WA (Draft related risks updated – Muslim Women) Eritrea CG  UKAIT 00079
ASYLUM AND IMMIGRATION TRIBUNAL
Date of hearing: 14 August 2006
Date Determination notified: 30 October 2006
Mr R Baines JP
|Secretary of State for the Home Department||RESPONDENT|
DETERMINATION AND REASONS
On the basis of the evidence now available, Muslim women should not be excluded from being within the draft related at risk category.The evidence indicates that Muslim women, per se are not exempt from military service. In some areas, however, local protests prevent their call up and in others the draft is not so strictly implemented. With this addition (amending para 113 of the determination), the draft related risk categories in KA (Draft –related risk categories updated) Eritrea CG  00165 are reaffirmed. In particular it remains the case that in general someone who has lived in Eritrea for a significant period without being called up would not fall within the category of a draft evader. The evidence indicates that the administration of National service is devolved to six regional commands and the degree to which recruitment is carried out varies from region to region. In considering risk on return a decision maker should pay regard to any credible evidence relating to the particular region from whence an appellant comes and the degree to which recruitment is enforced within that particular area. NB: This decision should be read with AH (Failed asylum seekers – involuntary returns) Eritrea CG  UKAIT 00078
"The military police were looking for draft evaders. As I was eligible for conscription and had not done my military service the military police were particularly interested in me. I believe that this was the reason that they took me to the police station."
Thereafter she gives no evidence that she was further questioned about that matter. Indeed there is perhaps a distinction to be made as to a person eligible for conscription and one actually called up. The fact that the appellant at no stage mentions at interview or in her statement that she was called up is a very relevant factor in assessing her overall credibility.
"They can be considered to have left Eritrea legally. Regarding this sub-category, it must be borne in mind that an appellant's assertion that he left illegally will raise an issue that will need to be established to the required standard. A person who generally lacks credibility will not be assumed to have left illegally. We think those falling into the "left legally" sub-category will often include persons who are considered to have already done national service, persons who have got an exemption and persons who have been eligible for call-up over a significant period but have not been called up. Lastly those falling outside the sub-category and often at risk will include persons who left Eritrea when they were approaching draft age (eighteen) or had recently passed that age."
"I was finally able to get an answer to your question this morning. Mr Amanwe, the Secretary at the Department of Religious Affairs told me that, under Proclamation 82/1995, the only exemptions from national service was for those below eighteen, those over forty, those with a physical disability or mothers. I asked explicitly about Muslim women and was told there was no exemption for them."
"The recruitment of Muslim women is a difficult topic on which to provide any definitive conclusion. The Eritrean Government takes some pride in its treatment of women and of its own non-discriminatory practices between Eritrean nationalities and regions, a legacy of the equality between genders was in the ranks of the EPLF when women provided some thirty per cent front line fighters. There had been reports that in some areas, like the Muslim Afar region of the Red Sea coast and Barka in Western Eritrea, the implementation of the NSP for women has not been rigorous. According to my sources in recent years there has been a lighter handed approach towards the recruitment of women for national service, in part because of the refusal of families to deliver women for national service. However, if a student wants to complete high school (and rates of enrolment of women in Muslim areas at all educational levels is especially low) and continue into higher education, training, national service in Sawa is necessary, regardless of religious faith. Although it has been easier over the last few years for women to gain exemption from national service or to be released early there has been no official change in the universal eligibility for national service as laid out in the NSP. It would also seem that the induction of women into national service is uneven and can vary with the more or less rigorous policy pursued by the Regional General. General Gebrezgher Andemariam (better known as Nom-te-Guerre "Wuchu") of the Central Military Region covering Asmara and its surroundings and General Tekli Haile Sellassie of the Soluther Military Region have fearsome reputations as being particularly hardline."
"From our general knowledge of the behaviour of the Eritrean authorities, we do not believe that an Afar woman who was returned to Eritrea as a failed asylum applicant would be safe from forcible conscription. She would not have access to any protection that may be afforded by the Afar community in the region. Any exemption operating within the Dankalia region would not extend to Afar or non-Afar Muslim women outside of that area. Exemptions from conscription in Eritrea appear to be arbitrary rather than bureaucratically controlled".
Signed Date 24/10/2006
Senior Immigration Judge King TD
SE(Deportation-Malta-2002-GeneralRisk) Eritrea CG  00295
NM(Draft evaders-evidence of risk) Eritrea  UKIAT 00073
KA (draft related risk categories updated) Eritrea CG  UKIAT 00165
Proclamation No 82/1995 – National Service Proclamation ( Eritrea)
Excerpt "Eritrea said recalling demobilized soldiers"-Awate. Com/ BBC monitoring- February 2006.
Operational Guidance Note- Eritrea – 5 May 2006
USSDR International Religious Freedom Report 2005 – Eritrea.
USSDR on Eritrea – 8 March 2006.
Dr David Poole Expert Report – 12th January 2006.
Amnesty International Letter – Rachel Witkin – 13 July 2006.
Dr Gaim Kibreab – Expert report [undated]
EHDR – UK letter – 13 July 2006.
Amnesty International Report – "Eritrea Religious Persecution "– 7.12.2005.
Middle East Times Article – 23 February 2006.
Letter from Solicitors to British Embassy in Asmara – 15 May 2006.
Letter from Nr Nick Astbury, HM Ambassador Eritrea – 31.July 2006.