CSW Renew Efforts to Make Known Persecution in Eritrea

Following the latest series of crackdowns on Christians in Eritrea by the country’s government, a human rights charity who has dedicated itself to work for these persecuted Christians has launched a brand new campaign.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has reported that until now the main targets for religious persecutions in Eritrea have been towards Protestant groups that have been unregistered with the government.

On 22 May 2002, all denominations were outlawed by the Eritrean government except the Roman Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran and Orthodox churches. This had previously allowed these denominational bodies to remain largely unaffected by the oppressive government.

However, CSW now have reported that the Roman Catholic Church and the ‘renewal’ Church within the Orthodox Church has been targeted. This has arisen major concerns and implied a refreshed repression on the Christian communities by the Eritrean government.

Already this year, CSW have reported that the Eritrean authorities jailed 25 Roman Catholics who were taking part in a wedding rehearsal in Asmara.

In addition to this, in November 2004, CSW reported that three Orthodox priests who were linked to the ‘renewed’ movement had been detained – these were Dr Futsum Gebrenegus, Dr Tekeleab and the Rev. Gebremebhin.

The National Director of CSW, Stuart Windsor said, "The persecution of officially recognised Christian denominations indicates a serious escalation of the repression of the Church in Eritrea. Eritrea's denial of religious persecution in the country until now must be challenged by the international community and concrete steps taken to promote religious freedom and respect for human rights."

The European Union (EU) are also currently being made aware of the new developments by CSW, and members are being urged to write letters to their Members of Parliament and European Union to protest and voice their concerns for the persecuted Christians of Eritrea.

Evangelical groups also have seen no let up in the persecution they face from the government of Eritrea. Reports of oppression among evangelicals have been continuous and consistent.

On just Friday 21 January the latest arrests took place, when three evangelical church leaders were arrested at their offices, and their condition and exact locations are still unknown at his date.