Eritrea. At the beginning of the year, the regime released several politically incarcerated journalists. Six reporters from state radio were released on bail after five years in prison. No justification was given, as otherwise Eritrea was in last place on Reporters Without Borders list of press freedom in the world.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Asmara is the capital of Eritrea which is located in Eastern Africa. There was no information on Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak, who has been imprisoned in Eritrea since 2001. A Swedish preliminary investigation against Eritrean authorities was discussed, but according to the prosecutor’s office, such a possibility would hamper Dawit Isaak’s freedom.
A 500-page UN report in June showed that human rights were systematically violated in Eritrea. People are arrested, even children, without legal basis. Many are tortured, killed or disappeared. The abuses have led to over 360,000 people moving the country. Thousands of Eritreans flee every month, and there are refugees being shot to death at the border. Many Eritreans have also drowned in the Mediterranean on their way to Europe. The report called on the outside world to protect Eritrean refugees and not send them back to Eritrea.
UN reporters were not allowed to enter Eritrea. Instead, they interviewed hundreds of refugees in several countries, including Sweden where tens of thousands of Eritreans live. However, according to the investigators, there were unusually many in Sweden who did not dare to testify because of fear of reprisals. The investigators perceived strong contradictions between regime-critical and regime-friendly refugees in Sweden. According to investigators, the security service in Eritrea has built up an extensive network of indicators that make people not trust each other, not even their closest. Eritrea rejected the UN report as lying. According to the regime, the refugee crisis is due to a conspiracy staged by the CIA.
In September, the EU presented a proposal for a development fund of EUR 200 million to Eritrea in the hope of contributing to better conditions in the country and reducing the reasons for escape. The five-year support should not go through the regime but must be approved by it.
In October, ten players in Eritrea’s football team jumped off after a World Cup qualifier in Botswana, where they received asylum. In Eritrea, sports are usually included in the army, and several competitors have previously jumped abroad.