Eritrean activist fought injustice, 'saved a lot of lives'

Winnipeg’s newcomer community is mourning the loss of a human rights advocate who was among the first to publicly challenge the Eritrean regime that he fled and those enabling the country dubbed the “North Korea of Africa.”

Ghirmay Yeibio, 61, died Wednesday after a lengthy battle with cancer. He arrived in Canada in 2001 as a privately sponsored refugee, got a job at a gas station, then a bank, then sponsored 115 Eritreans who escaped from the country that’s been one of the world’s biggest sources of refugees.

“He saved a lot of lives,” said Ghezae Hagos, with the Eritrean Canadian Human Rights Group of Manitoba.

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