The African Garrison State

July 2014
1 line illustrations
223 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Eastern Africa Series
Library eBook
James Currey
BISAC POL035010, POL035010, HIS001000

The African Garrison State

Human Rights & Political Development in Eritrea

Kjetil Tronvoll, Daniel R. Mekonnen

eBook for Handhelds
Examines Eritrea's deprivation of human rights since independence and its transformation into a militarised "garrison state".

When Eritrea gained independence in 1991, hopes were high for its transformation. In two decades, however, it became one of the most repressive in the world, effectively a militarised "garrison state". This comprehensive and detailed analysis examines how the prospects for democracy in the new state turned to ashes, reviewing its development, and in particular the loss of human rights and the state's political organisation. Beginning with judicial development in independent Eritrea, subsequent chapters scrutinise the rule of law and the court system; the hobbled process of democratisation, and the curtailment of civil society; the Eritrean prison system and everyday life of detention and disappearances; and the situation of minorities in the country, first in general terms and then through exploration of a case study of the Kunama ethnic group. While the situation is bleak, it is not without hope, however: the conclusion focuses on opposition to the current regime, and offers scenarios of regime change and how the coming of a second republic may yet reconfigure Eritrea politically.

Kjetil Tronvoll is Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Bjoerknes College, founding and senior partner of the International Law and Policy Institute, Oslo, and a former Professor of Human Rights at the University of Oslo; Daniel R. Mekonnen is Senior Legal Advisor, International Law and Policy Institute, Oslo, and former Judge of the Zoba Maekel Provincial Court in Eritrea.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Eritrean African Garrison State
Judicial development in independent Eritrea: Legal pluralism and political containment
Rule of law(lessness) in Eritrea: The special court and the judiciary
Democratic curtailment in Eritrea: 'Never democracy, always control!'
Obliterating civil society in Eritrea: Denying freedom of organisation and expression
The Eritrean Gulag archipelago: Prison conditions, torture and extrajudicial killings
Everyday life of detention and disappearances in Eritrea: Vulnerable groups in a population under siege
Minority marginalisation in Eritrea: EPLF's politics of cultural superiority
Diversity diminished in Eritrea: Targeting the Kunama minority group
The militarisation of Eritrean society: Omnipresent and neverending military service
Eritrea? Towards a transition?


2015 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

The book will be well received by a wider readership, particularly among students of African regimes. . . . It will certainly stimulate and inform an ongoing debate on the national identity and constitutional future of Eritrea. AFRICAN STUDIES QUARTERLY

This fantastically dense, thorough, rich, comprehensive tome breaks down Eritrean contemporary statehood and civil society in a way that should be copied as a model for modern political/national security case studies. Highly recommended. CHOICE

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