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Eritrean political group seeks probe over allegedly dumped nuclear waste

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

August 30, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – An exiled Eritrean political organization, the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) on Monday urged the international community to investigate the allegedly dumping of foreign toxic waste by the waters inside the tiny Red Sea nation.

“Our reliable inside sources indicate that the Eritrean government has allowed a dump to nuclear and industrial toxic wastes coming from foreign countries on the soils and waters of Eritrea,” RSADO foreign affairs head, Nessredin Ahmed told <i<Sudan Tribune.

The toxic industrial and radioactive wastes were allegedly dumped at a remote barren area known as Denkelya and by the coastal lines of the Red Sea, where tens of thousands of Afar ethnic minority mainly depend on fishery to survive.

The allegation could not be independently verified at this point. The opposition official said that his political organization, in collaboration with international environmental organizations and concerned bodies is seriously following up the situation. However he accused the international community of paying little attention to their concerns.

“This is an environmental crime being committed by a government in its soil against its people,” Nessredin said adding “,Unlike years ago, now the fish population is being depleted. Our Afar brothers on [the] ground have confirmed [to] us that it is taking them two to three days to come back with enough [fish].”

“We urge the attention of the United Nations Environment Organization (UNEO), all to the environmental groups and the international community as a whole to take an urgent investigative action in to the crimes by the Eritrean regime, which already is hinting a threat to the marine life and health of the people”.

The official didn’t name which companies actually had been involved in the hazardous waste dumping but the group told Sudan Tribune that it had reliable sources indicating that the waste mainly comes from Iran.

The political group accused President Issayas Afeworki’s Eritrean government of turning the red sea into a main line of transportation to foreign toxic wastes to earn money.

“In negligence to the disaster it poses, the rogue government of Eritrea is being engaged in such shame Mafia business at the cost of lives of his people and his country.”

“What kind of government would do such a Mafia business and sell his country for money?” he stressed.

EU member states, as well as 168 other countries have signed the Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which came into force in 1992.

The convention prohibits waste trade between countries that have signed the convention, as well as countries that have not signed the accord unless a bilateral agreement had been negotiated.

(ST)

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