A new UN report finds Eritrea’s government may have committed crimes against humanity, including a shoot-to-kill policy against its own people trying to leave the country.
The report, which details extrajudicial killings, sexual slavery and enforced labour, says that the situation in the country has prompted thousands of people to leave. The EU says that Eritreans, together with Somalis, make up the majority of the 54,000 migrants having arrived in Italy this year from the Mediterranean.
According to the report, the Eritrean government “perceives religion as a threat to its existence and has set about controlling it”. Interference in religious structures is “rampant”, and adherents to faiths are “arbitrarily arrested, ill-treated, or subjected to torture during their detention, and prisoners are coerced to recant their faith,” it adds.
In 2014 Release Eritrea, an exiled human-rights group, claimed that more than 1,000 Christians from unofficial churches were in detention. Some church leaders have been detained for more than 10 years.