'Africa's North Korea': Why do people flee Eritrea? - Channel 4 News
Around 6 per cent of Eritreas population lives outside the country, and thousands more flee every month. But why?
On the one hand the Eritrean government has much to be proud of. The country is achieving unprecedented success in meeting its Millennium Development Goals, particularly in the field of healthcare.
But the other side of Eritrean society is a dark and shocking place.
A recent United Nations report found that "systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed in Eritrea under the authority of the government".
Eritreans make up a large number of those fleeing across the Mediterranean to Europe - around 15 per cent of the total reaching Europes sea border are from the country.
And the reason commonly cited for the dangerous journey to Europe - Eritreas national service, which though legally compulsory for 18 months, in reality amounts to "indefinite enrollment in the military where conscripts are used as "forced labour", according to the UN.
I'm not saying that Ethiopia is a democracy but its situation is probably much better than Eritrea's. The fact that Eritrea is ruled by a dictator who keeps his compatriots in indefinite military service proves that it was stupid of Eritrean people to fight for their own state. They would have been better off under Ethiopian rule.Modern day Eritrea emerged from a war of independence fought over the annexation of the former Italian colony by Ethiopia. In 1993, at the end of a thirty-year military campaign carried out by the Eritrean Liberation Front and the Eritrean People's Liberation Front, the country's people voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence in a UN-monitored referendum.