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Release Eritrea! – As Church persecution spreads in Eritrea the Catholic Church of Eritrea outlined its concerns over both being targeted for persecution and also over the hampering of humanitarian efforts, in the government’s attempts of ‘restrictions to church groups’.

The concerns of the Eritrean Catholic Secretariat were outlined on on the 9th of September 2005. The secretariat, a member of the Caritas network stated that amidst 2.3 million Eritreans facing starvation and malnutrition the government of Eritrea is hampering humanitarian efforts in a bid to tighten restrictions on church groups.

The Church aid agency also indicated that the campaign of restricting Church groups culminated in Abune Antonios, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Eritrea’s, forcible removal from duties. The Catholic Church is said to have thus far escaped restrictions but concerns are mounting over possibilities of future targeting.

Dr Berhane Asmelash, Director of Release Eritrea stated that; ‘we have been concerned over the spread of persecution to previously ‘sanctioned’ churches for sometime now, we continue to advocate for unconditional freedom of worship to all Eritreans and call upon all Eritreans and friends of Eritrea to join us in calling for this.’