Experienced BBC correspondent Martin Plaut explores Eritrea, drawing from his new book 'Understanding Eritrea: Inside Africa’s Most Repressive State'. RSVP to this free event.
The most secretive, repressive state in Africa is haemorrhaging its citizens. In some months as many Eritreans as Syrians arrive on European shores, yet the country is not convulsed by civil war. Young men and women risk all to escape. Many do not survive — their bones littering the Sahara; their bodies floating in the Mediterranean. Still they flee, to avoid permanent military service and a future without hope.
Eritreans fought for their freedom from Ethiopia for thirty years, only to have their revered leader turn on his own people. Independent since 1993, the country has no constitution and no parliament. No budget has ever been published. Elections have never been held and opponents languish in jail. International organisations find it next to impossible to work in the country.