The following information is based on the Amnesty International Report 2021/22. This report documented the human rights situation in 149 countries in 2021, as well as providing global and regional analysis. It presents Amnesty International’s concerns and calls for action to governments and others.


The arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance of hundreds of individuals continued. Conscripts to mandatory national service were forced to serve for indefinite periods. Eritrea did not provide a Covid-19 vaccination programme.


Since November 2020, the Eritrean Defence Forces (EDF) fought alongside Ethiopian government forces against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. During the conflict, members of the EDF, as well as Ethiopian security forces and militia, committed serious human rights violations, including sexual violence against women and extrajudicial killings of civilians, that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity (see Ethiopia entry).

Arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances

The Eritrean authorities continued to subject hundreds of individuals to arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance. Journalists, former politicians and practitioners of unauthorized religions remained in detention without charge or access to lawyers or family members. The whereabouts of 11 politicians and 17 journalists arrested and detained 20 years ago for criticizing the president’s rule remained unknown.

Among those forcibly disappeared were Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak, Berhane Abrehe, a former finance minister who published a book criticizing the president in 2018, and Ciham Ali. An Eritrean/US national, Ciham Ali was arrested in December 2012 at the Sudan border as she tried to flee Eritrea when she was 15. Shortly before the authorities took her, her father, then a minister of information in the Eritrean government, had gone into exile.

Forced labour

The government continued to conscript high-school students to the mandatory national service programme. Conscripts were forced to serve for indefinite periods and beyond the legal limit of 18 months. Thousands of individuals remained in indefinite conscription, sometimes having served for 10 years or more.

Right to health

The government response to Covid-19 was inadequate and there was no vaccination programme in place by the end of the year

Eritrea Newsroom

February 25, 2021 • Report

Eritrean Troops’ Massacre of Hundreds of Axum Civilians May Amount to Crime Against Humanity

Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray state systematically killed hundreds of unarmed civilians in the northern city of Axum on November 28-29, 2020, opening fire in the streets and conducting house-to-house raids in a massacre that may amount to a crime against humanity, Amnesty International said today in a new report.

June 17, 2018 • Report

Israel: African asylum-seeker deportations and “voluntary” transfers are forced and illegal

The Israeli government’s transfers of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers is cruel and illegal, Amnesty International said today, as it released a new report titled Forced and Unlawful: Israel’s Deportations of Eritrean and …

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 20, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Eritrea 2013

Eritrea Head of state and government Isaias Afewerki National service conscription was compulsory and frequently extended indefinitely. Military training for children remained compulsory. Conscripts were used as forced labour. Thousands …

May 8, 2013 • Report

Eritrea: 20 years of Independence But Still No Freedom

This report highlights 20 years of widespread arbitrary arrest and detention without trial used against anyone in Eritrea who demonstrates dissent in any form.

April 4, 2013 • Report

Egypt/Sudan: Refugees face kidnapping for ransom, brutal treatment and human trafficking

Amnesty International is greatly concerned for the safety and security of refugees and asylum-seekers held captive in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

June 28, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: Eritrea 2011

Head of state and government: Isaias Afewerki Death penalty: abolitionist in practice Population: 5.2 million Life expectancy: 60.4 years Under-5 mortality (m/f): 78/71 per 1,000 Adult literacy: 65.3 per cent …

March 19, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: Eritrea 2010

Head of state and government Issayas Afewerki Death penalty abolitionist in practice Population 5.1 million Life expectancy 59.2 years Under-5 mortality (m/f) 78/71 per 1,000 Adult literacy 64.2 per cent …

April 20, 2020 • Press Release

Protect Detainees at Risk of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa, Unclog Prisons and Release Prisoners of Conscience

Authorities in Sub-Saharan Africa must take urgent action to protect people in detention from COVID-19, including releasing prisoners of conscience, reviewing cases of pre-trial detention, and guaranteeing access to healthcare and sanitation products in all facilities, Amnesty International said today.