The EU has imposed sanctions on Eritrea for violating human rights. The aim of the sanctions is the Office for National Security, which is under the supervision of the President’s office, as it was called on Monday. The office “is responsible for serious human rights violations in Eritrea committed by its employees, in particular arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, disappearances and torture.”
The foreign ministry of the country in the Horn of Africa called the sanctions a “malicious act”. The EU has no legal or moral prerogative for this decision, it said.
Eritrea, with around three million inhabitants, has been ruled by the autocratic President Isaias Afewerki for years. The tough national labor and military service has already displaced tens of thousands of people, many of them to Germany. The state is largely isolated from the international community. Eritrean soldiers are currently fighting in the conflict in Tigray in neighboring Ethiopia, which the government in Addis Ababa denies.
The punitive measures were imposed with a sanctions instrument that was only created last year to punish serious human rights violations. With the new sanctions regime, the EU expanded its options at the end of 2020 to punish those responsible for serious injustices abroad. At the same time, sanctions were imposed on Monday for human rights violations in China, North Korea, Libya, Russia and South Sudan.