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Thousands continue to flee Eritrea – HRW

Thousands of Eritreans, including many children, continue to flee Eritrea because of human rights abuses and the nation’s indefinite national service, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report says.

Legally, conscription begins at the age of 18, but many children are also caught during round-ups, especially in urban areas, and sent directly to the military, HRW says in its World Report 2020.

It cites the UN high commissioner for refugees as saying that 507,300 Eritreans had fled the country between 1993 and 2018 – about 10% of the population.

It adds that conscientious objection is not recognised and is punished harshly.

Most men and women are forced to work in government-run industries while others are forced to work on infrastructure run by foreign mining companies – often with little pay.

Eritrea is considered one of the most repressive states in Africa. The country continues to deny access to the UN special rapporteur for Eritrea as well as human rights monitors, the report stated.

There have been no elections in the country since independence in 1993 and President Isaias Afewerki has been in power for almost 27 years.

Despite the peace agreement with Ethiopia in July 2018, the government still has not implemented the constitution approved in 1997 by the transitional national assembly.

Recently Eritrea nationalised religious schools and closed health facilities run by the Catholic church.


Source: bbc.com

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