Voice of America quotes Africa Center Deputy Director Bronwyn Bruton on the mass migration of Eritreans to Europe:
Bronwyn Bruton first learned about Eritrea when she worked as a human rights advocate. On the Washington, D.C. staff of the National Endowment for Democracy she trained journalists, funded the formation of Eritrean political opposition to the ruling Eritrean People’s Liberation Front and helped Eritrean journalists fleeing persecution.
She lists reasons why Eritreans win asylum in Europe. “The economic situation in Eritrea is very poor,” Bruton says. “Eritrea is isolated, it hasn’t had a lot of economic development opportunities and it’s hard for the people to make a living.
“Because there is a perception of political persecution, Europe – for example – has an automatic asylum policy which means that anyone who is Eritrean can get benefits in Europe and that, in a sense, had been a pull factor, too.
“So that while on the one hand, there is no doubt that there are people who are fleeing Eritrea for very valid reasons of political persecution, there is also a certain number of people who are leaving Eritrea because they have a feeling that they can have a better life, better prospects in Europe.”
When Bruton moved to the Atlantic Council – where she is deputy director of the Africa Center – Bruton continued to follow the plight of Eritrea’s migrants.