Eritrea is located on the Red Sea in
northeastern Africa. The country became independent in
1993, after a war of over 30 years for liberation from
Ethiopia. Since then, Eritrea has developed into one of
the world's hardest dictatorships. The
agricultural-based economy has suffered severely during
the war years and the continued military efforts. A
stream of young men and women flee the country to avoid
military service that can last for years.
Brief profiles of Eritrea, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Eritrea is located on the Horn of Africa in
northeastern Africa. The country stretches for about 100
km along the Red Sea coast and is on the surface just
over a quarter as large as Sweden. Eritrea is located in
the tropical zone, but the temperature and climatic
conditions vary greatly with the height above the sea.
The central part of Eritrea is dominated by rivers
from the fertile Ethiopian highlands with mountains of
over 2,000 meters above sea level. Here is the capital
To the east of the highlands, the peninsula or desert
extends along the coast. The extremely hot
Danakilskanken (Afarsänkan) reaches just over 130 meters
below the sea. Outside the port city of Massawa lies the
lowland coral islands of Dahlak.
To the west towards the border with Sudan, the
plateau gradually slopes down into a hilly lowland. The
area is fertile and irrigated by the rivers Gash and
Large parts of the highlands were previously covered
by coniferous forests, but these have almost disappeared
through hard utilization of the land for cultivation and
In the highlands the climate is almost temperate, ie
relatively mild. On the coast it is hot and humid.
Massawa is one of the hottest cities in the world. In
the Danakil sink, the temperature often rises above 50
degrees; it is one of the hottest places on earth.
In the lowland areas, rainfall falls less than 500
millimeters per year, while the highlands get around
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
121 144 km2 (2018)
Swedish +2 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti
Capital with number of residents
Asmara 713,000 (2013 estimate)
Other major cities
Assab 104,000, Keren 84,500, Massawa 54,700 (2013
Emba Soira (2,989 m asl)
Asmara 4 mm (dec), 37 mm (June)
Asmara 26 °C (June), 22 °C (Dec)
More are fleeing to Ethiopia
UN agency Ocha says that the number of Eritreans fleeing to Ethiopia has
increased significantly since September. According to Ocha, an average of 200
Eritreans each day cross the hard-guarded border.
The President reports to the police in Sweden
President Isaias Afwerki and several of his ministers are reported to police
in Sweden for crimes against humanity , including torture and kidnapping. On the
same day, a Swedish law comes into force that makes it possible to prosecute
human rights violations in Swedish courts, regardless of where the crimes are
committed. However, the preliminary investigation is quickly closed with the
justification that the Eritrean government would probably not cooperate. In
addition, the Swedish International Prosecutor's Office refers to the crimes
occurring before the law on crimes against humanity came into force.
More refugees are leaving the country
The UN says that Eritrea's refugee flow amounts to about 4,000 people per
month, a sharp increase since the beginning of the year. The main reason why so
many leave the country, according to the UN, is the mandatory military service.
Criticism from bishops
Four Catholic bishops in a 38-page letter express concern over the state of
the country, which they describe as "devastating." They do not directly
criticize the government, but write about how people leave Eritrea to go to
peaceful and democratic countries to look for work and that no one stays in
their home country to take care of the old.
New constitution is promised
In a speech on Independence Day, President Afwerki says work should be
started to prepare a new constitution. However, it is unclear whether he intends
to revise the 1997 constitution, which never entered into force, or whether a
completely new one should be written.
Resistance groups claim successful rescues
Resistance group RSADO claims to have killed 27 Ethiopian agents and injured
many more in an attack on a military barracks near Alhan in Eritrea. The data
cannot be confirmed, but in that case it would be the first time since 2012 that
RSADO goes cross-border.
Defamatory criticism from the UN
Eritrea receives stinging criticism from the UN Human Rights Council for the
regime's systematic abuse of the population. The Human Rights Council says that
the severe repression and total lack of freedom is behind the mass flight of
Eritreans through Africa towards Europe.