Long-awaited victory for hundreds of Eritreans detained in #Djibouti
Earlier this month, 267 Eritreans detained in horrific conditions at the #Nagad_Military_Academy in Djibouti learned they would finally receive the assistance they have waited years for. In a statement of the 13th of April, the government in Djibouti declared it had agreed to transfer the detainees from their prison into the care of UNHCR. The move was welcomed by human rights organisations and by Sheila B. Keetharuth, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, and has put an end to a bleak period of indefinite internment that began over six years ago.
The majority of the Eritreans who have been detained in #Nagad are fleeing military service in Eritrea. They have been far from alone in their desperate attempt to leave the country, with thousands risking imprisonment and death each year to escape the territory. With a shoot-to-kill policy in operation along the border, the decision is not one that is taken lightly – indeed, the reasons are manifold. The president of Eritrea, Isaias Afewerki, has ruled with impunity over an increasingly defensive and autocratic state for more than two decades. Elections have not been held since 1993 and no other political parties are permitted to exist. The human rights conditions in the country are bleak and show no signs of improvement.