Nairobi/Brussels | 8 Aug 2014
“The state’s demand for the sacrifice of individual ambition to the greater good of the Eritrean nation... causes more and more Eritreans to leave the country, even if that means risking their lives”.
Cedric Barnes, Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Project Director
- As in the past, Eritreans are fleeing for political and economic reasons, including to sustain the communities they leave behind. But through their remittances, as well as a tax that many in the diaspora pay the state, they help prop up the very system they escaped.
- Regional and wider international policies to further isolate Eritrea’s uncompromising leadership are counterproductive. Together with the border conflict with Ethiopia, they provide the regime with justification to maintain Eritrea’s “state of exception”, including an unending national service, a closed political system and the continued deferment of constitutional rights, especially individual social and economic freedoms.
- The Eritrean government, with help from international partners, especially the EU and UN, should work toward gradual demobilisation and restructure the country’s economy to enhance job prospects for the young.