World Report 2013: Eritrea

From Welcome to Asmarino Independent. Thu Jan 31 2013, 18:17:20

Conscripts allegedly provided forced labor to construct infrastructure at the Bisha gold mine, Eritrea's only operating mine and a major source of revenue. Although the Eritrean government had agreed with the mine's principal international owner that no national service conscripts would be allowed to work at Bisha, it required use of a ruling party-controlled contractor, Segen Construction. Segen makes widespread use of conscript labor and there is evidence that it did so at Bisha as well. Escapees told Human Rights Watch in 2012 that they worked 12-hour shifts and endured dangerously inadequate food and housing conditions. They did not complain because, as one escapee told Human Rights Watch, "we were afraid for our lives."

Recent escapees report that conscripts are also involuntarily assigned to public works projects, the ruling party's commercial and agricultural enterprises, farms owned by high-tanking military officers, and the civil service.

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