The Eritrean diaspora and its impact on regime stability: Responses to UN sanctions

The Eritrean diaspora and its impact on regime stability: Responses to UN sanctions

Author: 
Hirt, Nicole
Publisher: 
Oxford University Press (OUP)
Date published: 
2015
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
African Affairs
Source: 
African Affairs, Vol. 114, No. 454, January 2015, pp. 115-135
Abstract: 

This article examines the impact of UN-imposed sanctions on the stability of the Eritrean regime, with a focus on the reaction of the diaspora. It explores the transnational nature of Eritrean society and examines the history and structure of the Eritrean diaspora as well as its transformation since the political crisis of 2001. The article demonstrates that the government, as well as both its supporters and its opponents in the diaspora, have all instrumentalized sanctions for their own purposes. The government has used sanctions to rally supporters “around the flag”, calling on the diaspora to raise funds to negate their effect. By contrast, opposition activists have campaigned against the 2 percent “diaspora tax” levied by the government, arguing that it may be used for illicit military purposes in breach of the sanctions regime. In this sense, the sanctions have destabilized a core component of the regime's resource base. However, the failure of the diasporic opposition to organize a joint campaign to persuade host governments to outlaw the collection of the tax has undermined its efforts. Funds raised through the diaspora tax thus continue to flow into government coffers, playing a stabilizing role in spite of the UN sanctions regime.

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CITATION: Hirt, Nicole. The Eritrean diaspora and its impact on regime stability: Responses to UN sanctions . : Oxford University Press (OUP) , 2015. African Affairs, Vol. 114, No. 454, January 2015, pp. 115-135 - Available at: http://library.au.int/eritrean-diaspora-and-its-impact-regime-stability-responses-un-sanctions-5