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Jehovah's Witnesses in Eritrea


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http://hrc-eritrea.org/eritrea-20-years-and-counting-the-exceptional-persecution-of-jehovahs-witnesses/

 

Excerpt:

"Since becoming an independent country in 1993, my country consistently and routinely harasses, imprisons, and tortures Jehovah’s Witnesses.

To date, at least 73 Jehovah’s Witnesses are in Eritrean prisons suffering harrowing conditions [1]. None have been charged or sentenced. Jehovah’s Witnesses were stripped of their citizenship and basic civil rights by presidential decree in October of 1994. However there is absolutely no legal framework how the government handles religious prisoners.............."

Has anyone else seen this report? Seems to have quite some information extracted from our official website. Also, would it be a good idea to sign the petition?

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Yes, I've seen portions of this report in some of the organizations publications (yearbooks mainly).  I also read something to that affect in a Reader's Digest Article several years ago that listed the 9 most cruel, horrible leaders in the world and Eritrea's made the top of the list!

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It's interesting - I've thought about our brothers and sisters there a LOT and I've often wondered why Jehovah allows them to be imprisoned (including their children) rather than free on the outside to witness to others.  But I've read some things that may shed some light on this situation.  In Eritrea, Jehovah's Witnesses are not considered "citizens" because of their religious beliefs.  Because of that, they are not allowed to obtain vouchers to purchase food, which all citizens need.  Perhaps, being in prison is the only way they actually get some kind of meager rations on a daily basis.  I'm not sure how else they would be able to obtain food for themselves.  There are many other things they are denied because of not being considered "citizens" as well.  Life on the outside might be harder than life in prison because of this (although that does seem hard to imagine).  Just a thought.

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Be careful guys. Read this page first. They are protesting against the Dictator and looking to oust him from power. I do not know if it is this page or the person in the story that is doing it. However we could lend out name to those trying to rid themselves of the government. We would not want Jehovah's name in with them.

 

http://hrc-eritrea.org/a-communication-brought-by-article-19-against-the-state-of-eritrea-a-state-party-to-the-african-charter/

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I wonder if prisoners in Eritrea can receive encouraging letters from other brothers? If so, I hope these faithful brothers know how their example is prayerfully remembered by all of us. It would be good to know that some practical assistance is reaching our brothers there. Sometimes I wish therre was something more (than prayer) I can do?

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I agree with you Chris.  When I pray to Jehovah I ask him to let them know how much they are loved by their worldwide brotherhood - to somehow convey all our love and concern to them.  I have no idea if they are getting any spiritual food at all, so I pray that somehow they are able to get something to keep their job.  Most of all, I ask Jehovah to give them wonderful dreams about life in the paradise - to keep their hope alive.

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I was working on a customers door.. And I asked the owner what does he do for a living.. He told me that he worked for the UN and his responsibility was for east Africa ..

So I told him I had friends in Eritrea and that they were in jail..

He told me that he was from Eritrea .. So I proceeded to explain who I was and how my friends have never had a court case and yet they jailed them for many years..And that they are still in jail ..

He was not aware of it .. But was not surprised .. I do not know if he acted on the information but at least he was made aware...

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A bit of the background on this horrible regime opened my eyes as to what our brothers and sisters there are having to cope with.  It is very sad.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/oct/28/eritrean-resistance-pressure-isais-afewerki

 

Perhaps things are already happening behind the scenes to help our brothers, and even the small things like what Lance has done might be a part of this too.  Let's hope so, but all in Jehovah's time.  He has already shown how he changes the course of human governments to save his people.  Those brutal government agencies just have no idea what's about to hit them. 

 

Rev 12:16 But the earth came to the woman’s help, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon spewed out from its mouth.

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On 3/7/2016 at 9:03 AM, shali said:

It's interesting - I've thought about our brothers and sisters there a LOT and I've often wondered why Jehovah allows them to be imprisoned (including their children) rather than free on the outside to witness to others.  But I've read some things that may shed some light on this situation.  In Eritrea, Jehovah's Witnesses are not considered "citizens" because of their religious beliefs.  Because of that, they are not allowed to obtain vouchers to purchase food, which all citizens need.  Perhaps, being in prison is the only way they actually get some kind of meager rations on a daily basis.  I'm not sure how else they would be able to obtain food for themselves.  There are many other things they are denied because of not being considered "citizens" as well.  Life on the outside might be harder than life in prison because of this (although that does seem hard to imagine).  Just a thought.

I like the way you think, sister, and I truly believe you have hit the nail on the head, so to speak. Jesus was, as we all should be, bending to Jehovah's will. He never questioned God's role in his life, but truly became one of His sons.  Recognizing that sovereignty as the most important thing in your life, is the way to become truly subservient, out of true love. Your thoughts?

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On March 18, 2016 at 7:13 PM, shali said:

I agree with you Chris.  When I pray to Jehovah I ask him to let them know how much they are loved by their worldwide brotherhood - to somehow convey all our love and concern to them.  I have no idea if they are getting any spiritual food at all, so I pray that somehow they are able to get something to keep their job.  Most of all, I ask Jehovah to give them wonderful dreams about life in the paradise - to keep their hope alive.

When watching the two sisters' interviews (Irina and Valida), I am left with no doubt that Jehovah has a way of having them know that they're loved and thought about (of) all around the world. One of the sisters said that she 'felt' the power of prayers. I like the idea of wonderful dreams about life in paradise. We meditate about this too, but I think theirs is as vivid as can be!!

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On ‎08‎/‎03‎/‎2016 at 4:03 PM, shali said:

It's interesting - I've thought about our brothers and sisters there a LOT and I've often wondered why Jehovah allows them to be imprisoned (including their children) rather than free on the outside to witness to others.  But I've read some things that may shed some light on this situation.  In Eritrea, Jehovah's Witnesses are not considered "citizens" because of their religious beliefs.  Because of that, they are not allowed to obtain vouchers to purchase food, which all citizens need.  Perhaps, being in prison is the only way they actually get some kind of meager rations on a daily basis.  I'm not sure how else they would be able to obtain food for themselves.  There are many other things they are denied because of not being considered "citizens" as well.  Life on the outside might be harder than life in prison because of this (although that does seem hard to imagine).  Just a thought.

 

 

That is a possibility, although I think it is possible the prison doesn't provide provisions (or adequate provisions) for prisoners.  In some countries, and prisoners have to be kept by daily provisions from family (in our case brothers and sisters).  Not sure but that could be a sad possibility.  In any case, if Jehovah can feed Elijah with Ravens, he can ensure our dear brothers and sisters are provided for one way or another.  Their faithfulness is a stick in the eye to Satan to his (satan's) shame, exposing him as the liar he is.  Like Job their reward will be great and the witness they gave by enduring so long a testimony for all eternity.  When they are reading about their expériences maybe in the "New Scrolls" their suffering will indeed seem "temporary and light". 

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On 3/22/2016 at 2:48 AM, sunshine said:

 

 

That is a possibility, although I think it is possible the prison doesn't provide provisions (or adequate provisions) for prisoners.  In some countries, and prisoners have to be kept by daily provisions from family (in our case brothers and sisters).  Not sure but that could be a sad possibility.  In any case, if Jehovah can feed Elijah with Ravens, he can ensure our dear brothers and sisters are provided for one way or another.  Their faithfulness is a stick in the eye to Satan to his (satan's) shame, exposing him as the liar he is.  Like Job their reward will be great and the witness they gave by enduring so long a testimony for all eternity.  When they are reading about their expériences maybe in the "New Scrolls" their suffering will indeed seem "temporary and light". 

This is very true. We hosted the Amharic group for many years (the language spoken by many from Ethiopia and Eritrea) and keep in contact with them. Many of them had relatives in these prisons because of being one of Jehovah's Witnesses- One Brother's wife and daughter are imprisoned. They do rely on food brought to them but they have such a spirit of resilience and faith. They know as long as they put Jehovah first, they will be provided for and this has proved true for as long as they have been imprisoned.

 

Prayer is a wonderful gift from Jehovah that they use as well. While we pray for Jehovah to help them endure, they pray the same for us knowing we live with temptations all around us. Even in what would seem to be the most horrible of circumstances, they are thinking of their brothers and sisters all around the world and praying for us to remain faithful and strong. That's just amazing to me.

 

So I'm not sure about the petition, but I do know the Governing Body is doing all they can through legal avenues and I know Jehovah will continue to bless their efforts. I think the best thing we can do is persevere in prayer for them as the January Watchtower brought out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Excerpt from UNHRC -Eritrea:

Quote

Violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses

631.  Jehovah’s Witnesses have been persecuted from the outset for their stand on political neutrality and conscientious objection to military service. In line with the tenets of their faith, Eritrean Jehovah’s Witnesses did not participate in the 1993 referendum on Eritrea’s independence. A year later, Mr. Paulos Eyassu, Mr. Isaac Mogos, and Mr. Negede Teklemariam refused to enlist in the country’s military service, and were consequently imprisoned. They are still in Government’s custody. Following these two incidents, President Afwerki announced on 25 October 1994 the revocation of citizenship for Eritrean Jehovah’s Witnesses: 764 “A group calling themselves ‘Jehovah’ [sic], who are Eritreans by birth, but who have revoked their Eritrean citizenship by their refusal to take part in the referendum, have now reconfirmed their position by refusing to take part in the National Service, thus deciding to revoke their citizenship.” 

 

633. The revocation of citizenship of Jehovah’s Witnesses implied the confiscation of their national identity documents. Furthermore, those who worked for the Government were dismissed from their positions, revoked. while the licences of those who owned businesses were were suspended as was their access to public goods and services, including the coupons, which permitted households to buy items at affordable prices at Government shops.

770. A former employee of the Ministry of Interior explained that the various measures taken against the group were intended to sever “any link that they had with the Government.”

771 Witnesses spoke of the difficulties they faced following the decision, which affected entire families.

772 “My family became a victim. We were evicted from our house. It was a Government house. My father had his own shop; they came and confiscated all his goods and closed his business. They first closed the shop and within a month we lost our house. We did not receive any warning before the eviction. The administrator’s offices called us and told us to leave the house immediately. A friend of ours let us live in his house. We were living thanks to kind friends.” “All Eritreans receive vouchers for food, except Jehovah’s Witnesses because we do not have an ID. We are not considered as citizens … Each zoba administrator implements the policy regarding the ID differently. Up to now we do not have any coupon and we have to buy food at the market. It is four to five times the price at the Government shops,” explained another witness.

 In the following years, a smear campaign was conducted by the Government admonishing Jehovah’s Witnesses for not having participated in the liberation struggle and not enlisting in the re-building of the country. [sic]

There are many more horrendous stories told in this report but it's too voluminous to post here.  You can read about it ontheir website:

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