On Tuesday last week, the Dutch Foreign Ministry expelled Eritrea’s Charge d’Affaires to the country, Tekheste Ghebremedhin.
The Dutch Foreign ministry explained that the diplomat was expelled after government found mounting evidence of Eritrea continuing to force tax payments from people who fled the country.
The Eritrean government however describes these reasons as ‘untenable explanations’.
In a statement posted by the Eritrea ministry of information, the government argues that there was no proof of wrongful or punishable offenses presented to the Dutch Parliament to warrant the action taken.
‘‘While the cabinet recognizes that no judge has yet recorded proof of wrongful or punishable offenses by the Eritrean embassy office in The Hague”, the minister (Dutch) alluded to a broadcast of Argo (Dutch radio station) and the motion of two parliamentarians to explain and justify this unwarranted and unfriendly act,’‘ read part of the statement.
The statement goes ahead to justify the levying of the 2% diaspora tax that is the subject of contention.
‘‘Eritrea’s levying of 2% Rehabilitation and Recovery tax in the Diaspora, enacted in accordance with the laws of the country in 1994, is a legitimate and sovereign act that cannot be misconstrued, by any stretch of imagination, as a contravention of the Vienna Protocol on Diplomatic Relations.’‘
The statement went on to explain that the tax is not mandatory for Eritreans living in the diaspora, although failure or opting not to pay it limits the services that a citizen can enjoy when they go back home to Eritrea.
‘‘A citizen who fails or opts not to pay the 2% Rehabilitation Tax is entitled to all his/her rights and consular services. But he/she will forfeit business license and land entitlement rights in the home country.’‘
The statement concludes by describing the Dutch government’s actions as ‘arbitrary and provocative act that has no consonance with the Vienna Protocol of Diplomatic Relations’ and refers to ‘previous unfriendly incidents taken by the Dutch authorities against Eritrea in the past few years’.
According to the statement, Dutch non resident Ambassador to Eritrea has been summoned to explain the unfriendly acts of her government.