Please sign this petition to call for the release of all religious prisoners in Eritrea
Eritrea today is like one giant prison where hope has disappeared and where the majority of people are denied simple freedoms, basic human dignity and human rights. Since 2002 the repressive regime has closed all evangelical and Pentecostal churches, the government has jailed, tortured and killed numerous Eritreans for political and religious reasons, and tortured and killed many of them extra-judicially. Today, it is estimated that there are just over 400 Christians in Eritrean prisons. Believers face deplorable conditions, including torture. Many are held in metal shipping containers with no ventilation or toilet facilities.
Our partner in Eritrea has identified 35 Eritrean prisoners of faith by name. Now we are calling on the Eritrean government to release these 35 Eritrean prisoners of faith, including those who have been detained in appalling conditions for more than 10 years. Those prisoners are without visitation rights, without any real hope of being released, having never been charged or been granted a trial. These prisoners are men, women and even children. There are other prisoners whose names we don’t know.
You can help by signing the above petition and by promising your prayer support. Click here for the full prayer request list.
Eritrean Country Profile
In 1952, Eritrea joined Ethiopia as part of a federation. When Ethiopia annexed Eritrea as a province 10 years later, a struggle for independence began that ended with victory by the Eritrean rebels in 1991. In 1998, a border war with Ethiopia began, ending with intervention from the U.N. in December 2000 and a peace agreement.
There was a general freedom to practice religion in Eritrea until 2002, when the government announced it would recognize only four religious communities: the Orthodox Church of Eritrea, Sunni Islam, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran-affiliated Evangelical Church of Eritrea.
A November 2010 religious liberty report says that Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki wants to restrict and pre-empt any formation of people’s association. He fears that religious freedom will lead to evangelism by Christian groups and thereby cause social tensions that can be exploited by “outside forces” to destabilize the nation. Additionally, he views democracy as a threat to the nation’s unity and stability.
Despite open persecution, the government continues to support its statement issued in May 2003 that "no groups or persons are persecuted in Eritrea for their beliefs or religion." Of thousands of Christians in detention, not one has been charged with a crime or faced trial. While concerns over Christian persecution have been raised at various international forums, there has been little change in the attitude and policy of the one-party government.