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Inhumane prison conditions
of Christians in Eritrea.

As Eritreans celebrated 24 years of independence last month, the underground Christian church remained among the religious minorities operating with the least freedom. In their latest report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) warns that the greatest shortcomings in religious freedom are felt by minority groups such as those consisting of evangelical Christians. USCIRF maintains its position that Eritrea be designated again in 2015 as a "country of particular concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act. (For a historical video documentary on persecution in Eritrea, please click here.)

Greg Musselman, a spokesman for The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, describes the extreme conditions faced by Eritrean Christians: "Today, you've got anywhere between 3,000 to 4,000 Christians there who are imprisoned in shipping containers or military camps because of their faith." Backed by the young nation's official ban on religious activities, Eritrea allows torture and other forms of cruelty toward religious prisoners, as well as random arrests and detentions without charges. Such practices, he adds, are motivated by the reality that "the government of Eritrea sees evangelical Christianity as 'western'...linking it with the CIA."

Numerous Eritrean Christians have sought to escape their hardships by fleeing to Ethiopia where their boldness is inspiring non-believers to receive salvation. Having personally spoken with several of these refugees, Greg Musselman reports, "They are actually seeing many from (various) religious backgrounds -- Muslim and Orthodox -- enter into a personal relationship with Jesus."

Praise the Lord for providing these Eritrean believers a means of escape to safe refuge, and also for using them to lead others to salvation! Please pray that He will work deeply in the hearts of the country's governing leaders so they will grant His people needed freedom to worship Him and glorify His matchless name. May the officials be strongly convicted of their wrongdoings in enforcing such ungodly policies and acutely aware of the fact that they must ultimately give an account of their lives and political governance to an Almighty God.

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
6,147,398 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Tigrinya (50), Tigre (30), Saho (4), Afar (4) Kunama (4), Bilen (3), other (5)

Religion (%)
Islam (47.4), Christianity (48.8), other (3.8)

Leader
President Isaias Afworki (1993)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of civil, customary, and Islamic religious law

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Operation World

Pray for Eritrea

Ask the Lord to provide imprisoned Eritrean believers a means of escape and a place of safe refuge. Pray for Him to also work deeply in the hearts of the country's governing officials so they will grant His people the freedom to worship Him and glorify His matchless name. Mindful of their own human frailties, may these political leaders realize the need to make Jesus their own personal Saviour and Lord by accepting His gift of eternal salvation.

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Eritrea News

  • Christians Arrested During Prayer Meeting
    Several rusty shipping containers - Photo: VOMC
    Prison officials continue to hold detainees in cramped, unsanitary shipping containers.
    Photo: VOMC

    In mid-March, 29 evangelical Christians were arrested when Eritrean security forces raided a home prayer meeting in Asmara. According to reports, 17 women and 12 men were taken to the Mai Serwa prison

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  • Fifteen Christians Rearrested
    Video: Kidane Gebremeskel Gedion
    Click to view video.

    Eritrean authorities recently arrested 15 Christians during a series of raids on their houses in the capital city of Asmara. All 15 believers had been previously imprisoned for their faith – some for up to 16 years.

  • Three Elderly Pastors Arrested
    Georgio Gebreab and Samuel Okbamichael - Photos: Church in Chains
    Georgio Gebreab and Samuel Okbamichael
    Photos: Church in Chains

    Three semi-retired pastors in the Eritrean capital of Asmara were arrested towards the latter part of July. Since they were all over 70 years old, and only occasionally conducted funeral or wedding services, it is unclear why these elde

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  • Recently Arrested Christian Prisoners Released
    Nakura prison - Photo: Church in Chains https://www.churchinchains.ie/
    Nakura prison
    Photo: Church in Chains

    Earlier this month, it was reported that 23 women had been arrested at a prayer meeting in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, along with 12 others in the city of Assab. (To review a previously posted report, go to our country report, where there is also a link to

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