The Guardian: One in 200 people is a slave. Why? – 25 February

  • The Guardian carries a report on new figures from the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), which estimates that 40.3 million people are today living in some form of modern slavery – more than three times the figure during the transatlantic slave trade.
  • “A person today is considered enslaved if they are forced to work against their will; are owned or controlled by an exploiter or “employer”; have limited freedom of movement; or are dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as property, according to abolitionist group Anti-Slavery International.”
  • According to the Global Slavery Index, Eritrea ranks second globally for the number of slavery victims, with 93 per 1,000 people. Top of the list is North Korea, with 104.6 victims per 1,000.
  • Human trafficking is classified as a form of enslavement. On 5 February, a TIME article looked at cases of asylum seekers being held at ransom by traffickers. Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis were some of the most likely to fall victim to this practice.

All Africa: Eritrea: Nationals in Israel Contribute Over U.S.221 Thousand – 26 February

  • The Eritrean Information Ministry claims that Eritreans in Israel contributed more than $221,000 in support of funds for Eritrean war veterans and the families of martyrs.
  • According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, $201,000 went to the families of martyrs, while the remaining $19,650 was allocated to support of the National Association of Eritrean War Disabled Veterans.
  • At an event to mark the contribution, the Charge d’Affairs at the Eritrean Embassy in Israel, Solomon Kinfe, “commended the nationals for their contribution in support of martyrs’ families and the war disabled veterans and called on for strengthening organizational capacity and enhanced contribution.”
  • It is regularly reported that Eritrean nationals living abroad are subject to a “diaspora tax” in order to gain services. In 2018, the Netherlands expelled an Eritrean diplomat on the grounds of “continuous intimidation and force used in the collection” of the tax.

All Africa: Eritrea: Southern Region – 79 Percent of Residents Have Access to Clean Water – 26 February

  • All Africa republishes a press release from the Eritrean Information Ministry which states that 79 percent of residents of the Southern region now have access to clean water.
  • Kibrom Misgna, head of the water branch at the Southern region, stated that in the last several years potable water projects have been put in place in villages, semi-urban centres, and towns. According to Kibrom, 25% of the projects are manual pumped, and 54% are solar and electric powered.
  • Over forty thousand residents are now reported to have access to clean water after 2018 saw the implementation of 11 potable water projects worth 16.6 million Nakfa in 16 villages and two towns.
  • Repair works on damaged water projects were also carried out in 2018, restoring 28 water distribution centres and 250 manual pumps.

KT Press: Merhawi Kudus Wins Tour Du Rwanda’s Toughest, Maintains Overall Lead – 26 February

  • Rwanda’s KT Press reports that Eritrea’s Merhawi Kudus has claimed his second stage victory in the Tour du Rwanda, which finishes on Sunday 3 March.
  • Merhawi won the longest stage of the race, completing the 213.2km stage in 05h21’15”. He beat his closest rival, the Estonian rider Taaramae Rein, by 15 seconds.
  • Following his excellent performances in the mountains, Merhawi won the King of the Mountain jersey as well as the best ranked African jersey.
  • On Thursday 28, the 16-team peloton will head to Karongi District, in Western Province, from where the cyclists will ride 102.6km in the fourth stage of the Tour.

BBC: Eritrean Press: Reporting on Africa’s most secretive state – 27 February

  • The BBC publishes a feature on the founder of Eritrean Press, an independent Facebook page with more than 250,000 followers covering Eritrean politics, satire, sport, and human interest stories.
  • ‘J’ only agreed to speak to the BBC on condition of anonymity, saying that none of his volunteer eight writers – based in Eritrea, Britain and the US – know his identity. “No-one knows who I am. I’d be in prison”, he tells them.
  • Within Eritrea, all news outlets are state-owned, and journalists have been imprisoned without trial or charge. Eritrean Press reaches around 1.25 million people each week, but J estimates that only around 30,000 of his readers are inside Eritrea itself, not for reasons of censorship but internet access, which is both unreliable and expensive. The World Bank estimates that scarcely more than 1% of the Eritrean population has access to the web.
  • J, who lives in Britain but makes occasional trips back to Eritrea, says the page was initially inspired by a desire to support the country in a “propaganda war” against Ethiopia, but that following rapprochement last year, “we don’t need to support the government but criticise (them) on the things they do wrong […] if they do the right thing, we support them. If they do the wrong thing, we criticise them.”
  • In a “landmark post” in October 2018, J called for the first time for a change of government in Eritrea, with a post headlined “Nepotist Isaias Has Got to Go”. “I believe there should be free elections, but that will not happen, so the president has to go”, he tells the BBC’s Reha Kansara.

IOL: WATCH: Everything you need to know about the new ‘wonder grain’ Teff – 27 February

  • South African outlet Independent Online runs an article on the growing popularity of teff as a “wonder grain” promoted by health and fitness bloggers.
  • Teff, a staple of cuisine in Eritrea and Ethiopia, is touted as a versatile grain high in fibre, iron, protein and calcium, whose flour is widely used to make injera bread.



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