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Eritrea: US State Department Country Report On Human Rights

The US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor has issued yet another devastating report on the Isaias Afwerki administration.  Below is the executive summary as well as a link to the entire report at the State Department website.

Executive Summary

The Government of Eritrea is an authoritarian regime under the control of President Isaias Afwerki. The People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), headed by President Afwerki, is the sole political party. The PFDJ has controlled the country since 1991. Elections have not taken place since the country’s independence from Ethiopia in 1993. Elements of the security forces frequently and with impunity acted independently of civilian control.

There were consistent and persistent reports of serious human rights violations. These abuses included, but were not limited to, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions that included torture and incommunicado detention, which sometimes resulted in death; forced labor of indefinite duration through the mandatory national service program; and the severe restriction of civil liberties including freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, and religion.

Other abuses included the following: unlawful killings by security forces; politically motivated disappearances; arbitrary arrest and detention, including of national service evaders and their family members; executive interference in the judiciary and the use of a special court system to limit due process; the detention of political prisoners and detainees; and infringement of privacy rights. They also included a lack of due process and excessive pretrial detention, and severe limits on freedom of movement and travel for all citizens, residents, and humanitarian agencies. All remaining international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were forced to close during the year, and the activities of the UN were severely restricted. Societal abuse and discrimination against women, the Kunama ethnic group, gay men and lesbians, members of certain religious groups, and persons with disabilities occurred. Female genital mutilation (FGM) was prevalent in rural areas. The government limited worker rights. Child abuse and forced child labor were problems.

The government did not take steps to prosecute or punish officials who committed abuses, whether in the security services or elsewhere in the government. Impunity was the norm…

Read the rest of the report here (external link)

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