September 21, 2019 News


Posted On September 18, 2019

Return all confiscated properties to the Eritrean Catholic Church so that it can continue its virtuous work of teaching and caring for Eritrea’s vulnerable and underserved.

Eritrea, named for the beautiful Red Sea coast it is situated on, is tragically a nation in peril. Eritrea’s current regime is a prolific human rights violator, imprisoning thousands of citizens and denying them freedom of mobility and of the press. The Eritrean Catholic Church’s health facilities and schools along with those of other religious groups have become the most recent casualties of the turbulent political climate that exists within Eritrea.

This is a call to action directed at the Canadian government in particular and the international community in general. This is a call for a maximum exertion of pressure on the Eritrean government so that it reopens closed Catholic run health facilities and schools. This call to action is on behalf of those affected by these unjust closures. The Eritrean Catholic Church has been rendering much appreciated educational and health services in Eritrea for more than a century.

The Eritrean Catholic Church’s health care services were being provided free of cost to patients and were accessible to all those in need. A total of 29 health facilities and clinics were run by The Eritrean Catholic Church, providing vital services to tens of thousands of Eritreans from all walks of life, Catholic and non Catholic alike. These clinics were shut down and confiscated by the Eritrean government 8 in December 2018 and 21 on June 12, 2019. The majority of people receiving health services were villagers from remote parts of Eritrea. Hence these services provided essential life-prolonging treatment.

In addition to closing health care facilities, the Eritrean government has sadly closed 7 secondary schools, five Catholic Secondary schools, one Faith mission secondary school and one Islamic Secondary school on September 03, 2019. In doing this, the Eritrean government has effectively denied the Catholic Church its inalienable right to both teach and care for the Eritrean people as it has done for over a century. The vast majority of the closed health care facilities and schools were located on church premises and within monasteries; therefore, with the closures, a vital link between The Catholic Church and the Eritrean people it serves has been abruptly severed. Further still, the confiscation and seizure of church administered schools and health care facilities have effectively added Eritrean Catholics to a long list of religiously persecuted groups within Eritrea.

In the spirit of human dignity and preservation of life, we, Catholics and Eritreans alike, reaffirm our call upon the Canadian government and the international community to exert maximum pressure on the Eritrean government to respect religious freedom and to immediately return all
confiscated properties to the Catholic Church so that it may continue its virtuous work of teaching and caring for Eritrea’s vulnerable and underserved.

Eritrean Catholic Geez Rite Chaplaincy Toronto

Eritrean bishops protest government seizure of Catholic schools

By  Francis Njuguna, Catholic News Service

  • September 19, 2019

Source: Catholic Register

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) — Eritrean bishops protested the government’s seizure of Catholic schools and asked that the church be enabled to continue its educational and health services.

“If this is not hatred against the faith and against religion, what else can it be?” Archbishop Menghesteab Tesfamariam of Asmara, Bishop Thomas Osman of Barentu, Bishop Kidane Yebio of Keren and Bishop Fikremariam Hagos Tsalim of Segheneity said in a letter to Eritrea’s minister of public education.

“Our voice of protest” is raised again at the government’s “arbitrary and unilateral measures,” the bishops said, noting that the closure of its schools follows the seizure of its clinics and other medical facilities in June.

“Considering that the actions that are being taken against our educational and health institutions are contrary to the rights and to the legitimate freedom of the church and heavily limit the exercise of the postulates of faith, mission and social services, we ask that the recent resolutions are reviewed and the consequent course of action promptly stopped,” the bishops said.

The Most Holy Redeemer Secondary School of Asmara’s seminary was closed two years ago, with three other secondary schools closed in September; one of the secondary schools includes a primary school.

The bishops said in June that all health facilities run by the Catholic Church in Eritrea — more than 20, with many on the property of monasteries — had been seized by the government.

In their letter to the minister, Semere Re’esom, the bishops asked that the church be allowed to continue its “precious and highly appreciated services to the people.”

If the government seeks changes to the way these institutions are run, there should be “open and constructive dialogue,” they said, noting that the church has always sought dialogue “on everything concerning the situation of our church and our nation.”

The Catholic Church makes up about 5% of Eritrea’s population of 6 million people.

In April, the bishops angered the government by releasing a pastoral letter calling for a national reconciliation process to go along with respect for human rights and religious freedom.

Ruled by President Isaias Afwerki since 1993, Eritrea has been strongly criticized by human rights groups, especially over reports of detention without trial, open-ended military conscription and bans on some faiths. Regulations introduced in 1995 limit any developmental activities of religious institutions, including schools, hospitals, agricultural projects and sponsoring education for vulnerable children.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country in recent years, with many making perilous journeys through deserts and across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

Eritrea Should End 18 Years of Darkness

Thursday, 19 September 2019 21:06 Written by

Free All Political Prisoners, Including Critics Held Since 2001


September 18, 2019 Ethiopia, News

Source: Addis Standard

Addis Abeba, September 18/2019 – Sileshi Bekele (PhD), Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity said Ethiopia has rejected Egypt’s latest proposal on the filling of multi-billion dollar Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

A tripartite meeting between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan took place in Cairo on Sunday and Monday for the first time in more than a year. Earlier reports show Egypt and Ethiopia were “at odds” over the issue.

Speaking to local media today, Dr. Sileshi said that Egypt has proposed its own plans which suggested the filling of the dam’s reservoir to be conducted within seven years period of time and a minimum guaranteed release of 40 billion meter cubic (BMC) of water every year as well as demand to maintain High Aswan Dam (HAD) at 165 meter above sea level.

A classified document obtained by Addis Standard discussing Ethiopia’s position on the demands made by Egypt (refereed as “Technical aspects of the agreement on the Filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam(GERD)”, submitted on 1st of ‘ August 2019″) rejected the demands and provided explanations on Ethiopia’s position.

Accordingly, Ethiopia rejected Egypt’s proposal demanding it “to commit to release the ‘natural average flow’ of the Blue Nile measured at the GERD site because it was “based on the recorded flow of the Blue Nile for the period 1911 to 2018.” During this period, the Blue Nile flow fluctuated between a minimum of approximately 29 BCM (in 1984) to a maximum of 69 BCM (in 1917)’ The average annual flow for this 108 years is approximately 49 BCM.”

“The Blue Nile has no longer been in natural flow state since the time Ethiopia started implementing irrigation g projects on the Blue Nile ,such as the Fincha Hydro-power  the Tana-Beles, the Chara-Chara weir etc. Therefore demanding n “natural average flow” be guaranteed means denying the existence of these current uses (projects),” the document said.

Ethiopia also rejected the 40 BMC annual release of water on the bases that “such stringent condition of annual flow release is not acceptable to Ethiopia as it prolongs the filling of the GERD.”

With regard to Egypt’s demand “to maintain High Aswan Dam (HAD) at 165 meter above sea level”, Ethiopia rejected the demand saying “this request is technically impractical and is tantamount to agreeing to hold the operation of the GERD hostage to Egyptian water use downstream. Further since Ethiopia cannot control Egyptian water use/withdrawal from HAD, agreeing to this demand means ending up in perpetual ‘water debt.’”

“The request by Egypt is not practical and, therefore, Ethiopia outright rejects it,” the document reads and concluded that when all the elements of the Egyptian proposal are considered in aggregate, the commutative effect will result in: a) Prolong the filing of GERD indefinitely; b) GERD will primarily be there to compensate for Egyptian water deficit, serving as second backup reservoir to HAD; c) GERD will not deliver its economic return to Ethiopia; d) The proposed Permanent coordination Mechanism infringes on Ethiopia’s sovereignty; e) Ethiopia will forfeit its rights to equitable and reasonable utilization of the Blue Nile water resources.

September 18, 2019



Seven religious schools in Eritrea, four of them sponsored by the Catholic Church, have been seized by the country’s government this month. Catholic bishops in the country say the move was motivated by “hatred against the faith.”

“If this is not hatred against the faith and against religion what else can it be?” Eritrea’s bishops asked in a Sept. 4 letter addressed to the Minister of Public Education, Semere Re’esom.

The seven schools seized by the government include three run Protestant and Muslim groups, according to Comboni Catholic missionaries serving in the area. The schools have been nationalized, and will reportedly now be run by the country’s education ministry.

The Eritrean government has also seized Church-run health facilities.

“The actions that are being taken against our educational and health institutions are contrary to the rights and to the legitimate freedom of the Church,” the bishops wrote in their Sept. 4 letter.

The bishops also suggested that the government raise to them any objections to the way in which Catholic schools and hospitals are administered in Eritrea.


“If there are situations that need to be corrected or adjusted, not only is it good, but even the only viable way, in order for this to take place in a context of an open and constructive dialogue,” the bishops wrote.

Eritrea is a one-party state whose human rights record has frequently been deplored.

It is believed the seizures are retaliatory, after the Church in April called for reforms to reduce emigration.

The bishops had also called for national reconciliation.
Government seizure of Church property is not new, however.

A 1995 decree restricting social and welfare projects to the state has been used intermittently since then to seize or close ecclesial services.

In July 2018, an Eritrean Catholic priest helping immigrants and refugees in Italy told EWTN that authorities had recently shut down eight free Catholic-run medical clinics. He said authorities claimed the clinics were unnecessary because of the presence of state clinics.

Christian and Muslim schools have also been closed under the 1995 decree, according to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2019 annual report.

Eritrea has been designated a Country of Particular Concern since 2004 for its religious freedom abuses by the US Department of State.

Many Eritreans, especially youth, emigrate, due to a military conscription, and a lack of opportunities, freedom, education, and health care.

A July 2018 peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, which ended a conflict over their mutual border, led to an open border which has allowed for easier emigration.

Catholics make up 4 percent of Eritrea’s population.


The Concept of Building Democratic state in Eritrea

Wednesday, 18 September 2019 10:28 Written by

What is a State? ሃገር ማለት እንታይ ማለት ኢዩ

state is an independent political entity with clearly defined geographic boundaries, population, resources and wealth, the so called physical basis of the state. ( Max Weber’s definition)

What is a Nation? ብሄር ማለት እንታይ ማለት ኢዩ

Nation is a large body of people united by common origin, history, culture, ethnicity, or language. What the Tograi-tigrniniTigrni / Agazian wishes to establish in this area inhabited by various people.

What is the difference between a State and Nation? ኣብ መንጎ ሃገርን ብሄርን ዘሎ ፍልልይ

The main difference between state and nation is that state is a political and legal entity whereas nation is a socio-cultural entity like that of the so called, “ tigrai-tigrini,” Or, “ Agazian”

Eritrea became independent and has gotten international recognition ኣህጉራዊ ተፈላጥነት in 1993 but has not developed internal sovereignty- ውሽጣዊ ሉዑላውነት ግን የብላን the criteria of state. These criteria are the state’s physical basis,ኣካላዊ/ መረታዊ መሰረት  the institutions of the state ሃገራዊ ትካላት and the idea of state ሃገራዊ ሰነ-ሓሳብ.

 According to Buzan, “a state contains three inter-linked components.

  1. The physical basis of the state include defined territory ውሱን ዶብ, population,ሕዝቢ resources and wealth. ምንጭታትን ሃብትን ሃገር።

    Why did the EPLF/PFDJ not declare the boundaries of Eritrea? Is Eritrea only Tigrinya-speaking christian nation?

  1. The institutions of state comprise the whole machinery of government, including its executive, legislative, administrative, and judicial bodies as well as the laws, procedures and norms by which they operate.” Why did the EPLF/ PFDJ against institution building?
  1. The Idea of state: the idea of state is the most vital component of the state, essential to its coherence and purpose, as it provides the mechanism for persuading citizens to subordinate themselves to the state’s authority, strong and vividly held ideas to unite the state into an entity and provide the necessary socio-political cohesion, which gives legitimacy to the state entity.

The two main sources for the idea of the state ውሕደት ሕዝብታት ኤርትራ are to be found in the idea of the people’s peaceful coexistence by organizing the ideologies of the state by the consensus of all citizens of the state politically, economically, socially, culturally and religiously. If the state fails to fulfil this idea or oppose this idea – as we now are experiencing in today’s Eritrea, then such states stand on fragile political foundations. ኤርትራ ሎሚ ኣብ ክፈርስ ዝኽእል ፖሊቲዊ ሰረት ኢያ ዘላ።

States were all the three components are clearly defined, well articulated and interconnected to sustain and support each other, are thus stronger than states with the opposite characteristics. Weak or strong state by the Eritrean definition is the opposite, for them is a state with military and security forces oppressing their citizens.

Most Eritreans for democracy discuss about how they can achieve democratic system of governance in Eritrea after the fall of the one-man rule in Eritrea. But, are the forces for democratic change in Eritrea that Eritrea has only international recognition but still has not developed the internal sovereignty.

The Eritrean Forces for freedom and change must focus on the internal sovereignty and come with constructive ideas to build a state including all nationalities in Eritrea. Internal sovereignty must not be superimposed by those who call themselves majorities, this attitude of arrogance and supremacy has failed in all African countries and its consequences has been authoritarianism and state disintegration.

Democracy is a political system where public decision-making is subject to popular control and where all citizens have an equal right to participate in this process.

What do we need to build democratic state ?

This article will try to highlight the obstacles and opportunities in building democratic state in Eritrea. Eritrea is a country emerging from armed conflicts and has no history of peace since its nationhood. At this time of struggle from dictatorship to democracy our struggle has been in social media but not on the ground.

The social media has been abused by Eritreans to defame and reject one another. These defamation and reject one another is the main obstacle challenging the Eritrean opposition in Diaspora. Let us discuss on this issues:

  1. State Characteristics, International recognition versus Internal Sovereignty- Reconstructing Eritrea.
  2. Critical role of legitimacy
  3. Civil Society and participation in state building
  4. The process of democratic transition
  5. Ethnification of politics in Eritrea- PFDJ’s modus operandi
  6. The Eritrean Political Organizations in Diaspora
  7. The role of the military and security in Eritrea
  8. Constitutional engineering and conflict management


Eritrean regime “abuses Norway’s hospitality”

Wednesday, 11 September 2019 21:11 Written by

September 3, 2019 News

Source: NRK

[Note: This is google translated from Norwegian]

Yemane Gebreab Norway

Norwegian Eritreans celebrated the Eritrean regime at a party in Oslo. Eritrea’s second most powerful man participated in the celebration of the military service that was introduced 25 years ago, which is the main reason many Norwegian Eritreans have been granted asylum in Norway.

On August 3 this year, Norwegian Eritreans celebrated the 25th anniversary of the introduction of National Service and the establishment of the Sawa training camp. National Service is a mandatory for all citizens, who must serve in military or civilian positions. It should last for 18 months, but for many it lasts for years.

This duty of service is the main reason why many Eritreans have fled the country. Experts estimate that up to 25 percent of the population has fled the country since 2001, Eritrea expert, Kjetil Tronvoll, told NRK.

More than 22,000 Eritreans have immigrated to Norway since 1990. Most of them came to Norway after the country’s dictator Isaias Afewerki took power in 2001 after a hard-fought liberation struggle.

The party was held at the Event Hall at Bryn in Oslo. Photos and videos from the party were shared on social media. Many of the participants wore military-style camouflage t-shirts.

From the stage there is a lineup on a long line, and several people stand with the Eritrean flag by their side.

From the stage it is said that “we will show you what we learned in Sawa, and military training must be done every day, it is easy to forget”.

Eritrea’s powerful adviser

From the photos and videos, it seems that one person is getting the most attention.


His name is Yemane Gebreab, and is the Eritrean president’s closest adviser. It is he who gets the attention, and he is the participant in the pictures and the video wants to take a selfie with.

“In practice, he is number two in the regime,” says Kjetil Tronvoll, one of Europe’s foremost Eritrean experts.

But who are the Norwegian Eritreans in the picture, and why are they there?

NRK sources in the Eritrean environment in Norway who oppose the regime say that several of these people have come to Norway in the last 10-15 years and have been granted asylum here in the country.

So does Tronvoll, who has good sources in the Norwegian-Eritrean community, know who they are?

– There is probably a slightly divided audience. Some are 2nd generation Eritreans, born in Norway by parents who came in the 80’s. But there are also people here who have fled themselves, and who are attending this party.

How do you know that?

– The Eritreans in this country recognize people in the pictures, they know when they came to Norway. And we know from several other European countries where there are similar parties, where there are newly arrived Eritreans who attend to celebrate the regime they have fled from.

That sounds weird?

– Yes, it’s paradoxical. Some are at this party because they want a community. Some join because they feel a social pressure to line up. And some people are complimenting the regime, because they are regime supporters, even though they have been granted asylum on the grounds of fleeing the regime, says Tronvoll.
Kjetil Tronvoll

NRK sources in the Eritrean environment in Norway who are against the regime say that several of these images have come to Norway in the last 10-15 years and have been granted asylum here in the country. So does Kjetil Tronvoll, who has good sources in the Norwegian-Eritrean environment, know who they are? 

Got asylum and paid tribute to the regime

NRK has investigated the identity of a group standing in a picture next to Yemane Gebreab.

According to NRK’s ​​Norwegian-Eritrean sources, most people in the picture have come to Norway after 2001. Some may also have come to family reunification to Norway. 5400 people from Eritrea have been living on this basis since 1990, according to Statistics Norway.

NRK has got hold of two of those in the picture. They both came to Norway in 2009, according to the National Register. They confirm that they have been granted asylum in Norway.

Both say they were at the party, but NRK got no answer as to why they were there.

Undermining the asylum system

Woldab Feshatzion has been fighting for a free Eritrea since the 1980s, and is the leader of the Eritrean Community Association in Norway.

Woldab Feshatzion

He is very angry about the Norwegian Eritreans at the party.

– “Those in the pictures are supporters of the Eritrea regime. At the same time, many of them say they have fled from this regime. To me it shows that they are not real asylum seekers, they have been allowed to stay on a false basis,”says Feshatzion.

He believes this undermines the asylum system.

– “These people occupy the places that could have been taken by real asylum seekers. It is very sad, and it is also disappointing to see that the Norwegian authorities are not able to reveal that they are not real asylum seekers, but give them protection in Norway,”he says.

Feshatzion believes the regime is trying to show Eritreans in Norway that they are strong, and that it is useless to protest against the regime.

– “For me, this sends a signal that they can intimidate me here in Norway, just as they do to oppositionists in Eritrea. It’s almost as if the regime is here in my living room, he says.

– Not the celebration of Sawa

The event was organized by the immigrant organization The Eritrean Association in Oslo and the surrounding area. Chairman Samson Gebreamlak confirms that they are behind the event and that Yemane Gebraeb was present, but rejects accusations that it was to celebrate Sawa’s 25th anniversary.

But the announcement of the event on social media reveals that it was indeed designed to celebrate Sawa.

Landlord: – Wanted to cancel

The premises were rented out by the company Utleielokaler AS, and booking manager Andreas Gresvik told NRK that they do not support the Eritrean regime.

– “Had we had this information well in advance, we would have canceled the event. We received a warning in advance that this was an event in support of the regime, but the notice we received came so close to the event and we did not have enough evidence to cancel. We have to take into account the freedom of expression of the customers, but the Event Hall is not a haven for extreme attitudes,” says Gresvik.

He emphasizes that they should not consider the tenants’ political positions, but believes they are behind the lights.

– “In this case, the customer has withheld information about the agenda behind the event. We were told that it was an annual meeting with a party afterwards. In that sense, it is a breach of contract that we would have canceled if we had known this beforehand. We have previously denied other events where we have realized that there were hidden motives,” says Gresvik.

NRK has tried to get hold of the Eritrean interest office in Norway, which is located in Oslo, without success.

Extensive violation of human rights

Eritrea is described as one of the most repressed countries in the world. President Isaias Afwerki has ruled the country since its release in 1991, and no political opposition is allowed. The 1997 Constitution has not been implemented and the designated parliament has not been assembled in 18 years.

There is no free press, no independent civil society, and religious minorities are banned and imprisoned for their faith.

No one knows how many political prisoners there are in the country, but the estimates range from 10 to 25 thousand. People are being jailed without a sentence, widespread use of torture and sexual abuse in prison has been reported, as well as executions without law and sentence.

According to the legislation, the national service in Eritrea consists of both civil and military tasks. The aim of the service beyond national defense is to contribute to the reconstruction of the country and the development of a common Eritrean identity across ethnic and religious divisions. The service, which in principle will last for 18 months, has in practice proved to be possible for several years. This is because, according to the authorities, the border conflict with neighboring Ethiopia. Women from their mid-20s are likely to be discharged or dismissed from the service as a result of marriage, birth or religious reason. Warsay Yikealo is an extension of the national service, and it has helped many to serve for a number of years. Eritreans who evade national service are likely to risk out-of-court penalties from local military superiors, but the experience they have is limited, so it is difficult to draw firm conclusions. But many of the examples point to the fact that the punishment complies with the provisions of the law, that is, between three months and three years’ detention.

Source: Kjetil Tronvoll / Country info

September 3, 2019 News

Eritrea seizes schools run by religious groups

Teklemariam Bekit

BBC Tigrinya

St Joseph's School in Keren, Eritrea
Image caption: St Joseph’s School in Keren, run by the Catholic La Salle brothers, is one of the schools affected

The authorities in Eritrea have seized control of seven secondary schools run by religious organisations.

An order to hand over the running of the schools was given to the Catholic Church and other Christian and Muslim groups on Tuesday morning.

Sources have told the BBC that security agents are already in the school compounds demanding the handover.

Most of the students at the schools are from economically disadvantaged families, a source said.

The government says that the closures are in line with regulations they introduced in 1995, which limit the activities of religious institutions.

In June, the government seized all health centres run by the Catholic Church, leaving thousands of patients without care.

Those closures appeared to be a response to the church’s criticism of President Isaias Afwerki’s rule.

Eritrean Catholic bishops had said that they wanted political reforms in the country, which has a constitution and has never held a national election.

Many of the schools targeted are respected institutions founded during more than 70 years ago during the time of Italian colonisation.


Berhanu Jula ISIS EthiopiaDeputy Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force, Gen. Berhanu Jula. Source : AMMA

September 11, 2019

Ethiopian Defense Force says that it has captured some ISIS members in the country. Deputy Chief of staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force, General Berhanu Jula, said that the defense force is following those who are not yet captured, reported Ethiopia’s state media – EBC.

General Berhanu Jula refrained from disclosing the circumstances under which the alleged ISIS members were captured and in which part of Ethiopia they were captured. He did not disclose numbers, too.

“The Defense Force is working hard with a great sense of responsibility to protect the country and the people from danger,” Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation cited Gen. Berhanu Jula as saying. 

It was during an interview with state News Paper, Addis Zemen, that General Berhanu disclosed ISIS is operating in the country. The terrorist group’s attempt to operate in different parts of Ethiopia has been foiled, claimed Gen. Berhanu.

He also said that the Ethiopian government is aware that there are individuals who are recruited, trained and armed by ISIS in Ethiopia.

“What ISIS members are doing, where they are operating in the country, who are their contacts in cities and towns, what their plan and other information that is not necessary to disclose at this point are known, and the government following it,” he is cited as saying.

Political pundits in the country are expressing concern that radical ethnic nationalism and unprecedented moral corruption is making the country vulnerable security-wise.

This ending Ethiopian Year, 2011, was busy for the Defense force due to ethnic-based violence in many parts of Ethiopia – violence that overpowered regional and federal police force.

The latest “intervention” region for the defense force is Southern Ethiopia regional state which was rocked with violence as radical ethnic Sidama nationalists declare a regional state on their own. 


10 Most Censored Countries

Tuesday, 10 September 2019 11:46 Written by

Repressive governments use sophisticated digital censorship and surveillance alongside more traditional methods to silence independent media. A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Eritrea is the world's most censored country, according to a list compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The list is based on CPJ's research into the use of tactics ranging from imprisonment and repressive laws to surveillance of journalists and restrictions on internet and social media access.

Under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to seek and receive news and express opinions. These 10 countries flout the international standard by banning or severely restricting independent media and intimidating journalists into silence with imprisonment, digital and physical surveillance, and other forms of harassment. Self-censorship is pervasive.

In the top three countries--Eritrea, North Korea, and Turkmenistan--the media serves as a mouthpiece of the state, and any independent journalism is conducted from exile. The few foreign journalists permitted to enter are closely monitored.

Other countries on the list use a combination of blunt tactics like harassment and arbitrary detention as well as sophisticated surveillance and targeted hacking to silence the independent press. Saudi Arabia, China, Vietnam, and Iran are especially adept at practicing these two brands of censorship: jailing and harassing journalists and their families, while also engaging in digital monitoring and censorship of the internet and social media.

The list addresses only those countries where the government tightly controls the media. The conditions for journalists and press freedom in states such as Syria, Yemen, and Somalia are also extremely difficult, but not necessarily attributable solely to government censorship. Rather, factors like violent conflict, insufficient infrastructure, and the role of non-state actors create conditions that are dangerous for the press.

1. Eritrea

Leadership: President Isaias Afewerki, in power since 1993.

How censorship works: The government shut down all independent media in 2001. Eritrea is the worst jailer of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa, with at least 16 journalists behind bars as of December 1, 2018; most have been imprisoned since the 2001 crackdown, and none received a trial. According to freedom of expression group Article 19, the 1996 press law includes a requirement that the media must promote "national objectives." The state retains a legal monopoly of broadcast media, and journalists for the state media toe the government's editorial line for fear of retaliation. Alternative sources of information such as the internet or satellite broadcasts of radio stations in exile are restricted through occasional signal jams and by the poor quality of the government-controlled internet, according to DW Akademie. Internet penetration is extremely low, at just over 1% of the population, according to the U.N. International Telecommunication Union. Users are forced to visit internet cafes, where they are easily monitored. A March 2019 report by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa suggests that the authoritarian state is so "brutal or commanding" as to "render ordering overt internet disruptions unnecessary." However, on May 15, 2019, the BBC reported a social media shutdown in Eritrea, ahead of the country's Independence Day celebrations. With the opening of the border with Ethiopia in mid-2018, some foreign journalists received special accreditation to visit Eritrea, according to The Economist, but access was tightly controlled.

Lowlight: As many as seven journalists may have perished in custody, according to reports that CPJ has not been able to confirm due to the climate of fear and tight state control. The government has refused all requests to provide concrete information on the fate of imprisoned journalists. In June 2019, more than 100 leading African journalists, scholars, and rights activists wrote an open letter to Afewerki, asking to visit long-imprisoned journalists and activists; this request was soundly rejected, and deemed "inappropriate" by Eritrea's Ministry of Information.


Nuba and Bani Amer sign accord in Port Sudan

Monday, 09 September 2019 11:01 Written by

September 9 - 2019 PORT SUDAN

Member of the Sovereign Council, and commander of the RSF militia, Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’ congratulates Nuba and Bani Amer at Sunday’s signing ceremony in Port Sudan (Social media)
Member of the Sovereign Council, and commander of the RSF militia, Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’ congratulates Nuba and Bani Amer at Sunday’s signing ceremony in Port Sudan (Social media)

On Sunday, El Salaam Hall in Port Sudan witnessed the signing ceremony of the reconciliation document reached to contain the recent clashes between Nuba and Bani Amer in Port Sudan.

Several days of violent tribal clashes in Port Sudan earlier this month left at least 35 people dead and scored injured. A 100-vehicle strong unit of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan’s main government militia, was deployed to the city.

The clashes prompted the Sovereign Council to dismiss the governor and the head of the security service of Red Sea state and to declare a State of Emergency in Port Sudan.

In accordance with the text of the document signed by the two factions on Sunday, a federal fact-finding commission will be formed on the violent events, and to open a police station in the area where the fighting erupted, in addition to the payment of compensation of SDG 880 million ($18.7 million*).

It was also decided to collect all licensed and unlicensed weapons while considering the possibility of releasing those arrested during the clashes, and it was decided to hold a reconciliation conference between the conflicting tribesmen.

Member of the Sovereign Council, and commander of the RSF militia, Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’ said that “the circumstances of the country require cooperation from all”.

He said upon receiving the signed reconciliation document that “the unfortunate tribal violence in Port Sudan came while the country is on the threshold of a real change towards citizenship rather than tribalism.

He called on the parties to the conflict to bear their responsibility and prevent new bloodshed. Sudan depends mainly on the port of Port Sudan. He stressed the government’s efforts to address the problems in the state, especially recurrent water and electricity outages.