Wed, 9 December 2015
After Syrians and Afghans, the largest nationality of people who are fleeing as refugees to Europe are Eritreans. And the vast majority of Eritreans who are fleeing to Europe are young people between the ages of 18 and 24 who are escaping an oppressive system of compulsory national service.
National service itself is not a problem. Lots of liberal democracies have some of draft or conscription. But the System of national service in Eritrea takes this to the extreme and has become a system of forced labor and population control.
Amnesty International recently published a report called Just Deserters: Why Indefinite National Service in Eritrea has Created Generation of Refugees that explores in depth the human rights abuses of this system and its implications for global security. On the line with me today is the report's lead author Claire Beston.
We discuss how this system works, why so many young Eritreans are fleeing the country, and why countries in Europe are turning a blind eye to this major driver of refugees to their shore.
This is a very interesting conversation about how policy decisions by one small and brutally repressive government can have profound repercussions around the world.