Eritrea. In January, Sudan opened the border with Eritrea
after a year of tense relations between the two countries.
Eritrea had previously been accused of supporting Sudanese
In March, Eritrea was put before the UN Human Rights
Committee. Among other things, the Committee sought answers
from 18 journalists and eleven opposition politicians and
activists arrested in 2001, among them the Eritrean-Swedish
journalist Dawit Isaak. But the question of their living
received no answer.
Later in the month, the UN commission of inquiry demanded
clarification on the fate of missing prisoners and requested
an investigation into extrajudicial executions by security
forces. It was also established that conscripts should not
be used as forced labor in mines and construction. It is
done without a time limit with no or very little salary.
The last open border crossing between Eritrea and
Ethiopia was closed in April without explanation. Improved
relations with Ethiopia in 2018 led to an open border for
the first time in two decades, but then the border has been
CountryAAH, more than 30 Pentecostal friends were arrested in April
at worship services in the capital Asmera. Pentecostal
churches are banned in Eritrea and hundreds of members have
been arrested in recent years. The government recognizes
only four religious communities: Orthodox, Catholic and
Lutheran Christians, and Sunni Islam.
In June, more than 100 African writers, intellectuals and
activists wrote an open letter to President Isaias Afwerki
urging him to release imprisoned journalists and respect
human rights. One of the signatories was Wole Soyinka,
Nigerian Nobel Laureate in Literature.
The Catholic Church bishops expressed concern that the
Eritreans lacked hope and that so many young people left the
country. In a letter, "Peace to all", the regime called for
reform and justice. As a result, the church's health clinics
were seized and closed in June.
Security forces sent patients home, threatened staff and
placed soldiers at the clinics. Those who did not hand over
keys were seized, among them a nun. According to the church,
thousands of people, mainly mothers and children in the
countryside, lost their care. The bishops called for prayer
and fasting in the conflict with the regime.
In July, security forces attacked a hospital run by
Catholic nuns in Zager outside Asmera. The nuns were driven
away and the equipment seized. There were, among other
things, BB at the hospital.
The former Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Abune
Antonios, was excluded from the church in July, accused by
the bishops of false teaching. Antonios, who criticized the
regime, was deposed in 2006 and placed under house arrest.
The exclusion was considered to be the regime's work with
the intention of taking full control of the church.
Human Rights Watch said in August that the system of
military service indefinitely continued despite peace
agreements with Ethiopia in 2018. Thousands of students are
forced by the high school into military camps with hard work
and poor food, and where some girls are subjected to sexual
abuse. The only way to escape is to flee the country, but
those who fail are arrested and imprisoned.
While 5 million live in the country, half a million
Eritreans are estimated to live in exile. UN Refugee Agency
UNHCR declared in August that the Shagarab refugee camp in
eastern Sudan had difficulty caring for anyone fleeing from
Eritrea. According to refugees, there was a shortage of food
and water as well as roof over their heads.
In September, Christian and Muslim communities were
forced to leave a total of seven schools under the regime's
control. There were schools with students mainly from poor