Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Forced labour in Eritrea*

  • Gaim Kibreab (a1)
Abstract

Using fieldwork data collected in Eritrea, Rome, Milan and Stockholm, and supplemented by human rights organisation reports and discussions with key informants in four cities in the UK, this article examines the extent to which the Eritrean national service and its concomitant Warsai-Yikaalo Development Campaign qualify as forced or compulsory labour as defined by the relevant international conventions.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Footnotes
Hide All
*

I am deeply indebted to the editor of the journal for his valuable advice and comments on earlier drafts. I am also grateful to Jane Wambui Njagi for reading and commenting on the article. Thanks are also due to two anonymous reviewers.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Abolition of Forced Labour Convention No. 105 (AFLC). 1957. International Labour Office, Geneva, <http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/reportforms/pdf/22e105.pdf>, accessed 13.7.2007.
Abrehe, B. 2002. ‘Eritrea heading towards a promising future’, Eritrea Profile, 24.
Afwerki, I. 1996. Glutz Zete Mis President Isaias [Open Dialogue with President Isaias], Hidri, Special Issue 4, 1 June.
Afwerki, I. 2002a. Interview in Hadas Eritra, May 2002.
Afwerki, I. 2002b. ERI TV, Interview with President Isaias Afwerki, 13 October.
Afwerki, I. 2006. Isaias Afwerki, Sawa, 19.7.2006, <http://www.shabait.com/staging/publish/article_005252.html>, accessed 21.7.2006.
Afwerki, I. 2008. ‘3rd National Youth Festival opens in Sawa, members of 21st Round National Service Programme graduate’, 19.7.2008, <http://bahtimeskerem.com/blog1/?p=90>, accessed 13.8.2008.
AI. 2003. ‘Eritrea: Continued detention of prisoners of conscience and new arrests of members of religious groups’, AI Index: AFR 64/004/2003, 18 September.
AI. 2004a. ‘Eritrea: “You have no right to ask” – government resists scrutiny on human rights’, AI Index: AFR 64/003/2004, 19.5.2004.
AI. 2004b. ‘Eritrea: fear of torture/incommunicado detention/arbitrary killings: thousands of people held at Adi Abeto army prison’, AI Index: AFR 64/008/2004, <http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/Onfo/AFR64/008/2004>, accessed 3.9.2008.
AI. 2006. ‘Amnesty International Report 2006 – Eritrea’, UNHCR Refworld, 23 May 2006, <http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/447ff7a62.html>, accessed 29.9.2008.
Awate.com. 2007a. ‘Eritrean escapees to Sudan, 30 Jan. 2007’, <http://www.awate.com/portal/content/view/4460/6/>, accessed 13.2.2007.
Awate.com. 2007b. ‘Eritrea's killing fields’, 22.9.2007, <http://www.awate.com/portal/content/view/4623/5/>, accessed 20.4.2008.
BBC Monitoring. 2008. ‘Over 30,000 Eritrean refugees live in Ethiopia’, <http://news.monitor.bbc.co.uk>, accessed 5.8.2008.
BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. 1995. ‘Jehovah's Witnesses have lost citizenship rights, Eritrean Ministry of Interior’, 4.3.1995, <http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/33/003.html>, accessed 13.9. 2008.
Beattie, P. M. 2001. The Tribute of Blood: Army, Honor, Race, and Nation in Brazil, 1864–1945. Durham and London: Duke University.
Brown, J. 1991. ‘Greece and Turkey’, in Dietz, Ethnicity, Integration, and the Military, 81104.
Butler, S. J. 1991. ‘The military as a vehicle for social integration: the Afro-American experience as data’, in Dietz, Ethnicity, Integration, and the Military, 2750.
Crick, B. 2000. In Defence of Politics, 5th edn.London: Continuum.
Dietz, H., Elkin, J. & Roumani, M., eds. 1991. Ethnicity, Integration, and the Military. Boulder, CO: Westview.
Dorman, S. R. 2005. ‘Past the Kalashnikov: youth, politics and the state in Eritrea’, in Abbink, J. & van Kessel, I., eds. Vanguard or Vandals? Youth politics, and conflict in Africa. Leiden: Brill, 189204.
Encloe, C. 1980. Ethnic Soldiers: state security in divided societies. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
Ephrem, S. 1995. ‘Precedence to national sovereignty’, Eritrea Profile, 18.11.1995.
Eritrea Profile. 1994a. ‘Benefits of National Service stressed’, Eritrea Profile, 21.5.1994.
Eritrea Profile. 1994b. ‘National Service – the facts’, 4.6.1994.
Forced Labour Convention (FLC). 1930. Convention (No. 29) Concerning Forced Labour, adopted on 28.6.1930 by the General Conference of the International Labour Organisation at its fourteenth session, entry into force 1.5.1932, in accordance with Article 28, <http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/31.htm>, accessed 15.6. 2007.
Futur, W. 2005. ‘Our political situation, challenges and options: public dialogue’, Hidri, April; English translation at <http://www.meskerem.net/PFDJSEMINARS.htm>, accessed 15.8.2007.
Gebrehiwet, H. 2005. ‘Our political situation, challenges and options: public dialogue’, Hidri, April; English translation at <http://www.meskerem.net/PFDJSEMINARS.htm>, accessed 15.8. 2007.
Gebremariam, A. 2002. ‘The Warsay-Yikaalo Campaign – a campaign of slavery’, Parts ivi, posted in <Eritrea1.org/home/articles/1000702agtrans.htm>, accessed 26.3.2003.
Gedab News. 2007. <http://www.awate.com/portal/content/view/4489/3>, accessed 12.3.2007.
Hobbes, T. 1972. Leviathan, edited and abridged with an introduction by John Plamenatz. London: Fontana.
Hedru, D. 2003. ‘Eritrea: transition to dictatorship, 1991–2003’, Review of African Political Economy 97: 435–44.
Home Office, United Kingdom (Home Office). 2002. Country of Origin Information Report Eritrea. London: Home Office Country of Origin Information Service.
Home Office. 2005. Asylum Statistics, United Kingdom 2004, Home Office Statistical Bulletin. London: The Research Development and Statistical Directorate, 23.8.2005.
Home Office. 2006. Asylum Statistics, United Kingdom 2005, Home Office Statistical Bulletin. London: The Research Development and Statistical Directorate, 2.8.2006.
Home Office. 2008. Asylum Statistics 2007, Home Office Statistical Bulletin, 21.8.2008, <http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/hobs.1108.pdf>, accessed 30.8.2008.
Human Rights Watch (HRW). 2006 Human Rights Watch World Report 2006 – Eritrea, 18 January 2006, UNHCR Refworld, <http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/43cfae9f19.html>, accessed 29.9.2008.
HRW. 2007a. ‘World Report 2007. Eritrea: Events of 2006’, <http://hrw.org/englishwr2k7/docs/2007/01/11/eritre14698.htm>, accessed 28.9.2007.
HRW. 2007b. ‘Human Rights Watch World Report 2007 – Eritrea’, 11 January 2007, UNHCR Refworld, <http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/45aca29eb.html>, accessed 29.9.2008.
Huntington, S. P. 1968. Political Order in Changing Societies. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
ILO. 1998. Forced Labour in Myanmar (Burma): Report of the Commission of Inquiry appointed under article 26 of the Constitution of the International Labour Organization to examine the observance by Myanmar of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), Geneva: ILO, Part iv, Examination of the case by the Commission.
IMF. 2003. ‘Eritrea: 2003 Article iv Consultation – Staff Report; Public Information Notice on the Executive Board Discussion; and Statement by the Executive Director for Eritrea’, IMF Country Report 03/1965, June, <http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2003/cr03165.pdf>, accessed 20.10.2006.
Jacquin-Berdal, D. & Plaut, M., eds. 2005. Unfinished Business: Eritrea and Ethiopia at war. Lawrenceville, NJ: Red Sea Press.
Janowitz, M. 1964. The Military in the Political Development of New Nations. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Johnson, J. J., ed. 1962. The Role of the Military in Underdeveloped Countries. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Jones, E. 1985. Red Army and Society: a sociology of the Soviet military. Boston, MA: Allen & Unwin.
Kaplan, R. 2003. ‘A tale of two colonies: Eritrea’, The Atlantic.com, <http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200304/kaplan/2>, accessed 13.10.2004.
Kibreab, G. 2008. Critical Reflections on the Eritrean War of Independence: social capital, associational life, religion, ethnicity and sowing seeds of dictatorship. Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press.
Kimball, J. & Cawthorne, A.. 2008. ‘Interview: Eritrean leader blames CIA plot for youth exodus’, Reuters, Asmara, 13.5.2008, <http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L13745161.htm>, accessed 20.5.2008.
Krebs, R. 2006. Fighting for Rights: military service and the politics of citizenship. Ithaca, NJ: Cornell University Press.
Last, A. 2001. ‘Eritrean refugees head home’, 15.5.2001, <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1331743.stm>, accessed 17.5.2008.
Lata, L. 2003. ‘The Ethiopia-Eritrea war’, Review of African Political Economy 97: 369–88.
Lefever, E. 1970. Spear and Sceptre: army, police, and politics in tropical Africa. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.
Lerner, D. & Robinson, R. D.. 1960. ‘Swords and ploughshares: the Turkish army as a modernising force’, World Development 12: 1944.
Makki, F. 1996. ‘Nationalism, state formation and the public sphere: Eritrea 1991–1996’, Review of African Political Economy 70: 475–97.
Martell, P. 2007. ‘Conscripts prepare to boost Eritrea's defences on tense border’, 1.3.2008, <http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/EKOI-6YVA65?OpenDocument>, accessed 20.4.2008.
Martell, P. 2008. ‘Not so fond farewell to Eritrea’, BBC News, 10.3.2008, <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7283293.stm>, accessed 14.9.2008.
Mazrui, A. A. 1976. ‘Soldiers as traditionalisers: military rule and the re-Africanisation of Africa’, World Politics 28, 2: 246–72.
McCann, D. 2004. Soldiers of the Pátria: a history of the Brazilian army, 1889–1937. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Ministry of Defence, Eritrea. 2007. Mebrhi neti b'elet 28/05/07 ztesedelkum mel'ekti [Clarification to circular dispatched on 28/05/07]. Asmara: MoD.
National Service Proclamation 82/1995, Eritrean Gazette, 11.10.1995.
Negash, T. & Tronvoll, K.. 2000. Brothers at War: making sense of the Eritrean-Ethiopian war. Oxford: James Currey.
Putnam, R. 1993. Making Democracy Work: civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Putnam, R. 1995. ‘Bowling Alone: America's declining social capital’, Journal of Democracy 6: 6578.
Putnam, R. 2000. Bowling Alone: the collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Rakowska-Harmstone, T. 1979. ‘The Soviet army as the instrument of national integration’, in Erickson, J. & Feuchtwanger, E. J., eds. Soviet Military Power and Performance. Hamden, CT: Archon Books.
Rakowska-Harmstone, T. 1990. ‘“Brotherhood in arms”: the ethnic factor in the Soviet armed forces’, in Dreisziger, N. F., ed. Ethnic Armies: polyethnic armed forces from the time of the Habsburgs to the age of the superpowers. Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfred Laurier University Press.
Reporters without Borders (RwB). 2006. ‘North Korea, Turkmenistan, Eritrea: the worst violations of press freedom’, <http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.phpz?id_rubrique=639>, accessed 11.5. 2007.
Reuters, . 2008. ‘UNHCR says Eritrean refugees arriving on Sudan border’, Khartoum, 6.2.2008, <http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/MCD638085.htm>, accessed 17.5.2008.
Rozakis, C. L. 1976. The Concept of Jus Cogens in the Law of Treaties. Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company.
Sanders, E. 2007. ‘The struggling, low profile nation is doing something virtually unheard of in Africa: it is turning down foreign aid’, Los Angeles Times, 2.10.2007.
Schroder, , G. n. d. A printout on Eritrea with no title and date.
Slavery Convention (SC). 1926. Amended by Protocol, 1953, <http://www.anti-slaverysociety.addr.com/cxslavery.htm>, accessed 24.7.2007.
State of Eritrea. 2005. Millennium Development Goals Report. Asmara, July 2005, <http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/upload/Eritrea/Eritrea_MDGR.pdf>, accessed 10.7.2007.
Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery (SCAS). 1956. Adopted by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries Convened by Economic and Social Council resolution 608 (xxi) of 30 April 1956 and done at Geneva, 7 September 1956, <http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/slaverytreade.htm>, accessed 13.6.2007.
Teateq [Get Armed] 2004. No. 7, Ministry of Defence, Sawa, July.
Tesfamariam, S. 2007. ‘Warsai-Yikaalo – “Eritrea's Army Corps of Engineers”’, 9 August, <http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/meskerem/vpost?id=2077577>, accessed 13.5.2008.
Treiber, M. 2006. ‘Dreaming of a good life: young urban refugees from Eritrea between refusal of politics and political asylum’, paper presented at the African Studies Association of the United Kingdom conference, SOAS, September.
UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. 2007. MA (Draft evaders – illegal departures – risk) Eritrea CG [2007] UKAIT 00059, heard at Field House on 7.11.2006, 4.1.2007 and 2.3.2007.
UN. 1966. ‘International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, G.A. res. 2200A (xxi), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 999 U.N.T.S. 171, entered into force Mar. 23, 1976’, <http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/b3ccpr.htm>, accessed 11. 6. 2007.
UN. 1994. Report of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery on its Ninetieth Session, UN doc. CES E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/33, par. 123 (7).
UN. 2000. ‘Repatriation of Eritreans from Sudan resumes after 11-months break’, <http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/unmee/july03/page_5.htm>, accessed 17.5.2008.
UNHCR. 2004. ‘UNHCR position on return of rejected asylum seekers to Eritrea’, Geneva, January 2004, <http://www.unhcr.se/Pdf/Position_countryinfo_papers_06/eritrea04.pdf>, accessed 10.2.2004.
UNHCR. 2005. ‘Draft evaders in Eritrea’, PRL23.1/Eritrea/RB, 11.3.2005, Geneva: UNHCR.
UNHCR. 2007. ‘Global Appeal 2007’, <http://www.unhcr.org/publ/PUBL/4554439e3.pdf>, accessed 3.1.2008.
USDS. 2002. ‘Eritrea: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2002. Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor’, 31.3.2003, <http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18202.htm>, accessed 13.6.2003.
USDS. 2006. ‘Eritrea: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2005. Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour’, 8.3.2006, <http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61568.htm>, accessed 16.7.2006.
USDS. 2008. ‘2007 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Eritrea. Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor’, 11.3.2008, UNHCR Refworld, <http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/47d92c16c1.html>, accessed 30.9.2008.
Welch, C. E. 1991. ‘The military and social integration in Ethiopia’, in Dietz, Ethnicity, Integration, and the Military, 151–78.
World Bank. 2005. ‘Aide-Memoire, Part ii: Proposed restructuring, Eritrea: Emergency Demobilization and Reintegration Programme (EDRP) Mid-Term Review Mission’, 4–15 July.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Modern African Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-278X
  • EISSN: 1469-7777
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-modern-african-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed