Eritreans in Refugee Camps Fear Being Sent Home
12/20/2018 Eritrea (International Christian Concern) – There are tens of Thousands of people in Northern Ethiopia that have been living in squaller and fear after they fled their homes in Eritrea. These people have often been living for years in one of the four large Refugee Camps, Mai Aini, Adiharush, Hitsats and Shimelba. These four camps host at least 50,000 Eritreans who have fled their homeland for a variety of reasons including religious persecution, forced military conscription for life, false imprisonment as well as many others.
Now that relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea have been normalized, after a 20-year border war, many of these people now fear repatriation. Despite the awful conditions of the camps, many of these refugees believe that if they are sent back to Eritrea, they will undergo persecution once again.
This is a very valid fear. Many people have hoped that this normalization would bring about better human rights conditions in the small country, however, this has not happened yet. Since the war was officially ended, there have still been reports of groups of Christians being rounded up and thrown into prison for merely worshipping in their homes. In August, merely one month after the signing of the peace agreement, at least 5 Pentecostal Christians were arrested for going to visit and Ethiopian preacher who had just flown into the country.
Now that it has been six months since the signing of the agreement, it has become clear that despite the peace, President Afwerki, who is clearly a dictator, will not release his hold on religious freedoms. He will continue to arrest and persecute any he feels are Christian. Please pray for those who are still living under this tyranny, and for the many who had escaped, but are now fearing that they will be sent back.
For interviews with Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: email@example.com