Event Date and time: November 17 | 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Event website: Understanding Eritrea – ‘Africa’s Most Repressive State.’
Event cost: Free
Speaker: Martin Plaut, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, former Africa Editor at the BBC World Service.
Discussant: Discussant: Professor Gaim Kibreab, Research Professor and Course Director of the MSc Refugee Studies at London South Bank University, School of Law and Social Sciences.
Chair: Dr Kieran Mitton, Dept of War Studies, KCL.
Join us for this evening Africa Research Group event in which experienced former BBC correspondent Martin Plaut explores Eritrea, drawing from his new book ‘Understanding Eritrea: Inside Africa’s Most Repressive State.’
“The most secretive, repressive state in Africa is haemorrhaging its citizens. In some months as many Eritreans as Syrians arrive on European shores, yet the country is not convulsed by civil war. Young men and women risk all to escape. Many do not survive — their bones littering the Sahara; their bodies floating in the Mediterranean.
Still they flee, to avoid permanent military service and a future without hope. As the United Nations reported: ‘Thousands of conscripts are subjected to forced labour that effectively abuses, exploits and enslaves them for years.’
Eritreans fought for their freedom from Ethiopia for thirty years, only to have their revered leader turn on his own people. Independent since 1993, the country has no constitution and no parliament. No budget has ever been published. Elections have never been held and opponents languish in jail. International organisations find it next to impossible to work in the country.
Nor is it just a domestic issue. By supporting armed insurrection in neighbouring states it has destabilised the Horn of Africa. Eritrea is involved in the Yemeni civil war, while the regime backs rebel movements in Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
This book tells the untold story of how this tiny nation became a world pariah.”
Martin Plaut, the BBC World Service’s former Africa Editor, has published extensively on African affairs. An adviser to the Foreign Office and the US State Department, he is Senior Researcher at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.
Gaim Kibreab is a Research Professor and Course Director of the MSc Refugee Studies at London South Bank University, School of Law and Social Sciences in the Department of Social Science. He has published widely on forced migration, development and governance in post-conflict societies. He is currently working on causes of forced migration in post-independence Eritrea.
Free and open to all. Registration is required for entry and names will be checked at the door.