AllAfrica.com is reporting that Eritrea is the most censored country in the world, according to a new list released by the Committee to Protect Journalists. According to the article, thousands of Eritreans flee to Europe to escape arbitrary arrests and torture in their homeland.
Stefanie Duckstein writes:
“The human rights organization Amnesty International describes Eritrea as one of the most repressive regimes in the world. President Isaias Afewerki has been in power for 22 years. Afewerki is in effect the union head of state, head of government, commander in chief of the armed forces, parliament speaker and leader of the only authorized party, the PFDJ. ‘Since 1993 when Eritrea gained independence, it has had only one president, only one party. And no opposition is allowed,’ says Clara Braungart, Eritrea researcher at Amnesty International. All forms of civil society are prohibited. Media is not independent as there is only one state-run TV and radio outlet. ‘Against this background, no freedom is possible,’ says Braungart.”
Since 1998, Eritrea has been involved in a border dispute with Ethiopia. Many oppressive laws and policies are passed under the banner of being a “threat to national security.” At age 18, Eritreans are also required to serve 16 months in the military for very little pay. If they refuse, then they are arrested and tortured. In 2012, the Eritrean football team sought asylum in Uganda because of the oppressive environment. In January 2015, six Eritrean journalists were freed after spending six years in prison. According to Reporters Without Borders, sixteen journalists remain jailed.
While there has been some push back against the oppressive state of the country, human rights activists are saying it just isn’t enough.
Read more at AllAfrica.com.