MPs demand that the government act Eritreans in exile has for two decades been forced to pay taxes to Eritrea. Despite police reports and various pressure has nothing happened to stop payments. Now requires both Swedish-Eritreans and parliamentarians that the government put an end to the Eritrean methods.
Swedish government is obliged to act against the collection of forced taxes from Eritreans. It believes Swedish Amnesty's Secretary General Lise Bergh involved in Sunday's Agenda.
In the beginning most people voluntarily paid the fee or tax as it is often called. It was in the early 90's and the freedom struggle against Ethiopia was over. Many wanted to help the newly independent Eritrea.
In many of those who were there when there is a positive feeling still. Many others have a completely different approach. The tax helps fund Eritrean oppressive regime, they say.
Jumped for joy
Rezene Tesfazion paid for eight years before he realized that the free Eritrea as he fought for had turned into a dictatorship.
He "jumped for joy and danced" when the country was liberated.
- Now we are free. Now we need help to rebuild the country. So it was known, he says.
But now Rezene Tesfazions big disappointment.
- I am totally deceived by this regime. I paid voluntarily. It would benefit the people but it was not so sadly, he says, showing the receipts he has saved in a drawer in the bedroom.
Two percent of income
The Eritrean regime requires that Eritreans in Sweden and elsewhere pay two percent of their income. Otherwise, even relatives in Eritrea into trouble. One can also, for example, prevented from getting the documents from Eritrea needed to be able to apply to become a Swedish citizen.
Moreover, one can be prevented from traveling to Eritrea.
Another consequence of a refusal to pay may be that you do not get any help to get the original documents, which are required to even review to be translated.
Therefore, many Eritreans who continue to pay "taxes".
The MP and Liberal stone Fredrik Malm is one of those trying to stop the collection of compulsory tax. He likens it to mafia methods.
- If a criminal biker gangs or mafia knocking on your door and requires two percent of your income, and say that you and your relatives have a problem if you do not pay - then regarded it as the extortion and illegal threats, says Fredrik Malm.
- If the Eritrean embassy does exactly the same thing - then absolutely nothing happens, he says.
UN calls in a report Member States to stop Eritrea from levying this tax. According to the UN report, it may be about one billion revenue for the Eritrean government and only from Sweden, it is about millions of dollars. Without the tax regime would find it difficult to survive.
Some countries, including the method of another Canada, UK and Australia, have already checked against Eritrea but in Sweden it is still quiet.
Politicians are tired
Eritrea's methods have been reported to the police in Sweden but investigations drag on. Several parliamentarians, including Fredrik Malm, has grown tired of the government not doing anything more than to hide behind the ongoing investigations.
- It is completely off the wall that this has been going on for so long and that our government has not done anything. The State Department and the Justice Department are responsible. Now they take the seriousness of this issue, says Fredrik Malm.
- It involves several thousand people in this country who are forced to finance repression in Eritrea through a tax that has to be illegal in Sweden, sgäer he said.
While many Swedish-Eritreans have lost patience with nothing happens. One of them is Meron Estefanos. She is very upset that the government in Sweden is not acting.
She fitted a compatriot with a hidden camera to prove that the tax is not voluntary, which Eritrea is often claimed. Of the film makes it clear that the tax is essential as soon as you need something from the embassy.
- It's all right here. There is evidence that was not there before, says Meron Estefanos.
Watch video above to see Niklas Forsberg story with some of the film from the Eritrean Embassy.
No one in the Swedish government to comment on the Eritrean tax. Both Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask, referring to the ongoing police investigation.
In phone calls with Agenda deny Eritrean embassy in Stockholm decided that Eritreans in Sweden have to pay money to the Eritrean government.
Agenda broadcast Sunday, February 24 at 21:15 on SVT2.
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