An employee at Eritrea’s consulate in The Hague has been banned from the site following allegations that money was being “forcibly” collected there from Eritreans.
Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok summoned Eritrea’s roving ambassador in Brussels, to convey his demands for the practice to stop, according to local reports.
In January 2018, the Eritrean Consul General in the Netherlands was declared persona non grata for charging Eritreans there a 2% “diaspora tax” from their income.
Some Eritreans who need services from embassies are still forced to pay the levy which was introduced soon after the country gained independence in 1991.
Eritrea’s information minister has rejected the latest allegations and accused the Dutch of “harassing” the consulate, and insists no “illicit” funds were levied.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Yemane Gebermeskel called it “unacceptable behaviour” that was “pandering to narrow interest groups”.
He added that the non-resident Dutch ambassador would be summoned, and promised “further appropriate and reciprocal action” would be announced “in due time”.
It is not yet clear what kind of action the Eritrean government can take as the Netherlands does not have an embassy in Asmara.
Sources say the person acting as head of the consulate does not have any diplomatic status in the country.
The Eritrean government has been encouraging those living in the diaspora to contribute to a national fund to combat Covid-19. Some have criticised the government for not being transparent in the way it manages the funds.