International

Escaping Eritrea — a state ruled by fear, not law

There is no civil war in Eritrea, but a pervasive control system used in absolute arbitrariness to keep the population in a state of permanent anxiety forces thousands to flee every month

Reeling under a reign of terror

The east African nation with a population of 6 million is one of the world's poorest

It has been marked by repression and fear since its independence from Ethiopia in 1993

Ultimate power has remained largely in the hands of one man, President Isaias Afewerki

Faced with a seemingly hopeless situation they feel powerless to change, hundreds of thousands of Eritreans are fleeing their country. It is not law that rules Eritreans – but fear — Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, 2015

Eritreans have no say in governance and little control over many aspects of their own lives

The nation has one party, has never held free elections and has no independent judiciary

People are forced into decades-long military service, then exploited as slave labour for the state

Tens of thousands are arrested, often without charge and tortured for indeterminate periods

Isaias is accused of sponsoring regional rebels including Al-Qaeda affiliate, the Shebab

Eritrea’s state-controlled economy is in the doldrums and Isaias rejects foreign aid

Journey to freedom

Eritrea is the third-largest source of refugees trying to reach Europe, after Syrians and Afghans

Many crawl under razor wires, tiptoe across minefields and sneak past guards in their bid for freedom

They first make the perilous journey into Sudan, then across Libya before setting out to sea to Europe

Eritreans in Europe

40%

22%

18%

7%

4%

9%


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Printable version | May 27, 2022 9:57:33 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Escaping-Eritrea-%E2%80%94-a-state-ruled-by-fear-not-law/article60290332.ece