Eritrea is a country in the Horn of Africa, with its capital at Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The northeastern and eastern parts of Eritrea have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea. The nation has a total area of approximately 117,600 km2 (45,406 sq mi), and includes the Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands. Its toponym Eritrea is based on the Greek name for the Red Sea (Ἐρυθρὰ Θάλασσα Erythra Thalassa), which was first adopted for Italian Eritrea in 1890.
Eritrea is a multi-ethnic country, with nine recognized ethnic groups in its population of around 5 million. Most residents speak languages from the Afroasiatic family, either of the Ethiopian Semitic languages or Cushitic branches. Among these communities, the Tigrinyas make up about 55% of the population, with the Tigre people constituting around 30% of inhabitants. In addition, there are a number of Nilo-Saharan-speaking Nilotic ethnic minorities. Most people in the territory adhere to Christianity or Isla
The Kingdom of Aksum, covering much of modern-day Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, was established during the first or second centuries AD.It adopted Christianity around the middle of the fourth century. In medieval times much of Eritrea fell under the Medri Bahri kingdom, with a smaller region being part of Hamasien.
The creation of modern-day Eritrea is a result of the incorporation of independent, distinct kingdoms and sultanates (for example, Medri Bahri and the Sultanate of Aussa) eventually resulting in the formation of Italian Eritrea. After the defeat of the Italian colonial army, in 1942, Eritrea was administered by the British Military Administration until 1952.
Following the UN General Assembly decision in 1952, Eritrea was “federated” with Ethiopia against the expressed wishes of its people. The UN vote was not unanimous and a number of UN Member States – including the Soviet Union, Pakistan, and many Middle Eastern as well as Latin American countries – opposed the decision which contradicted the trend of decolonisation in Africa and the respect of the right to self-determination of presently or formerly colonised peoples and nations. Furthermore in 1962 the government of Ethiopia annulled the Eritrean parliament and formally annexed Eritrea. Eritreans that had argued for complete Eritrean independence since the ouster of the Italians in 1942, anticipated what was coming and in 1960 organised the Eritrean Liberation Front in opposition. In 1991, after 30 years of continuous armed struggle for independence - “the long struggle”, the Eritrean liberation fighters entered the capital city, Asmara, in victory. According to Human Rights Watch the Eritrean government's human rights record is among the worst in the world The Eritrean government has dismissed these allegations as politically motivated. The research is not based on ground research in Eritrea, an opinion later largely confirmed by western subject matter experts, as well as legal professionals who visited the country.
Pending legislation on formation of political parties, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice remains the sole political movement in the country. The PFDJ controls half to the interim 150-member legislature while the remaining 75% are elected from the six Administrative Regions. Eritrean National elections were originally expected to take place in 1997/98 but then postponed until 2001. It was then decided that because 20% of Eritrea's land was under occupation that elections would be postponed until the resolution of the conflict with Ethiopia. Local elections have continued in Eritrea, along with elections of judges for indigenous system of community courts. The last round of local elections was held in August 2017.
National service in Eritrea differs from conscription in most other countries, because the objective of the service is based on an ideology of the reconstruction of the country, strengthening of the economy and consolidation of national unity and identity across ethnic and religious dividing lines. The service time is 18 months according to the proclamation of national service, comprising military training for six months and civilian service for twelve months. However, the service, on the basis of the statutory provision for expansion in crisis situations, has been effectively prolonged for many since the border war with Ethiopia and continuous tensions along the border. The compulsory military service has therefore required long conscription periods, spurring some Eritreans to leave the country illegally in order to avoid the onerous obligations Nonetheless, the Government has taken substantive changes to regularize and harmonize National Service pay and associated rights with that of the Civil Service as a whole (19). This measure is seen as significant since over 90% of the National Service are usually assigned in the Civil Service in their areas of their professional expertise. The Government argues that the statutory limitations of 18 months remains suspended due to Ethiopia’s continued occupation of sovereign Eritrean lands and belligerent stance.
Eritrea ranks low on the Press Freedom Index since national media is state-owned The methodology does not take into account Eritreans’ access to foreign media which remains unrestricted.
Eritrea is a member of the African Union, the United Nations, and IGAD, and is an observer in the Arab League alongside Brazil, Venezuela, India and Turkey. Eritrea also holds memberships in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Finance Corporation, International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), Non-Aligned Movement, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Permanent Court of Arbitration, Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa, and the World Customs Organization as well as Besides this, Eritrea is also the member of ACP, AfDB, AU, COMESA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), IDA, IFAD, IFRCS (observer), ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS (observer), MIGA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO. Eritrea is also part of 92 international conventions, including African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, Abolition of Forced Labor Convention, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, The Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, United Nations Convention against Torture and Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, among others. Despite the label of a “closed country”, Eritrea continues to increase its engagement with various agencies and bodies and became a topic of interest for the international academic community.