It’s amazing how many newscasts are all about events that concern one family or community. A husband murders his wife, a child is kidnapped. The event is reported on national television, sometimes for days on end.
Albeit tragic, these events monopolize the news, drawing attention away from the globally significant, newsworthy information the public must be made aware of.
Based in Sweden, Meron Estefanos is bringing a truly noteworthy issue to the world’s attention. Estefanos is an Eritrean journalist and human rights activist. She is a presenter for Radio Erena (“Our Eritrea” in the Tigrinya language). On her show she has been talking to prisoners held in camps and recording their cries for help to their family members to raise the ransom demanded for their release.
Who are these prisoners? Since 2009, thousands of refugees from Eritrea, a country in eastern Africa that shares a border with Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti, have fled the state since its first president, Isaias Afwerki, came to power in 1993 after the country gained independence. They have fled towards Israel and Egypt, only to be captured or kidnapped from refugee camps by smugglers in the Sinai desert and held in torture camps, where they are given mobile phones to call their relatives to obtain payment for their release.
Estefanos is the co-founder of the International Commission on Eritrean Refugees, which fights for the rights of refugees and victims of human trafficking and torture. She is also co-author of the 2012 report, ”Human Trafficking in the Sinai: Refugees between Life and Death”. The award-winning documentary, “Sound of Torture“, relates Estefanos’ efforts to bring attention to these crimes in her attempt to campaign for freedom and democracy in her country.
Hear how Meron Estefanos starting making the world aware of her campaign to help her countrymen to freedom:
Amnesty International’s 2013 report, “Eritrea – Rampant repression 20 years after independence”, states that as many as 10,000 people have been held as political prisoners by the government, and that torture for punishment, interrogation and coercion is common. In addition, Reporters Without Borders have ranked Eritrea in last place in their World Press Freedom Index over the past seven years.
How can you get involved? Work as an Affiliate Volunteer for ICER (the International Commission on Eritrean Refugees) or make a donation to its cause. Find out more on Facebook.