Crackdown on Eritrean Christians continues
Barnabas Fund, 28 June 2019
Pregnant women and children were arrested by security forces in a raid on a church on Sunday 23 June, the latest victims of a government crackdown on Christians in Eritrea.
Since religious registration policies were introduced in 2002, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran churches – as well as Sunni Islam – are alone legally permitted. Non-registered religious groups are considered a threat to the state and can be severely persecuted despite Eritrea being party to the right of religious freedom in article 18 of the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The raid is the latest in a catalogue of recent persecution including the seizing of 21 registered church health facilities and the arresting five registered ministers in June for complaining about government interference, and of 141 Christians gathered at one meeting in May.
The report this year from the UN Special Rapporteur stated that “strengthening respect for freedom of religion and belief’ is a ‘main human rights challenge’ in Eritrea”.
“Evangelical and Pentecostal communities continue to face serious restrictions to practising their faith.”