Civic Voices on the State of Eritrea

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HBS Nairobi

2018 saw a sudden amelioration of the relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Soon after his ascent to power in April 2018, Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed at last accepted the determination made by the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission issued in April 2002 without reservations. The two governments re-established bilateral relations and ultimately reached an agreement to overcome nearly 20 years of hostility, a situation of no-war-no peace which had set in after the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea had ended in 2000.

Against this background, hbs Nairobi supported the convening of a diverse group of 16 Eritrean professionals and intellectuals in December 2018 to discuss the implications of these developments for peace and development in the region and specifically for Eritrea from a civil society perspective. Is this yet again just the peace between two leaders? What are the pitfalls of a “rushed peace” devoid of specifics and public participation? And what are the prospects for change in Eritrea?

Over the 6 months which followed the workshop, participants engaged in intense consultations and decided to publish their critical reflections in the paper The State of the Nation” just a day ahead of Eritrea’s Independence Day on 24 May 2019.