The Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that Eritrea is rapidly becoming a nation in which basic rights of freedom of speech or being able to decide one’s life choices are vanishing as the government enforces its power over all aspects of life. Georgette Fagnon, Africa director of HRW, notes: “Eritrea’s government is turning the country into a giant prison. It should immediately account for hundreds of ‘disappeared’ prisoners and open its jails to independent scrutiny.” State repression has driven thousands from the land and created a new refugee problem in Africa to go along with other refugee issues. HRW condemned the European Union for giving money to Eritrea because development projects are being built using prisoners and conscripts to do the work.
All secondary students are required to spend their senior year in high school in the armed forces. The mandatory 18 month national service that all adult males and females must perform has been extended so that each individual can be conscripted up to the age of 55. Thee are reports that as thousands flee their parents must either pay a fine or spend time in jail because a child fled the country. Christian leaders also say their religion is being persecuted and many put in jails. To make matters even worse, the Eritrean government is now extending a helping hand to terrorist groups.