A surge in arrests of Christians worshipping outside of Eritrea’s government-sanctioned Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical Lutheran churches indicates Christians should not expect greater freedom from a new Constitution recently announced by Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki.

These arrests are also affecting children. On 6 June, authorities arrested a Christian woman from Ginda, and she is accompanied by her baby in prison.

On 31 May, authorities arrested six women and four men from a small town near the Ethiopian border.

Officials also arrested twelve Christians from a town in central Eritrea, on Sunday May 18, when police raided the home of a Christian and arrested four men and three women. One of the women has her 14-month-old child with her in prison. On that same day they also arrested three men and two women from streets and from homes in Ginda. These Christians have between them a total of 11 children below the age of 14 who would be affected by these incarcerations.

“In the light of the continued harsh persecution Christians are facing, we do not expect a new constitution to bring any good news to Christians who esteem God above the State,” said a worker for Open Doors International, whose name is being withheld for security purposes.