Looking at the United Nations, human rights are freedoms that are believed to universal human rights that protect individuals and groups against actions which can interfere with fundamental freedoms and human dignity. According to the universal declaration of human rights in Article 5, “No one shall be subjected to torture or, to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Eritrea, a country in the Horn of Africa covers 45,000 square miles with a population of 6.4 million, suffers attacks on human rights every day. Eritrea’s 30-year struggle for independence ended in 1991, with Eritrean rebels defeating government forces.
According to the World Fact Book, “ISAIAS Afworki has been Eritrea’s only president since independence; his rule, particularly since 2001, has been highly autocratic and repressive. His government has created a highly militarized society by pursuing an unpopular program of mandatory conscription into national service, sometimes of indefinite length.” Due to the repressive ruling style of Eritrea’s president, this has let to the governments leaders to be able to do anything they want. According to Human Rights Watch, “Eritrea, has documented serious patterns of human rights violations in Eritrea.
These abuses include arbitrary arrest, torture, appalling detention conditions, forced labor, and severe restrictions on freedom of movement, expression, and worship.” These are all due to a lack of any form of control over a corrupt government. According to BBC news Africa, “Eritrea is the only African country to have no privately-owned news media. The state of media freedom has been described as “scandalous” by watchdog Reporters Without Borders.” Since Eritrea doesn’t allow non governmental media influence on its people, Eritrea’s can’t easily speak their minds on the cruel and degrading conditions they are forced to endeavor such as torture.
Torture affects people of all ages in Eritrea, but mainly 18-40 year olds because “A national service law permits the Eritrean government to conscript citizens to perform compulsory military service for 18 months. However in practice, most conscripts serve for years and face arbitrary detention and mistreatment if they protest or flee. While in national service, conscripts are used as forced labor in private or semi-public construction and agriculture projects. Torture, cruel and degrading treatment, and forced labor are routine for both conscripts and detainees.
Detention conditionsare appalling, with detainees typically held in overcrowded cells – sometimes underground – or in shipping containers that reach searing temperatures by day and are freezing at night.” according to Human Rights Watch.
Three people who have lived this harsh life, according to Jehovah’s Witnesses, are , Paulos Eyassu, Negede Teklemariam, and Isaac Mogos who were arrested on September 24, 1994. “Paulos, Negede, and Isaac were treated severely, even tortured, by authorities in the Sawa prison camp, because they were Jehovah’s Witnesses and conscientiously object to performing military service because of their strongly held religious beliefs. Had they been formally charged with the “crime” of refusing military service, they would have been sentenced to a fixed prison term. Paulos, Negede, and Isaac, now aged 41, 38, and 38 respectively, have spent their youth in confinement.
They have been denied the opportunity to marry and have children, give support to their aging parents, or live their lives as they choose. Additionally they have been denied the opportunity to worship with their fellow believers.”
The Eritrean government is corrupt. Instead of focusing on the real problem, the government is focusing on the “government’s crackdown on Eritrea’s minority churches.” According to The Guardian, they should instead focus on fixing the harsh conditions and lack of basic human rights. Weynay Ghebresilasie an ex Eritrean citizen said, “I still very much love my country, but it’s the harsh conditions and lack of basic human rights which has compelled me to seek asylum”, according to the Think Africa Press. Works Cited
“ERITREA.” Central Intelligence Agency. Central Intelligence Agency, 22 June 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. .
“Eritrea: Domestic Villain, Regional Scapegoat.” Think Africa Press. Think Africa Press, 31 Aug. 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. .”Eritrea Profile.” BBC News. BBC News Africa, 20 Sept. 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. .
“Eritrea: UN Names Commission of Inquiry | Human Rights Watch.” Eritrea: UN Names Commission of Inquiry | Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch, 26 Sept. 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. .
“”I Wanted to Lie Down and Die” | Human Rights Watch.” “I Wanted to Lie Down and Die” | Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch, 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. .
“Modern Day Slavery.” Theguardian.com. The Guardian, 6 Sept. 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. .
“Twenty Years of Unjust Imprisonment in Eritrea-Will It Ever End?” JW.ORG. Jehovah’s Witnesses, 24 Sept. 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. .
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR, Declaration of Human Rights, Human Rights Declaration, Human Rights Charter, The Un and Human Rights.” UN News Center. UN, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2014. .
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