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ICC Note:
Eritrea, sometimes called “the North Korea of Africa,” continues to be one of the world’s worst persecutor of Christians. According to new reports, the levels of persecution in Eritrea are escalating to unprecedented heights. 42 Christians were reported to have been arrested last week for their “unsanctioned” Christian activities in Eritrea. The brings the total number of know Christians arrested and detained for their faith in Eritrea to 191 this year alone. It is estimated that over 1,200 Christians are imprisoned for their faith in Eritrea, but some reports indicate that number could be as high as 3,000. Set apart for some of the cruelest treatment in prison, Christians in Eritrea are in desperate need of prayer.
5/31/2013 Eritrea (Christian Today) – Religious persecution in Eritrea is at its “highest level ever and getting worse”, an Eritrean Christian leader, who cannot be named for security reasons, has told the Christian charity Open Doors International.
Thirty-seven Christian students from the College of Arts and Social Sciences in the town of Adi Kihe, and five men from the Church of the Living God in Asmara, were arrested last week, taking the total number of Christians known to have been arrested this year to 191.
Open Doors, a ministry to Christians who live under pressure because of their faith, estimates around 1,200 Christians are now incarcerated in Eritrea. However, some estimates claim the figure to be as high as 3,000.
Churches in Eritrea have been monitored closely since May 2002, when the government closed all Protestant and Pentecostal churches which did not apply for registration with the department of Religious affairs.
Eleven years later, there is evidence of widespread human rights abuses by the Eritrean government, according to human rights organisation, Amnesty International.
“Twenty years on from the euphoric celebrations of independence, Eritrea is one of the most repressive, secretive and inaccessible countries in the world,” Amnesty International’s Eritrea Researcher, Claire Beston, told the BBC.
In its latest report this month, Amnesty International reported evidence of “arbitrary arrest and detention without trial on a vast scale to crush all actual and suspected opposition, to silence government critics and to punish anyone who refuses to comply with the restrictions on human rights imposed by the government”.
The government of Eritrea rejected the report as “wild accusations” and “totally unsubstantiated”.
However, Selam Kidane, an Eritrean expatriate and Director of Release Eritrea, a UK-based human rights organisation, told World Watch Monitor there had been an “intensification” of religious persecution since January.
“We can’t pin it down to anything that has happened, or triggered it, but there have been lots of arrests,” she said.
Kidane said the Eritrean government is following the leaders of illegal underground churches to gather information and make arrests.
And while religious persecution in Eritrea is not limited to Christians, Kidane said the underground Christian church has suffered most.
“Any religion that’s not willing to come under the control of the government is being persecuted,” she said. “It’s not just confined to Christians. But in terms of being completely banned, it’s the minority churches that have suffered the most – the Pentecostal Church, the Evangelical Church – they are ones that have been stigmatised and been accused of all sorts of things by their communities and by other faith groups.”

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