The webinar series launched in February 2023 on «Conscientious Objection to military service in times of war» continues with a new session focusing on Eritrea and the war in Tigray.

Webinar #3 will take place on March 23rd  at 4 pm Geneva time and will host campaigners of the Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights and Surbana – Voice of Eritrean Refugees.

Interpretation will be provided in English, French, and Tigrinja.

How can we support conscientious objectors and deserters from Eritrea?

In the summer of 2018, Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace treaty that ended the no war no peace stalemate emanating from the border war of 1998-2000. Just two years later the conflict in the Ethiopian province of Tigray escalated. Eritrean security forces have been heavily involved in operations in support of the Ethiopian government since the outbreak of the conflict, and have carried out some of the conflict’s worst abuses. Eritrean authorities have conducted waves of roundups in Eritrea to identify people it considers draft evaders or deserters. And the Eritrean military was destroying and raiding Eritrean refugee camps in the north of Ethiopia. The Eritrean dictatorship under Isayas Afewerki uses an army, which is deployed for the aims of the regime through unlimited military service for men and women.

In recent years, we have observed that despite unchanged human rights violations, European governments have increasingly granted Eritrean refugees protection of inferior quality or have even rejected them. Moreover, refugees have been forced to go to the Eritrean embassies and consulates, where they are pressured to pay a 2% tax to their country of origin and to sign a so-called letter of regret, in which they agree to accept any punishment for their escape from Eritrea.


Helen Kidan (Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights)

George Ghebreslassie (Surbana)

This is an event organised by International Fellowship of Reconciliation and War Resisters’ International in collaboration with Connection e.V. and is taking place on the occasion of the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.