Inside Story

Why are Eritreans fleeing their country?

Eritrea has accused the UN’s refugee agency of forcibly relocating some of its citizens stranded in Libya to Niger.

In the past decade, thousands of Eritreans looking to improve their lives in Europe have become stranded in Libya

Detained during their illegal transit or rescued from drowning in the Mediterranean, refugees are sent to detention centres.

But the battle for control of the capital Tripoli has left them exposed to the dangers of war with some going days without food.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has intervened and relocated migrants to safer areas, while sending some to other countries.

Among them, a group of 159 Eritrean nationals were sent to Niger before being relocated to a third country.

And that hasn’t gone down well with Eritrea‘s government.

But what would happen if those Eritreans went back home?

And is the country’s unlimited national service, a reason why many fled?

Presenter: Richelle Carey


Suleiman Hussein – Chairperson of Citizens for Democratic Rights in Eritrea

Fisseha Teklae – Researcher for the Horn of Africa for Amnesty International

Marie-Roger Biloa – Chief executive officer of MRB Networks