Human rights in Eritrea

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Human rights in Eritrea are viewed as poor.[1] Eritrea is a one-party state in which national legislative elections have been repeatedly postponed,[2] the judiciary is weak, and constitutional provisions protecting individual freedom have yet to be fully implemented.[citation needed] Some Western countries, particularly the United States, accuse the Government of Eritrea of arbitrary arrest and detentions and of detaining an unknown number of people without charge for their political activism. However, the Eritrean government has continuously dismissed the accusations as politically motivated. [3] As an attempt at reform, Eritrean government officials and NGO representatives have participated in numerous public meetings and dialogues.[4] A new movement called Citizens for Democratic Rights in Eritrea aimed at bringing about dialogue between the government and opposition was also formed in early 2009.[5]

Overview[edit]

Eritrea is a one-party state in which national legislative elections have been repeatedly postponed,[2] and its human rights record is considered among the worst in the world.[6][1] Since Eritrea's conflict with Ethiopia in 1998–2001, Eritrea's human rights record has worsened.[7] Human rights violations are frequently committed by the government or on behalf of the government. Freedom of speech, press, assembly, and association are limited. Those that practice "unregistered" religions, try to flee the nation, or escape military duty are arrested and put into prison.[7]

Jehovah’s Witnesses are especially victimized. According to Amnesty International Eritrea is one of the world's most repressive countries in the world. In recent years there has been increasing measures to prevent worshipers from practicing their faith. Some of the most prosecuted are Jehovah Witness, and members of Evangelical congregations. The Eritrean government has shut down their churches, and persecuted many members of the congregations. After independence president Issias Afwerki’s administration denied all basic rights to Jehovah Witnesses. All members could not receive any government assistant or use any government services. Jehovah Witnesses are not allowed to obtain national identification cards. Without these cards, they are not allowed to participate in the political and social sphere of Eritrea. National identification cards permit citizens to participate in everyday life and transaction with the government or any financial institution. The government began to informally allow Jehovah Witness members to practice their faith within their home. They were still barred from practicing in any public space. Many families fled the country to seek asylum abroad due to mass persecution and imprisonment. According to Amnesty International, there are currently 250 families that have left Eritrea to seek asylum abroad.[8] Domestic and international human rights organizations are not allowed to function in Eritrea.[6] The registered, census-based religions are the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church (a miaphysite Oriental Orthodox denomination), the Roman Catholic Church, Eritrean Lutheran Church, and Sunnite Islam. All other religions are persecuted, including other denominations of Islam, such as Shi'ism, and other denominations of Christianity, such as any of the myriad Protestant denominations and Jehovah's Witnesses. All denominations of Christianity were given freedom of worship until 2002 when the government outlawed worship and assembly outside the 'registered' denominations. Evangelical churches in Eritrea have been some of the most persecuted religious groups. For religious groups to participate and freely practice their faith they must apply for registration with the Department of Religious Affairs. The government has seized many churches and religious buildings.[9]

In 2003, there was a record amount of arrest made on members of Evangelical churches. Law enforcements officials go to different religious gatherings or weddings to carry out mass arrests, “Police singled out religious weddings in homes as occasions to round up believers.” It is normal for the government to make followers recant their faith, “The detainees were usually pressured under torture or ill-treatment, with the threat of indefinite detention, to sign a document agreeing to certain conditions of release, such as not to attend religious meetings. Some were reportedly forced to recant their faith and agree to rejoin the Orthodox Church.” Many of these religious prisoners were often part secret trials, and secret prison sentences.[10] There has been no known reason for the “crackdown” on Evangelical churches, according to Amnesty International, “ongoing crackdown on minority religious groups was never given by the government but it appeared to be partly linked to government action against young people trying to avoid military conscription".[11] Religious prisoners are often tortured in Eritrea.[12] Freedom of worship is one of the top reasons thousands of Eritreans flee the country. There are thousands of Eritreans in Ethiopia, Sudan, Israel, Europe and the West seeking asylum.[1]

Freedom of speech and the press are severely constrained while freedom of assembly, association, movement, and religion also are restricted.

Reforms[edit]

Eritrean government officials and NGO representatives have participated in numerous public meetings and dialogues. In these sessions they have answered questions as fundamental as, "What are human rights?", "Who determines what are human rights?", and "What should take precedence, human or communal rights?".[4]

In 2007, the Eritrean government banned female genital mutilation.[13] In Regional Assemblies and religious circles, Eritreans themselves speak out continuously against the use of female circumcision. They cite health concerns and individual freedom as being of primary concern when they say this. Furthermore they implore rural peoples to cast away this ancient cultural practice.[14][15]

A new movement called Citizens for Democratic Rights in Eritrea aimed at bringing about dialogue between the government and opposition was formed in early 2009. The group consists of ordinary citizens and some people close to the government. The movement was launched at a two day conference in London, after previous attempts at dialogue failed.[5]

Historical situation[edit]

The following is a chart of Eritrea's ratings since 1993 in the Freedom in the World reports, published annually by Freedom House. A rating of 1 is "free"; 7, "not free".[16]1

International treaties[edit]

Eritrea's stances on international human rights treaties are as follows:


See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

1.^ Note that the "Year" signifies the "Year covered". Therefore the information for the year marked 2008 is from the report published in 2009, and so on.
2.^ As of 24 May (Independence Day) in 1993; 1 January thereafter.
3.^ The 1982 report covers the year 1981 and the first half of 1982, and the following 1984 report covers the second half of 1982 and the whole of 1983. In the interest of simplicity, these two aberrant "year and a half" reports have been split into three year long reports through interpolation.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Eritrea Human Rights Overview Human Rights Watch
  2. ^ a b Eritrea Grassroots International
  3. ^ "HUMAN RIGHTS AND ERITREA’S REALITY". E Smart. E Smart Campaign. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Public Dialogue Human Rights in Eritrea". 2006-06-01. Archived from the original on 2006-09-08. Retrieved 2006-09-10. 
  5. ^ a b Plaut, Martin (2009-01-11). "Eritrea group seeks human rights". BBC News. 
  6. ^ a b Eritrea. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011. U.S. State Department
  7. ^ a b Associated Press (25 October 2013). "Eritrea's human rights record comes under fire at United Nations". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ [4]
  12. ^ CSW-USA on Eritrea CSW
  13. ^ "Eritrea bans female circumcision". BBC News. 2007-04-04. 
  14. ^ "Anseba Religious leaders condemn female circumcision". 2006-08-31. Retrieved 2006-09-10. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Religious leaders of Northern Red Sea region condemn female circumcision". 2006-09-09. Retrieved 2006-09-10. [dead link]
  16. ^ Freedom House (2012). "Country ratings and status, FIW 1973-2012" (XLS). Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  17. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 1. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Paris, 9 December 1948". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  18. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 2. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. New York, 7 March 1966". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  19. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 3. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. New York, 16 December 1966". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  20. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 4. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. New York, 16 December 1966". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  21. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 5. Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. New York, 16 December 1966". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  22. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 6. Convention on the non-applicability of statutory limitations to war crimes and crimes against humanity. New York, 26 November 1968". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  23. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 7. International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. New York, 30 November 1973". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  24. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 8. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. New York, 18 December 1979". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  25. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 9. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. New York, 10 December 1984". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  26. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 11. Convention on the Rights of the Child. New York, 20 November 1989". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  27. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 12. Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. New York, 15 December 1989". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  28. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 13. International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. New York, 18 December 1990". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  29. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 8b. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. New York, 6 October 1999". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  30. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 11b. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. New York, 25 May 2000". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  31. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 11c. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. New York, 25 May 2000". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  32. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 15. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. New York, 13 December 2006". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  33. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 15a. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. New York, 13 December 2006". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  34. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 16. International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. New York, 20 December 2006". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  35. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 3a. Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. New York, 10 December 2008". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  36. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Treaty Collection: Chapter IV: Human Rights: 11d. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure . New York, 19 December 2011. New York, 10 December 2008". Retrieved 2012-08-29. 

External links[edit]