Yearbook 2016

Eritrea. The dictatorship regime in Eritrea was subjected to harsh international criticism during the year for the suppression of human rights.

In March, the European Parliament demanded the release of political prisoners and imprisoned journalists, including Eritrean-Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak. Ahead of the 25th anniversary of Eritrean independence, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights urged the country to introduce a constitution, a condition for a rule of law.

The current population of Eritrea is 3,546,432. UN Commission on Human Rights in Eritrea (COIE) said in a report in June that representatives of the country’s regime should be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The so-called National Security Office was identified as responsible for arbitrary arrests, torture and disappearances. Rape and murder were said to belong to the systematic crimes committed to defeat resistance and control the population. The conditions in the military service were described as inhuman due to forced recruitment and enslavement of hundreds of thousands of people. Recruits have testified about how they are utilized as forced labor in society. The regime was also accused of shooting people who try to flee the country if they are caught at the border. According to thereligionfaqs, the Eritrean government described the report as politically motivated and groundless.

Eritrea Population 2016

In June, Eritrea accused neighboring Ethiopia of wanting to start a full-scale war. Struggles occurred across the border with allegedly high death rates, and both countries blamed each other for initiating hostilities.

Eritrea’s foreign minister claimed in an interview in June that journalist Dawit Isaak is alive and that he will be investigated in trial but is likely to be acquitted. Isaak was arrested in 2001 for his criticism of the regime. According to the Foreign Minister, it is the government and not the judiciary that handles issues concerning political prisoners.

Several judges expressed distrust of the minister’s duties and demanded that they be confirmed by President Isaias Afwerki, who appears to have power concentrated in his hands.

In June, the first aid shipment was shipped in a decade from the United Nations Food Program (WFP) through Eritrea to South Sudan via the port city of Mitsiwa. It was seen by observers as a sign of a small opening to the outside world. More recently, Eritrea has also been forced to increase contact with the EU due to the large number of Eritreans who have moved to Europe.

Foreign diplomats stated that Eritrean politicians promised to set a time limit for military service of one and a half years, but the promises have not been kept. Instead, the military service can be extended to over ten years and used for forced pay with low pay in a number of occupations. That seems to be the main reason why maybe 5,000 Eritreans flee the country each month, most young people. The regime claims that due to military threats from Ethiopia, military service cannot be cut. The regime promised during the year to raise wages in public operations in an effort to reduce migration.

During the year, the EU signed an aid package of EUR 200 million to Eritrea, mainly supporting the energy sector. Electricity shortages are a major problem for the business community and for the residents of both the capital Asmera and the countryside.