Eritrea Overview

Few countries on Earth provide worse conditions for civic space than Eritrea. For well over a decade authorities in Eritrea have sustained one of the worst crackdowns on civil liberties ever documented. Driven by a desire to retain absolute political authority, the state has locked up thousands of prisoners of conscience in dire conditions, obliterated any remnants of a free media and deliberately targeted civil society and human rights defenders through harassment and violence. Eritrea has even used foreign courts to intimidate those opposing the state based in other countries. Some journalists have been imprisoned with no contact with the outside world since 2001. This all-out assault on civic space creates a climate of fear in which few people dare to voice dissent. It has also resulted in the mass exodus of Eritreans who, despite the risks, continue to embark in their thousands on desperate journeys to other countries in Africa and Europe.