Eritrea. According to
Countryaah official site, Eritrea remained one of the world's most
isolated states during the year. International fears that
the country, as well as its neighbors in the Horn of Africa,
would be affected by the severe drought in the region were
dismissed by the government as a "devastating plot".
The UN reported an increased flow of refugees from
Eritrea. Each month, approximately 1,600 were estimated to
cross the border into Sudan and almost as many to Ethiopia.
Most, however, were described as well-educated younger
people who usually sought refuge in order not to be called
in to the armed forces.
Eritrea's isolation is partly self-elected because of the
regime's strong suspicion of the outside world. But after
being involved in armed conflicts with all neighboring
countries during their short period of independence, Eritrea
is viewed with equal suspicion by the surroundings. Ethiopia
accuses Eritrea's regime of actively supporting Ethiopian
separatist movements and there is widespread suspicion
abroad that the leadership of Asmera is financing the
Islamist militia al-Shabab in Somalia. According to a UN
report in July, Eritrea had backed al-Shabab's plans for
blast attacks during the African Union summit in Addis Ababa
In connection with the publication of the UN report,
Eritrea surprisingly applied for re-entry into the IGAD
(Intergovernmental Authority on Development) regional
organization, which left the country in 2007. The answer was
that the application would be properly addressed, but IGAD's
opposition to Eritrea is strong.
At the request of the organization, the UN Security
Council in December decided that mining companies active in
the country must ensure that money from their operations is
not used to destabilize the region. IGAD had called for
tougher sanctions, but several countries felt they could
have harmed the population.
There was no news during the year about the Swedish
journalist Dawit Isaak who has been incarcerated without
trial since 2001.