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ICC Note: Eritrea is one of the most difficult places in the world to be a Christian. The government treats brothers and sisters in Christ as enemies, simply for following Jesus. Extra-judicial killings, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, and detention in metal shipping containers in the desert mark the kinds of treatment the Eritrean state levies against Christians. As a result, Eritreans represent the largest per capita flow of refugees heading for Europe.

By Valerie Frank

1/14/16 Eritrea (African Arguments) – Reports on Eritrea tend to ask why so many are fleeing the country. The more relevant question is: Why are so many fleeing the country now?

In one of the latest major media reports on the large numbers of refugees fleeing Eritrea, the BBC followed in the footsteps of many of its predecessors.

In the ‘Exodus from Eritrea’ radio discussion, the BBC World Service began by asking why so many Eritreans are leaving the country. In response, the discussants mentioned the usual suspects: the country’s indefinite national service; UN sanctions over outdated reports of Eritrean assistance to al-Shabaab; Ethiopia’s occupation of the disputed town of Badme; economic collapse; and human rights abuses.

The programme then asked what can be done to stem the flow of refugees. On this question, the idea of enhancing international engagement with Eritrea on issues of trade and investment was proposed as well as greater support regarding border demarcation and increased aid.

Attention was drawn to the fact that isolation and punitive measures aimed at the ruling PFDJ has so far failed to bring Eritrea “in from the cold”.

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