25 Years of Independence and Suppression in Eritrea
As it celebrates the 25th anniversary of the overthrow of Ethiopian rule, Eritrea continues to hemorrhage citizens under one-party, anti-democratic rule. Indefinite military conscription, mobility restrictions, and the absence of civil liberties have greatly diminished prospects for Eritreans, driving youth from the country in droves and into trans-Mediterranean trafficking networks in which thousands have died. Some estimates put the emigration rate at 5,000 people per month, second only to Syrians in contributing to the swelling of the Mediterranean migration crisis in 2015.
The Eritrean government has been particularly unfriendly to journalists and other writers, who have faced high insecurity following the 2001 roundup of independent newspaper editors in a push by the Eritrean president to crack down on public dissent. In the diaspora, Eritreans have found themselves involuntarily bound to the government as attempts to access documents and send remittances has subjected them to taxes international monitors liken to extortion. Amidst independence celebrations, both native and diasporan Eritreans continue to work to organize an effective opposition against the presidential regime and bring about a democratic renaissance for the country’s disenfranchised citizenry.
“Eritreans still denied freedom 25 years after independence” (The Guardian)
“A quarter of a century after independence Eritreans still yearn for freedom” (The Conversation)
“How to End the Eritrean Refugee Crisis” (The Nation, December 2015)
“‘If we don’t give them a voice, no one will’: Eritrea’s forgotten journalists, still jailed after 14 years” (The Guardian, August 2015)
“Outside Eritrea looking in: a diaspora that stands divided” (The Guardian, August 2015)
“UN Inquiry reports gross human rights violations in Eritrea” (UNHCR, June 2015)
25 years of independence in Eritrea: Thousands continue to flee repressive regime (France 24 English)
Eritrea: Delving into a Sealed-Off Country (Deutsche Welle, April 2015)
Eritrea profile: Timeline (BBC)
2015 prison census: 199 journalists jailed worldwide (The Committee to Protect Journalists, December 2015)
Eritrean Solidarity Movement for National Salvation (Simret)
(Image Credit: Boris Roessler/EPA, via The Guardian)