Amnesty accuses Eritrea of persecuting exiled activists

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Amnesty International has accused Eritrea of targeting and persecuting exiled human rights living abroad who criticise the government in their homeland.

In a scathing report, the rights organisation details cases of Eritrean human rights activists living in exile being harassed and intimidated by members and supporters of Eritrea’s ruling party. The report also accuses the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) of targeting UN human rights experts in Geneva in June 2015.

Activists targeted in exile

Amnesty International points out that Eritrea now sits at the UN Human Rights Council, despite having one of the worst records in the world when it comes to human rights abuses. The Horn of Africa nation’s joining of the council raised a lot of eyebrows last year, considering the country’s track record but Amnesty’s report suggests these violations aren’t only taking place within Eritrea itself.

In a report entitled Eritrea: Repression Without Border, the rights organisation reveals how the Eritrean government targets human rights activists living in exile and people who criticise the regime of Isaias Afwerki – long after they’ve escaped the country.

“Leaving Eritrea does not necessarily mean escaping the repression in Eritrea,” the report says. “The long arms of the state, stretching through Eritrean diplomatic missions and members and supporters of the ruling PJDF party,
closely monitor activities and unleash various forms of threats, attacks and harassment on Eritreans and non-Eritreans who are real or perceived critics of the government and its human rights record.”

The report goes on to cite specific cases of Eritreans living in Kenya and various European cities – as well as the harassment of UN rights experts in Geneva in June 2015 – the day before they presented their findings on human rights abuses in Eritrea to the UN Human Rights Council.

“Amnesty International calls on the Eritrean government to immediately end its policies and practices of harassing, intimidating and attacking dissidents both in Eritrea and abroad,” the report concludes.

“The Eritrean authorities should respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, both at home and abroad.”

Featured image: Amnesty International

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.