4 December 2015

A report from Amnesty International has investigated the duration of conscription into national service in Eritrea, finding that it continues to be extended indefinitely, with the result that conscripts continue to be deployed in civilian roles as well as military roles in a system that ‘amounts to forced labour’. This is despite assurances from the Eritrean government that the length of conscription would revert to the 18 month limit, as mandated in Eritrean law.

Eritrea is one of the biggest refugee producing countries in the world but, increasingly, European states have been rejecting asylum applications from Eritreans. For example, countries such as the UK denied asylum in 66% of cases in the second quarter of 2015. Amnesty have called for the international community to ensure that guidelines for examining asylum claims make clear that indefinite conscription in national service is continuing in Eritrea. This in itself is a human rights violation.

Amnesty International also makes recommendations to the government of Eritrea, that include bringing an end to practices of indefinite conscription, ending the conscription of children and bringing an end to the unlawful practices of arbitrary detention without charge or trial.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 4 December 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.