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 January.
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.