Eritrea is one of the most censored countries in the world, restricting all Eritreans to speak up for their rights and making them live in the oppression of the governmental regime. Vanessa Tsehaye, an activist and founder of the movement One Day Seyoum, came to the College Freedom Forum (CFF) to share her work and experience in the search for freedom for her natal country, Eritrea.
The activist remarks that global ignorance affects countries like Eritrea and enables oppressive regimes to continue to operate undisturbed. But, with the help of solidarity and diffusing information as well as freedom movements, this can be changed.
When the regime started forcing all Eritreans even high schoolers to participate in an indefinite national service program that the UN has likened to slavery, there was no one to speak up for them, when countless people were imprisoned without a trial and tortured and killed simply for expressing their opinions practicing their religion...there was no one to speak up for them”.
Tsehaye tells the story of her uncle, a journalist that was imprisoned because he documented the regimen crimes and expressed the truth of the situation in Eritrea. She explains the border problem between Eritrea and Ethiopia that has been used as an excuse for the government to continue with oppressive politics, making Eritrea the most censored country in the world.
Then, Tsehaye reveals how she got involved in activism because she was tired of this situation in her country. She started by speaking up and founding an organization named in honor of her uncle One Day Seyoum, she explains how the organization works and uses tools to get people informed about the situation in Eritrea.
When that pure sense of duty and responsibility is properly channeled into projects and campaigns, magic happens. Everyone has a million ideas and is able to do more work, better work, and for every day that we’re fighting, we’re able to reach more people”.
The activist mentions that in 2018 the border problem between Eritrea and Ethiopia ended, but the regime is still the same. She points out that this event encouraged people to make a change, and she started to see it in her work when Eritreans and Non-Eritreans were fighting together for the cause.
To conclude, Tsehaye shares her happiness to see the passion of people working together, remarking the importance of international solidarity and asks for the help of anyone who can do something to end the oppressive regime.
Human rights activist and founder, One Day Seyoum
Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.
Universidad Francisco Marroquín