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Eritrea

Country Profile

Language: Tigrinya

Eritreans speak Tigrinya. Located on the Red Sea, Eritrea is governed by a totalitarian regime that seeks to control every aspect of life. Some have compared Eritrea to the “hermit kingdom” of North Korea, as it is one of the most secretive and isolated countries in the world. In 2002, the government outlawed every religion except Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism and the Lutheran Church. All other religious groups are illegal, and the government heavily controls approved churches, including their messages. Years of communism, required military service and economic depression have forced many Eritreans, including evangelical believers, to flee the country. Despite these hardships, the underground church in Eritrea continues to grow due to the faithfulness of church leaders both inside and outside the country. A 2018 peace deal between Eritrea and Ethiopia ended a two-decade-long state of war, but the benefits are one-sided. While Ethiopians may travel freely between the two countries, travel for Eritreans is restricted by the government. The situation for Eritrean believers has not changed, and very few Christian prisoners have been released. The population is evenly divided between Christians and Muslims. The authoritarian government arrests, imprisons and harasses Christians.