Wednesday, July 18, 2012

UN Human Rights Council adopts first resolution on Eritrea

Tens of thousands of Eritreans, including many Christians,
are in prison today. Many are held in shipping containers.
This month, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted its first resolution on Eritrea, approving the mandate for a Special Rapporteur who will report to the HRC and the UN General Assembly on the human rights situation in Eritrea, reports Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

Eritrea is one of the world’s most repressive regimes, often likened to North Korea. It is a single party state dominated by a dictatorial president. The military pervades every aspect of society, including education and the economy.  Military conscription, which can last indefinitely, is mandatory for all citizens aged between 18 and 48, and conscripts are often used as forced labour in development projects and farms.

Tens of thousands of Eritreans, including many Christians, languish in the country’s maze of detention centres without having received, and with no hope of receiving, due process.  Thousands more flee their country every year, risking a government shoot-to-kill border policy, with many falling prey to extortion and torture by people traffickers.

However, when responding to the text of the resolution, the head of the Eritrean delegation denied the prevalence of forced labour and claimed there were "no gross human rights violations in Eritrea.”

In an interview with Mission Network News, VOM-USA’s Todd Nettleton explained the situation many Christians are facing in Eritrea. "Thousands of Eritrean Christians have been arrested,” he said. “They've been put into the jail system or the military prison system. Some of them have been held in shipping containers literally without running water, without a bathroom – just locked in a shipping container."

"Not a single Christian has been formally charged with any crime," Nettleton explains. "Not a single Christian has been put on trial, has been allowed to have an attorney. None of that. They simply have disappeared into the prison system."

Some have been released months or years later. Others are never heard from again.

Please keep Eritrea in your prayers.
  • Pray that this resolution will bring about positive change in Eritrea.
  • Pray that Christians in Eritrea will remain steadfast in their faith.
  • Pray that God will open doors of opportunity for those in prison for their faith to clearly share the gospel for which they suffer (Colossians 4:2-3).
To read the testimony of Kidane, an Eritrean Christian who faced imprisonment and is now a refugee, click here. For more information on Eritrea’s persecuted Church, go to the Eritrea Country Report.

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