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Asmara - Photo: Wikipedia / John Beso
Asmara, Eritrea
Photo: Wikipedia / John Beso

Eritrean authorities continued their ongoing crackdown on unregistered religious groups when 30 guests were arrested at a wedding ceremony in late June. These Christians were arrested in the capital city of Asmara, joining 15 others who had been previously arrested in April and sent to a prison camp.

The government of Eritrea is known as one of the most oppressive in the world, notorious for its arbitrary arrests and detention of people -- without any trial. Last year alone, between May and August, more than 330 Christians were arrested.

Since religious restrictions were instituted in 2002, only four religious groups are legally allowed by the government: Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Sunni Islam. Membership in any other group is strictly prohibited, and even members of these legally recognized groups are not necessarily immune from harassment.

View an informative video report, including interviews with persecuted Eritrean believers. Additional reports on incidents of persecution in this country are available at our online country report.

Remember the hundreds of believers presently being imprisoned in Eritrea, some of them already having endured many years of inhumane treatment under terrible conditions. Pray that these prisoners and their families be endowed with inner strength through the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit. May those responsible for the country's oppressive laws realize the error of their ways and come to respect the rights of all citizens by treating others as they themselves would like to be treated.

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

  • More Church Leaders Detained
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    In 2002, the government of Eritrea outlawed every religion except for Sunni Islam, Eritrean Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism. Since then, the oppression against other religious groups has been severe. Even those within the approved faith groups have been at risk of op

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  • Twenty Years of Oppression
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    In May 2002, the Eritrean government closed all unregistered churches and established legislation outlawing any religious community except for Sunni Islam, Eritrean Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism. Government oppression and control was strongly instituted, even within these

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  • Christians Arrested During Prayer Meeting
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    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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