– The Sun News

Netherlands orders Eritrean diplomat out of country

(NAN) The Dutch government has told an Eritrean diplomat in the Netherlands to leave the country, minister of Foreign Affairs Halbe Zijlstra, has said.

Tekeste Zemuy has been declared persona non grata, Zijlstra wrote in a letter to parliament, as the government saw mounting evidence of Eritrea continuing to force tax payments from people who fled the country.

A spokesman for the Eritrean Embassy declined to comment on the decision.

Dutch radio programme Argos December said Eritrean refugees were being intimidated into paying a “diaspora tax” at the embassy in The Hague, in order to get access to its services, in spite of earlier orders by the Dutch government to stop this practice.

Zijlstra said: “this is an exceptionally severe measure, meant as a signal to the government of Eritrea.

“We want to make clear that we don’t tolerate these unwanted practices.”

Zijlstra said he had decided not to close the entire embassy, against the will of a majority in Dutch parliament, as that would make it impossible to help Eritreans.

He called on Eritreans to report criminal offences they had experienced at the embassy.

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