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CSW urges peaceful protest to mark International Human Rights Day

12/4/06 Eritrea (CSW), Release Eritrea and Eritreans for Human and Democratic Rights have organized a peaceful protest outside the Eritrean Embassy in Islington, London in the lead up to the International Human Rights Day 2006 on 10 December. Several thousand prisoners of conscience are detained without charge or trial in Eritrea . Protesters will seek to highlight the wide variety of human rights abuses carried out by the Eritrean regime, including the pervasive use of torture and extra-judicial killings in the country’s many detention centers.

The London protest will mark the culmination of a series of demonstrations organized by the Eritrean Diaspora during 2006. Similar demonstrations have already been held in South Africa , the USA and the Netherlands .

The demonstration will take place on Friday 8 December from 14:00-17:00 outside the Eritrean Embassy at 96 White Lion Street, London , N1 9PF.

Notes to Editor:

1. Several thousand people are currently thought to be detained in Eritrea . Life in the country is increasingly characterized by random disappearances, with people being arbitrarily detained without any official notification to family and friends. The government also practices “revolving door arrests”, whereby people are detained and released only to be detained again at a later date.

2. Eritrea is currently a mass of detention centers. Prisons are so overcrowded that airport hangars, police stations and other unsuitable accommodation function as long or short term holding cells for the country’s burgeoning population of detainees, despite lacking adequate sanitation and other facilities.

2. On 22 May 2002, the Eritrean government ordered the closure of all churches not belonging to the Orthodox, Roman Catholic or Lutheran denominations, and an end to all other religious practices except Islam. Some 2000 Christians are currently detained, for the most part without charge, in Eritrea .

4. Christians constitute an estimated two-thirds of the country’s known prisoners of conscience. Amongst them is the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Abune Antonius, who has been illegally removed from office and placed under house arrest for objecting to government interference in church affairs. In October it was reported that two young Christians, Immanuel Andegergesh and Kibrom Firemichel were tortured to death two days after having been arrested for holding a religious service in a private home south of Asmara .

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a human rights organisation specialising in religious freedom. CSW works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.