Eritrea

An exiled Eritrean opposition force has called for Egypt and Libya-type mass protests to end the rule of the east African nation’s government, which is led by president Isaias Afeworki. The Eritrean leader has been in power since 1991, following 30 years of armed struggle that led to the country’s independence.

The Foreign Minister of Djibouti, in talks with the US Embassy, called President Issaias Afwerki of neighbouring Eritrea 'a lunatic'. He also revealed Eritrea opposes any real Somali peace talks. According to US Embassy wires leaked by Wikileaks, Djibouti's Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf in April 2008 widely distrusted the government of neighbouring Eritrea.

The jailed Eritrean-born journalist, Dawit Isaak, has won the Golden Pen of Freedom Award for 2011. Isaak, who has dual Eritrean-Swedish citizenship, was one of the founders of Eritrea's first independent newspapers, Setit. He was detained without charge in 2001 in Eritrea after his paper published letters demanding democratic reforms.

This latest report from the International Crisis Group, analyses the fragile political and economic situation following the devastating war with Ethiopia (1998-2000). Just a decade ago, Eritrea might reasonably have been described as challenged but stable. Today it is under severe stress, if not yet in full-blown crisis. While not likely to undergo dramatic upheaval in the near future, it is weakening steadily. Its economy is in free fall, poverty is rife, and the authoritarian political syst...read more

The Eritrean authorities continue to gag all forms of free expression and recently arrested another journalist as he was trying to flee the country, Reporters Without Borders said, on the eve of the ninth anniversary of the start of a brutal political purge in Asmara on 18 September 2001. The organisation wrote to the British authorities yesterday urging them to prosecute one of the purge’s organisers, who now lives in Britain.

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