In October 2018 Eritrea was elected to serve as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), despite having one of the worst human rights records in the world. The systematic and far-reaching human rights abuses of the last few decades – which include enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, persecution and murder – amount to crimes against humanity and have caused around 12% of the country’s population to flee. Alongside many other severe violations, religiously-motivated repression remains rife throughout the country.
Sunday 19 May
Six prominent Christian leaders have been detained incommunicado and without charge for over a decade. Reverend Haile Naizge, Dr Kuflu Gebremeskel, Dr Futsum Gebrenegus, Dr Tekleab Menghisteab and Reverend Gebremedhin Gebregiogis have been held since 2004; Reverend Kidane Weldou has been detained since 2005. Pray that they would know God’s comfort and protection today, and be swiftly reunited with their families.
Monday 20 May
These six church leaders represent only a tiny proportion of the total number of Christians detained in Eritrea. Sources confirm that 345 church leaders and officials are currently imprisoned without charge or trial, while estimates of detained laity range from 800 to over 1,000. Pray that all Christians detained without charge would be released immediately.
Tuesday 21 May
Members of other religious groups are also detained without trial. There are currently 53 Jehovah’s Witnesses in detention, and an unknown number of Muslim detainees. Haji Ibrahim Younis, a Muslim elder, died in January. Today, pray for all who are unjustly imprisoned on account of their religious beliefs; ask God to strengthen and console them, and return them to their loved ones.
Wednesday 22 May
In July 2018 a well-known Ethiopian televangelist was filmed preaching to a crowd in Asmara. By late August 48 people had been identified from video footage of the televangelist, and arrested. Some were non-Christians who had simply been passing by and had stopped briefly to watch. Pray that the government would allow people to practise their faith in public and in private without fear of arrest.
Thursday 23 May
In 2017 a UN Commission of Inquiry found that crimes against humanity have been committed in Eritrea in a ‘widespread and systematic manner’ since 1991. However, the government has consistently refused to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and has not actioned any of the recommendations made by Human Rights Council mechanisms. Pray that those in authority would have a profound change of heart and seek justice and truth.
Friday 24 May
Eritrea was elected to serve as a member of the UN Human Rights Council in October 2018. It is currently working hard to end the Special Rapporteur’s mandate in June, and has gained support among several African and European states. Pray that efforts to end the mandate are unsuccessful, and that the Council would continue to hold the nation to account and to monitor its human rights situation.
Saturday 25 May
Everlasting Father, we bring before you today the nation of Eritrea. We ask you to comfort and protect all those suffering grievously on account of their faith, whether their whereabouts are known to us, or known to you alone. Wherever they may be, may they know the warmth of your presence and your all-consoling peace in this very moment. Amen