Eritrean Mothers' letter to Ministers of Health and Social Services- International Children's Rights Day

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18/11/13

To:

Minister of Health Ms Yael German and Minister of Social Affairs and Social Services Mr. Meir Cohen

Dear Ms German and Mr. Cohen,

This week, on November 20 2013, The Child’s Rights Day, a day that is meant to straighten and reserve the obligation to welfare for children as they are, will be noted in Israel and around the world. This is why this week we address you on behalf of our children, children who live in Israel without an access to health and social services. We address you as women and mothers. We know that as parents, you will be able to understand the helplessness we experience and as ministers in the Israeli government, it is in your hands to help us.

We thank the Israeli Government for understanding that we don’t have in our option to go back to Eritrea in the mean time, thus providing us with protection and not deporting us. We also try to protect our children and every day for us is a survivor struggle– a struggle to bring food home, to pay rent, a struggle to supply our children with a sense of security and stability. With that, we have trouble facing the reality in Israel and we need the help and support of you, of the authorities and of the government offices.

Today, we cannot give our children basic needs that mothers want and need to give to their children. We are here alone, we had to escape Eritrea, we left our parents and siblings behind and we found ourselves alone, devoid in a foreign country. Some of us are survivors of Sinai Torture Camps, in which women are violently held, raped and tortured for ransom. Amongst us are also many single mothers, women who have made the long road and are standing here today alone with their children, without the support of a family or a community.

We do not have work permits, therefore we cannot work legally in an organized way and we get paid with starvation wages. We have trouble financing health care for our children, not to mention some sort of frames or activities for them for the afternoon or school equipment.  When we cannot assist them, they do not get help from the social services. Our children, who now live in Israel, are not equal to other children. Their health and welfare is not as important as the health and welfare of other children.  They are treated as unwelcomed guests and they are punished on a reality they did not cause .

It is a daily distress, and we approach you because you have the ability to facilitate it.

You have the ability to promise our children health and social services, so they too will be able to enjoy the basic rights, as other children. This week, on child’s rights day, we ask you, try to see our children too and act for them.

With thanks and kind regards,

Eritrean Mothers,

Redia Ali, Gant Berhane, Zaid Berhe, Zayed Woldogabriat, Abeba Aylew, Mabrehat Yohanes, Berty Brira, Samira Abdalla, Ergalem Gabrmiryam, Sabhe Tedase, Pryvini Tekle, Samara Wayt Germay, Eden Yohanes, Akbert Ebrahim, Benabish Tshoma and Zabib Sultan

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