By Graham Peebles
May 20, 2014
Life in Eritrea is brutal and shrouded in secrecy. The world is indifferent. The regime trusts nobody – even the United Nation’s special rapporteur on Eritrea, Sheila Keetharuth, has been denied a visa.
Poverty, repression and injustice
Last year Keetharuth said: “Basic tenets of the rule of law are not respected.” Following this, the UN Security Council“strongly condemned” Eritrea’s “continued widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” Violations include forced and child labour, “arbitrary detention, and severe restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and religion” as well as violence against women, gender inequality, gender-based violence, female genital mutilation and economic discrimination.Eritrea is beset by fundamental problems, yet President Isaias Afwerki blindly rejects all foreign intervention, including urgent food aid. Eritrea was ranked 77th (out of 78) in the 2013 Global Hunger Index, and over 60 per cent of its population is malnourished. In a report by risk analysis firm Maplecroft, it was identified as the country where child labour is most rampant. Children as young as 15 are routinely conscripted into the military where, according to Human Rights Watch, they are “subject to violence and ill-treatment. Beatings, torture, and prolonged incarcerations are common.” Read More