The Eritrean Communities around Sweden just celebrated their National Independence Day in May 2023 in more than 40 cities including Stockholm, Göteborg, Umeå, Jönköping… in a most spectacular display of cultural, traditional and organized festivities that is credit to the community organizers and the strong Swedish-Eritrean communities that took root in Sweden for decades and integrated to the Swedish Society seamlessly.
The participants of the celebrations include children, youth, elderly, religious leaders from all beliefs, graduating students, diplomats from Eritrea and across Africa including the Ambassador of Ethiopia.
However, the Swedish Liberal Party lead by Ms Åsa Nilsson-Söderström has been harassing and accusing the Eritrean communities based on false and dishonest accusations to prevent community events from happening.
In a recent article in a Swedish news paper Expressen Debatt, Ms. Nilsson-Söderström and her colleagues throw unsubstantiated and completely untrue allegations that can be easily disproved by facts. The Liberal party accuses the Eritrean events held in Sweden are raising funds for the Eritrean regime and claims the Swedish tax-payers are financing the events.
Almost every argument they claim in the debate article is false and aimed to tarnish the image and character of the Eritrean community in Sweden.Alem Teklegiorgis, Chairman of the Organizing Committee
Their scare tactics used by the Liberal Party against the Eritrean Community is too outlandish and bizarre it borders into racism and harassment of a whole community. They call on the Swedish Police and Security Services (Säpo) to take action against the Eritrean community. They also call on the Migration Authority to take action against some unknown entities. This is pure harassment designed to terrorize the community.
The Eritrean Community in Sweden is organized society who adheres to Swedish law, pays its taxes and works hard in their community and highly disciplined and integrated in Swedish Society.
- It is False claim to make ” the families of senior Generals and regime loyalists who terrorize and threaten Eritreans who demand democracy”
- It is False claim to make “the events allow men in uniform to stand on stage and praise both the war crimes in Tigray and the autocratic dictator Isaias Afewerki”.
- It is false claim to make “municipalities and the state pay contributions to organizations and churches that have been taken over by the Eritrean regime”
- It is false Claim to make ” the events are about spreading a glorified image of a dictatorship and raising money for it”.
All these claims do not represent the Eritrean Community and rather they are false claims intentionally intended to misrepresent the Eritrean Community Events in Sweden.
In their harassment of the Eritrean community in Sweden, Åsa and the Liberal party purposely mix the business of the Eritrean Communities and the Eritrean Embassy and the 2 percent tax levied upon Eritreans in Diaspora in order to scare their audience and confuse the Swedish public. This issue has nothing to do with the Eritrean Communities in Sweden and the events and Festivals organized by the communities.
It is very clear to see, Åsa and the Liberal party do not know the Eritrean community and have not tried to engage and clarify any questions they might have, like it is done in any civilized society. Infact, Åsa and the Liberal party never attended the events or visited the Eritrean community or tried to arrange a meeting to discuss any issues.
Instead, she has been using her politician status to demonize and harass the Eritrean Community from gathering to celebrate any cultural events. She has also being using the media and her influence to frighten local authorities and venue managers to prevent Eritrean communities from gathering and holding events.
There is no single evidence presented by Åsa and her colleagues to prove any claims they make in their article because it is not true.
No money is raised in the events organized by Eritrean Community that finance the Eritrean Government and there is no grant received from Swedish tax-payers to run the events. The money is raised by the community and is only used to organize the events for Eritrean community in Sweden. In fact, the Eritrean community contribute a significant amount of business to the local economy when organizing the events.
The Eritrean Community in Sweden is highly disciplined, law abiding and always wanted to work together with other communities and is willing to discuss openly with the Liberal Party and engage in an open discussion.
The Eritrean community is working very hard with its youth to ensure they become successful Swedish-Eritrean citizens and stay away from criminality and drug abuse and make a significant contribution to creating safe local environment.
We call upon the Liberal Party and Ms Åsa Nilsson-Söderström to stop harassing the Eritrean Community in Sweden and rather engage and interact with organizers and community leaders to better understand each other and better outcome for all concerned parties.