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Eritrea govt's latest seizures - schools run by religious bodies

Eritrea govt's latest seizures - schools run by religious bodies

Eritrea

<p>In June, Eritrean authorities seized health facilities that were previously run by the Catholic Church. The church slammed the move which it said impacted the less privileged most.</p> <p>Reports indicate that a latest round of seizures have taken place, this time education institutions are at the center of the seizures. A <span class="caps">BBC</span> report said seven secondary schools run by religious organisations had been captured by government.</p> <p>An order to hand over the running of the schools was given to the Catholic Church and other Christian and Muslim groups on Tuesday morning, the report said.</p> <p>As in the case of the health post seizures, sources disclosed to the <span class="caps">BBC</span> that security agents had been deployed to the respective schools to enforce the government order. </p> <p>In the case of the health facilities, the church’s ‘fightback’ letter read in part: “The government can say it doesn’t want the services of the church but asking for the property is not right.”</p> <p>Asmara defended the June closures citing a regulation passed in 1995. Under the regulation, government limited the activities of religious institutions in the Horn of Africa nation.</p> <p>“Regulation 73/1995, enacted in 1995 after proper consultation between the government and the respective faiths, is a case in point. The regulation emphasizes the separation of powers and limits developmental activities of religious institutions to funding and monitoring in specific sectors identified by the Government (Article 6). </p> <p>“Religious institutions are not allowed to actually conduct developmental activities in areas of their choice as this is fraught with discrimination against non-adherents of the specific institution in question. </p> <p>“Religious institutions are not also, allowed, to solicit funds from external donors for the same considerations of equity and eschewing externally-induced imbalances. </p> <p>“In this spirit, the funds that religious institutions allocate to developmental services must be raised from their local constituencies (Article 7),” <a href="http://www.shabait.com/categoryblog/28811-permanent-mission-of-the-state-of-eritrea-to-the-united-nations-geneva">the official government justification of June 27, 2019</a> read in part.</p> <p>The government has also refused to react to claims that the seizures bordered on witch hunt of a vocal church group which has routinely criticised President Isaias Afwerki’s rule.</p>
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