Eritrea. Before the New Year, the UN Security Council decided to tighten sanctions on Eritrea, which was accused of supporting al-Shabaab and other Islamist militias in Somalia. Eritrea was also charged with tax collection with extortion methods from citizens in exile, including in Sweden. Swedish Eritreans have notified the Embassy of the police for threats and blackmail in an attempt to recover the tax of 2% of the annual income that all Eritreans in exile are expected to pay. According to a UN report, the tax is the Eritrean regime’s largest source of income. According to the Eritrean government, the tax is voluntary.
In January, a group of foreign tourists were killed in northeastern Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian government claimed that the assault was carried out by terrorist groups trained and armed by Eritrea and then crossed the border. Eritrea rejected the charge as a lie. Ethiopian military then crossed the Eritrea border in March, attacking military bases claiming to have trained Ethiopian rebel groups.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Provides most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for Eritrea. Also includes location map, major cities, and country overview.
It was the first time since the 1998–2000 border war that Ethiopia was attacked inside Eritrea. Eritrean president and dictator Isaias Afwerki accused the United States of being behind the Ethiopian attacks, which was rejected in Washington.
President Afwerki claimed in May that there has been no silent diplomacy between Sweden and Eritrea for many years regarding the imprisoned Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak. According to the Swedish government, however, such contacts were made, and the Swedish Foreign Ministry stated that in April one had a meeting with one of the president’s closest men. Dawit Isaak has been incarcerated since 2001 without trial. Reporters Without Borders said during the year that they had information that Dawit Isaak was alive.
Sweden’s approach to Ethiopia during the year in the work to get the imprisoned journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye free created a delicate situation in the relationship with Eritrea and the work to get Dawit Isaak free from it. This was stated by Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.
According to Reporters Without Borders annual index of freedom of the press in the world, Eritrea was the worst country with the worst conditions for freedom of the press, followed by North Korea.
The repression drives thousands of people to leave Eritrea every month, according to UN data. In December, Eritrea’s soccer national team jumped off in Uganda after an international match, and all players applied for asylum.
According to countryaah, the population of Eritrea in 2012 was 3,342,707, ranking number 136 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.060% yearly, and the population density was 33.0972 people per km2.