ICC Note: Eritrea may be officially celebrating its independence from Ethiopia today, 24 years after winning its freedom, but thousands of Christians remain in jail for their faith and so not experience such freedom. Eritrea is one of the most repressive regimes against Christians on earth. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has designated Eritrea a “Country of Particular Concern” in its 2015 Annual Report, meaning it stands among the word’s worst in maintaining difficult conditions for promoting freedom of religion. Christians experience untold horrors from temperature extremes, to torture, to pressure to recant their faith, among other horrors.
5/22/15 Eritrea (Mission Network News) – On Sunday, Eritrea marks 24 years of independence.
For Eritrean Christians, freedom isn’t theirs to celebrate as much if they’re a part of the underground church. While religious persecution in Eritrea is not limited to Christians, the underground Christian church has suffered most.
According to the latest report from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the religious freedom situation is particularly serious for Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Greg Musselman is a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs Canada. “Today, you’ve got anywhere between 3000-4000 Christians there that are imprisoned in shipping containers or military camps because of their faith.” He says Eritrea also tolerates torture or other ill-treatment of religious prisoners, random arrests, and detentions without charges, and has a ban on public religious activities. Why? “The government of Eritrea sees evangelical Christianity as ‘western.’ They link it with the CIA, so as a result, they’re clamping down on the evangelicals within the country.”