Asmara - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

There is government repression of certain religious groups, so do not go looking for a Pentecostal religious service. The country prides itself on its gender equality, and formally they do really well--but at home there are still very set ideas of a woman's place in the home. - Apr 2021

The government prides itself on the equality of its citizens, and it has reason to think that way. There are still some ethnic and religious minorities who feel they are more oppressed by the government, and unrecognized religions (Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.) are definitely oppressed, in my opinion. Women do not have as much power in the government as men, and there are definitely some patriarchal views in society, but it's better than average on that axis. - Dec 2019

Comparatively few. Unregistered religious groups (e.g. Jehovahs Witnesses, Pentecostals), in my opinion, may feel pressure and disapproval. The registered religious groups (Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Islam) practice freely but are strongly discouraged from political or social activism. Eritrea has nine ethnic groups, but Eritreans have a strong, patriotic, national identity as Eritreans, which transcends group difference. There is no sign of ethnic discord among Eritreans of different backgrounds. Eritrean women fought side by side with men during their decades of war with Ethiopia, and a certain ideal of gender equity remains part of the ethos. However, there are also strong gender roles, and I would not say there is gender equality. - Feb 2019

Not really that I have seen or experienced. Women were very important for the fight for independence, so they are very strong and to my mind seen as equals. - Sep 2018

Once again. There are only 4 legal religions (Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox, Islam). If you do not practice one of those, you could find yourself in jail. While I don't think you would run that risk if you were Jewish or Baptist...if you were Jehovah's Witness or Baha' could find yourself in trouble. The government really cracks down on Jehovah's witness mostly because of their unwillingness to bear arms and perform national service.

There has yet to be any movement on trying to get the Government to create a system for Jehovah's Witness where they can freely practice their faith, but also do national service in a way that does not require they bear arms. But as it stand everyone going to national service, must go through training which includes bearing arms. - Dec 2016

There is much religious repression. People have been jailed indefinitely for attending non-approved churches. Collection plates are confiscated by the government. - Aug 2007

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