|Persecution Type:||Dictatorial Paranoia|
|Main Religion:||Christianity, Islam|
|Leader:||President Isaias Afwerki|
Since 1993, President Afwerki has overseen an authoritarian brutal regime that rests on massive human rights violations. During the 2019 World Watch List reporting period, government security forces conducted many house-to-house raids and imprisoned hundreds of Christians in inhumane conditions, including small shipping containers in scorching heat. Protestants, in particular, face serious problems in accessing community resources, especially social services provided by the State.
In 2018, Eritrea embraced an end to hostility with both Ethiopia and Somalia. How that agreement will play out for the situation of Christians remains to be seen. This extreme pressure and state-sanctioned violence are forcing some Christians to flee Eritrea–often called “Africa’s North Korea”–and seek asylum.
Christians are being forced to join the armed forces, and Protestants, in particular, face serious problems with accessing community resources, especially social services provided by the state. Individuals from non-traditional church groups, such as evangelicals, face the harshest persecution forms of Christian persecution. Both converts from a Muslim background and cross-denominational converts from an Orthodox background encounter harsh mistreatment from their families and communities.
In the 2019 World Watch List reporting period, government security forces have continued to conduct numerous raids on Christians and house churches and have arrested hundreds of Christians who are being held by the government in miserable conditions. Some have been discovered in shipping containers in scorching temperatures. This is happening despite the reported release of some 30 Christians in July 2018.
Thousands of Christians have been arrested and imprisoned over the years, some of whom have been detained for well over a decade.
Eritrea is the home of the Eritrean Orthodox Church whose Christian history is defined by the Orthodox Church. Therefore, other denominations—in particular, Pentecostal churches—are not regarded as legitimate. This exclusion leads to persecution on many fronts for non-traditional believers.
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