When Nationals of Democracies Support Dictators: Legality of the Two Percent and the YPFDJ
Eritrean Law Society Occasional Papers, Vol. 9, August 2011
31 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2011 Last revised: 13 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 5, 2011
Eritrea has become more than an African version of North Korea. The former Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), since 1994 renamed the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), has become a liberty-denier. However, the PFDJ, the sole and ruling party in the de facto one party repressive state since its independence in May 1991, rules with a significant political and financial support from Eritrea’s Diaspora in western democracies even when it is becoming clear that the unaccountable regime is using the support to severely oppress its people and destabilize the entire Horn of African in collaboration with some militant organizations. As a result, since December 2009 the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has imposed sanctions and recently its sanction Monitoring Group has recommended that national governments should examine domestic legislation to determine whether the collection of funds by party agents or community “wardens” of the PFDJ’s regime in their territories is in fact legal. This paper looks at the legality of the financial and political support the PFDJ’s regime gets from Eritrea’s Diaspora who are refugees/asylees in or naturalized citizens of western democracies largely as a result of claimed persecutions by the very regime they support. Part II elaborately introduces the whole situation as the context is important for the issues at stake. Part III discuses the financial and political support the PFDJ’s regime gets with a specific focus on the extent of the support and who and why the supporters are supporting. Part IV looks at the legality of the support in different areas of law, both national and international, that include UNSC Resolution 1907, financing of terrorism, refugee/asylum law, and the law that governs toleration of intolerable activities and organizations. The focus is on the position of the United States of America (US) and Germany. The selection is justified not only by the size of Eritreans in the US but also by the fact that both countries represent two extremes when it comes to tolerating anti-democracy political forces. Conclusions are in Part V.
Keywords: Eritrea, Two Percent Diaspora Tax, Supporting Dictators, YPFDJ, Democracy and Tolerance, Asylees and Compliance with Laws of Asylum States
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