$73 million collected for “families of martyrs”December 2, 2014
A 2 percent “diaspora tax” continues to be demanded by Eritrean embassies and consulates of Eritrean citizens living abroad as a precondition for receiving diplomatic services. Proceeds from the extortionist tax, which is collected in violation of international consular law, go to “to support the war disabled and the families of martyrs,” pursuant to a proclamation passed in Eritrea in 1994.
A November 2014 report from the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea described and confirmed ongoing cases of blackmail used to collect the tax in Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and Sweden; Money Jihad has previously reported that the taxes are collected in Kenya, Britain, and Israel as well. The UN report further revealed that the diaspora tax generated $73 million revenues from 2010 through 2013.
UN Resolution 2023 condemned Eritrea’s diaspora tax in 2011. Sweden recently considered a legal ban against Eritrea’s collection efforts, but determined that Eritrea could continue imposing the tax as long as no threats or coercion are used for collection.
Any Eritrean living abroad who is coerced, threatened, or denied diplomatic services from their embassy or consulate should report it to law enforcement in the country where they reside. However, this is somewhat unlikely to occur because expatriate Eritreans are fearful about retaliation by the government of Eritrea against their families back home.
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