HRW: Time for Eritrea to release political prisoners


Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling upon the Eritrean government to address ongoing human rights issues as the country emerges from diplomatic isolation.

While last year’s peace deal with Ethiopia has allowed Eritrea to begin networking with international partners, the landmark deal hasn’t improved human rights concerns in the way many had hoped. Now, HRW is calling upon the government to release all political prisoners, including a number of critics who have been detained since 2001.

HRW calls for release of political prisoners

Following ast year’s peace deal with Ethiopia, Eritrea is already enjoying the economic benefits regional cooperation with neighbouring countries and the geopolitical status of being a member state of the United National Security Council.

However, critics say the country has done nothing to address its human rights issues, despite having one of the worst records in the world.

This includes the country’s repressive enforced national service programme and an aggressive policy of clamping down on all forms of government criticism.

“Eighteen years ago today, the Eritrean government began its chilling clampdown on those it perceived as critics, decimating the country’s budding independent press in the process,” Human Rights Watch says.

“Eighteen years later, as Eritrea ends its diplomatic isolation, little has changed for its citizens.”

The rights group is calling upon the government to release all political prisoners and show the world it is willing to address its domestic issues rather than simply benefit from greater international integration.

“The government should listen to Eritreans’ call for reform and an end to abuses. It should begin by immediately releasing those imprisoned 18 years ago and the many other political prisoners.”