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The Eritrean refugees on the rise worldwide, according to some sources the migration crisis continued to increase from 4,000 to 5,000 per month.

The migration crisis has dominated headlines and confounded politicians, but still very little is known about Eritrea, a country from which an estimated 5,000 people are fleeing each month.

Despite unaccompanied children from Eritrea being the largest group to seek refuge in the UK, and despite Eritreans being one of the largest groups entering Europe in 2015 after Afghans and Syrians, even the well-informed ask, why? Why Eritrea? What’s happening there?

It’s a pertinent question, particularly since the EU has agreed to give ‎€200m in aid to the Eritrean government. But sounds like a solution is, campaigners say, just going to exacerbate the problem. Because it is the Eritrean government itself which is accused of gross human rights abuses, with reports of routine extra-judicial executions, torture and arbitrary detention.

Many Eritreans claim to have spent more than 20 years in slave-like, unpaid national service. Give aid to the Eritrean regime and campaigners say that instead of halting the exodus, it will only make it worse.

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THE number of Eritrean asylum applications is very striking given that Eritrea is a tiny country of around five million people and not engaged in active warfare, despite its uneasy relations with bigger neighbours such as Ethiopia.

That these asylum seekers tend to be so young is best explained by the country’s mandatory military draft, which begins as soon as children have left school, and may continue for decades. Although some are lucky enough to spend their military service working for the government, the majority spend years in extremely difficult conditions, with no opportunities to start families, look after ageing parents or pursue careers.

The rise in under-18s seeking asylum therefore reflects young people fleeing before they are captured by the draft. Although military service may sound like a reasonable option for youth in a poor country, and Eritrea has a proud tradition of national service, the current regime of military service is often compared to forced labour – youth have no option whether or not to participate, even if they have religious or conscientious objections.

In addition, military service is, for many, without end – you don’t serve your time and leave, you remain stuck in the military for decades.


The Government of Eritrea is not doing enough to prevent the crisis; no job creation, lack of care of the Eritrean people.   Keep  blaming the westerns or and Ethiopian does not do any service to the young Eritreans and future of Eritrea. The Eritrean Government failed to take responsibility.

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