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Habtom Mehari


Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Human Rights Under Pressure - Ethics, Law and Politics

PhD Candidate

Field of Research: The ways in which Eritreans in Diaspora are involved in promoting human rights, justice and democratic changes in their home country

Habtom is an Eritrean. After completing his B.A (statistics and demography) at the University of Asmara, Eritrea, and served in the National Statistics Office (NSO), he fled the tyrant in Eritrea, and its authoritarian government in 2006 in search of freedom to Ethiopia. After repeated imprisonments in jails and refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, and a dangerous trek through Sudan, Egypt and the Sinai, he was smuggled into Israel, where he was arrested, imprisoned, released and finally granted temporary protection. His academic experience includes M.A from the Ben-Gurion University (Desert Studies), M.A thesis on “the role of social networks in the livelihood strategy of Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel”, and edited a critical journal. His volunteer and work experience includes translator and interpreter (the Refugee Clinic, Tel-Aviv University), chaired the ARDC, a grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the dignity of refugees and asylum seekers in Israel. Since 2013, he has been working as a research associate at the Truman Research Institute, examining the social construction of border zones. 

The focus of my research is to explore the ways in which Eritreans in Diaspora are involved in promoting human rights, justice and democratic changes in their home country. Human rights violations, relentless cruelty, tyranny and oppression are, tragically, everyday experiences for Eritreans. Some of these violations, according to the recent report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, may constitute crimes against humanity. The research seek to examine the emergence, development, and impact of the human rights advocacy by Eritreans in Diaspora, by studying the variety of activities and tools they use to promote human rights; through demonstrations in their respected countries of residence, petition and transnational campaigns against human rights violations by the Eritrean authorities. By doing so, the project will make an original contribution to the complex dynamics at work, by bringing to light the agency of those who exercise decision in bringing to an end one of the worst human rights violations in Eritrea.  

Habtom M. Ghebrezghiabher and Pnina Motzafi-Haller
Eritrean Women Asylum Seekers in Israel: From a Politics of Rescue to Feminist Accountability
Journal of Refugee Studies (2015) doi: 10.1093/jrs/fev006

Nora Gottlieb,Habtom Ghebrezghiabher,Tsega Gebreyesus
Asylum seekers' access to health care in Israel. The Lancet, Elsevier, 4–10 July 2015

Freie Universität Berlin
The Minerva Center for Human Rights
Menschenrechtszentrum Uni Potsdam
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Einstein Foundation Berlin
Dahlem Research School