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Region Africa
Christian population 1 739 000 (47%)
Main religion Islam
Main threats • Dictatorial paranoia
• Christian denominational protectionism
• Organised corruption and crime

Total score






Recent news

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Eritrea is known as the “North Korea of Africa” due to its intense authoritarian government. Eritrea only recognises three Christian denominations (Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Lutheran). But even in the recognised churches, the government closely monitors every congregation.

Christians caught in raids on unrecognised denominations can be sent into Eritrea’s notorious prison network. Current estimates suggest around 1 000 Eritrean Christians are imprisoned – and they haven’t been charged with any crime. Members of some house churches have been in prison for more than 10 years, enduring shocking conditions, including solitary confinement in tiny cells.

The government watches every citizen of Eritrea, promoting a stigma against Christians. This means that anyone who converts from Islam or leaves the Eritrean Orthodox Church is likely to come under intense pressure from their family and community, along with the government.

Meet Abdullah

“Abdullah spent two years in prison. His wife says she was not allowed to bring him any extra clothes to him, and he only received food three times a week. Only when Abdullah became debilitatingly sick and insisted on medical attention was he taken to the hospital. Sadly, it was too late, and Abdullah passed away in 2022.”

Abdullah was an Eritrean church leader – an unnamed Open Doors partner in the region shared his story with us.

What does Open Doors do to help?

Open Doors works through local church partners in Eritrea to provide economic empowerment projects, discipleship and persecution survival training.

Please pray

  • Pray for grace for prisoners and those forced into the military against their will.
  • Pray that God’s Holy Spirit will comfort and be a companion to imprisoned believers.
  • Pray that God will change the heart of President Afwerki and his government to allow Christians to follow Jesus freely.

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