Afwerki is a strong admirer of Mao Zedong
After attending military training in China during the Cultural Revolution, Afwerki became an admirer of Mao Zedong, and is well known for having Marxist-inspired politics. Eritrea has enjoyed close relations with Beijing.
He put an end to so-called foreign aid in 2005
The United States, along with other foreign governments, provided aid to Eritrea until Afwerki ended all so-called foreign aid, citing it as a dependency creator. The following year, he prohibited non-governmental organizations.
He allegedly forces young people into perpetual national service
Afwerki instituted mandatory conscription for all young people into national service, but often there is no end in sight for new soldiers. The mass national service can last for decades, forcing many Eritreans to flee. Afwerki points to ongoing tension with Ethiopia as the reason for maintaining national conscription.
Thousands flee Eritrea despite shoot-to-kill border policy
Afwerki has a shoot-to-kill policy for his border patrols, but many Eritreans take the risk and flee across the border anyway. Eritrea’s refugee crisis has drawn attention to Afwerki’s administration and forced international observers to look more closely at his actions. Last year alone, over 47,000 Eritreans applied for asylum in Europe.
Afwerki denied entry to U.N. officials
After refusing to allow U.N. officials to enter Eritrea to compile a report on the country, Afwerki’s administration accused the report of being one sided and inaccurate. The report was based on interviews with Eritreans living outside the country, many with refugee status.
Eritrea has rebuked the UN for its report, citing a lack of evidence
Afwerki’s administration responded to the U.N. report with outrage, citing a lack of evidence such as video or audio. Others claimed the commission overstepped its mandate, and questioned the impartiality of its leaders.
The report calls for Eritrean officials to go before the International Criminal Court
Citing over 300,000 cases of forced labor and indefinite conscription, the U.N. report deemed Eritrea’s actions akin to slavery, and recommended that high-ranking Eritrean officials, including Afwerki, be referred to the International Criminal Court and charged with crimes against humanity. The report will now go to the U.N. Human Rights Council, which will decide whether or not to adopt a resolution on the issue.
Source: AFK Insider