Worst of the Worst Country Targeted by Human Rights Council

Freedom House welcomes the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)’s adoption, by consensus, of a much-needed resolution appointing a special rapporteur to investigate human rights abuses in Eritrea.

The resolution, introduced by Djibouti and co-sponsored by the US, was passed on the final day of the Council’s 20th session. The special rapporteur will closely monitor a dismal human rights situation as Eritrean citizens continue to be subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention, often under brutal conditions of confinement.

Eritrea is identified by Freedom House as being one of the world’s worst human rights abusers. The government remains hostile toward civil society and media, effectively banning independent press and placing onerous restrictions on NGO activity, often through taxes and stringent licensure requirements. Public dissent is stifled through the use of arbitrary arrest. Religious freedom is also severely hampered by the government, which only officially recognizes four faiths. Parishioners of other churches, as well as religious leaders, are reported to have been jailed or tortured. The patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church has been under house arrest since 2006 for opposing the state’s regulation of religious activities.  

Eritrea is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2012, Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2011.   

For more information, visit:

Freedom in the World 2012: Eritrea

Worst of the Worst 2012: Eritrea

Freedom of the Press 2011: Eritrea

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