The Question of Structural Violence on the Saho people of Eritrea, in spite of their important role during the Eritrean Struggle for Independence
AuthorEsmail, Romodan Abdellah
Abstract The thesis focuses on discovering incidents of the structural violence on the Saho of Eritrea under the Eritrean PFDJ government. It is mainly stressed on the government policies, especially language and land and how the policies undermined the democratic rights of the Saho people. At the same time, it attempts to shed light on the subsequent suppressive attitudes of the government and its overall impacts on the Saho people and the consequences. To meet the objectives, the study relied on an in-depth interviewing of the Saho refugees in Ethiopia. Sixteen qualitative interviewing was conducted. The related documents were also used. As a conceptual framework for analysis, the study uses theories of the structural violence. The thesis also referred to the approaches of minority rights endorsed by the international and UN organizations. The research findings are largely qualitative anecdotal evidence in type mainly from the perspectives of the Saho people. According to the findings frustrations are commonly observed among all Saho informants because of the marginalization and government negligence. The Saho see themselves as subordinated and poorly represented in decision making processes in matters that affect their very interest and livelihood. As a result, most of them entirely dissociate themselves from the government. The Saho people's attitude towards the government's language (mother tongue education) and land policy was in general negative. Forcible imposition of mother tongue education and its ineffective role, lack of consultation and participation of the Saho elites in the affairs concerned to them, discriminations involved in land allocation process, negligence of the pastoral Saho and forced government relocation programs are among the discovered incidents of the structural violence. It was also accompanied with further suppression and intimidation. Comparing to their highland neighboring Tigrigna ethnic group, the Saho are the most marginalized society. The long-term effects of government's maltreatment, as the findings indicate, are extreme poverty and unequal survival chances between the Saho and their immediate neighboring highland group. Higher illiteracy, morbidity and unemployment rate is commonly seen among the Saho. Moreover, several Saho families found themselves in a hard position to cope with difficult situation. As a result, migration, family disintegration, intergenerational welfare dependency, humiliation, undermining of their wellbeing and self-esteem were among the impacts. Many were lured by the government to military and others enticed to accept government programs. The Saho people in remote areas are extremely vulnerable and suffering groups in this case. The situation is heading to further worse. As a consequence of all, finally, the situations transformed to violent conflict between the government and the Saho people displayed obviously since 2008/2009. At the end the study suggests recommendations how to overcome the structural violence against the Saho people in particular and making Eritrea just, egalitarian and an inclusive for every Eritrean citizens in general.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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