Human Rights Watch Claims Eritrea ‘Like a Giant Prison’

Many Eritreans are forced into national service up until the age of 55. Photograph: Steve Forrest/EPA

Eritrea is becoming a “giant prison” due to its government’s policies of mass detention, torture and prolonged military conscription, according to a report published today. 

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said state repression had made the tiny Red Sea state one of the highest producers of refugees in the world, with those fleeing risking death or collective punishment against their families.

There is no freedom of speech, worship or movement in Eritrea, while many adults are forced into national service at token wages until up to 55 years of age.

In its 95-page report cataloguing violations against civilians, the New York-based organisation also criticised a €122m (£107m) assistance package from the EU to President Isaias Afewerki’s regime, citing concerns that development projects are carried out by prisoners or conscripts, in violation of international law.

Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at HRW, said: “Eritrea’s government is turning the country into a giant prison. [It] should immediately account for hundreds of ‘disappeared’ prisoners and open its jails to independent scrutiny.”

via Guardian (UK):   Eritrea ‘like a giant prison’, claims human rights group

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