Eritrea – COI

Click here to see the host countries of refugees originating from Eritrea.

For recent country of origin information for Eritrea, see: ‘ Still Human Still Here : Commentary on Eritrea’ and a new report to the UN Human Rights Council on human rights abuses within Eritrea.

Dr Samuel A Bekalo

Email: or

Dr Samuel A Bekalo has conducted research and published widely on Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan. He has lived and worked in the region and regularly visits the area since the 1960s. He has written over 100 expert and documentation authentication reports on these countries. His scholarly reports are based on first-hand experience and benefit from his knowledge of Amharic, Oromo, Arabic, Tigrinya, and Kiswahili. In recent years, Dr Bekalo has worked as a Research Fellow at the International School of Education of the University of Leeds (UK), where he was involved in the capacity building project North-South Higher Education Institutions Link programme for Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan.

Mr Ben Rawlence


Mr Rawlence is a Country of Origin expert on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritea, and Somalia. He has written numerous articles on issues occuring in the region and also written two  BOOKS  including  City of Thorns: Fear and Longing in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp  (forthcoming, 2015) and  Radio Congo: Signals of Hope from Africa’s Deadliest War.  Mr Rawlence can speak Swahili.  He worked as a researcher on Eritrea for Human Rights Watch from 2008-2012. Although he never granted access to the country, he has interviewed hundreds of refugees in exile about their experiences, especially, the state system of mandatory military service and the network of prisons.

Dr Harry Verhoeven


Harry Verhoeven is the Convenor of the Oxford University China-Africa Network, an Associate Member of the Department of Politics & International Relations at the University of Oxford and a Senior Adviser to the European Institute of Peace. Prof Verhoeven completed a doctorate at the University of Oxford, where he subsequently was a postdoctoral fellow and a Junior Research Fellow. He is the author and editor of five books and deeply invested in the human rights of individuals and communities in the countries where he works.

Prof. Dr. Magnus Treiber

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, LMU Munich

Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ethiopian and Eritrean Migrants in Sudan. Dr Treiber is an anthropologist and teaches at Munich University, Germany. He has a regional focus on the Horn of Africa and can provide country of origin information for Eritrea, Ethiopia and Eritrean and Ethiopian migrants in the Sudan.

Professor Gaim Kibreab


Professor Gaim Kibreab, Research Professor and Course Director of the MSc Refugee Studies, London South Bank University, School of Law and Social Sciences in the Department of Social Science. He earned a PhD degree from Uppsala University, Sweden, Faculty of Social Sciences/Institute of Economic History. He has published widely on forced migration (refugees, development-induced displacement, internally displaced persons, and environmentally-induced population displacement), development and governance in post-conflict societies, and he has been conducting research in Eritrea since the 1980s. He is currently working on causes of forced migration in post-independence Eritrea.

Dr Daniel Rezene Mekonnen


Dr. Daniel R. Mekonnen is an Eritrean human rights lawyer, and a former Judge of the Central Provincial Court in Asmara (Eritrea). He has written numerous expert reports to immigration tribunals, lawyers and NGOs in Africa, Europe, Middle East and North America. Having lived and worked in 9 different countries (South Africa, Belgium, Holland, Ireland, Germany, UK, Norway, Hungary and Switzerland), he has assumed several academic and professional appointments, including that of a Senior Legal Advisor and Research Professor at the Oslo-based International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI), a Visiting Fellow at the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law, a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, and a Research Fellow at the School of Law in Queen’s University Belfast. His book (co-authored with Kjetil Tronvoll, 2014), The African Garrison State: Human Rights and Political Development in Eritrea, was included in the “Outstanding Academic Titles” list of January 2015, published by the CHOICE magazine of the American Library Association (ALA). His opinions/speeches/interviews have been widely featured in the following international forums and global media outlets: the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Geneva Summit on Human Rights and Democracy, Al-Jazeera TV, BBC, Boston’s NPR News, Die Wochenzeitung, Deutsche Welle, International Business Times, IRIN News, Klassekampen, Neue Luzerner Zeitung, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, New Europe, Radio Erena, Radio France International, Radio RaBe (Bern), Russia Today, SBS Radio Australia, Swiss Radio and Television, The Guardian, Tages-Anzeiger, Tribune de Genève, TRT TV, Zofinger Tagblatt, Voice of America. Further information is available from his personal website:

The America Team for Displaced Eritreans
President: John Stauffer
Tel: +1 61 08 91 84 70

The America Team for Displaced Eritreans provide links to COI information pertaining to Eritrean refugees. Initiatives include assisting with scholarships for Eritrean refugees seeking higher education in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and providing personal support to refugees in the USA who have come from Shimelba Refugee Camp, Ethiopia. They are not currently able to answer requests for general information but may be able to provide expert testimony in specific cases on request.

International Crisis Group, Eritrea: The Siege State, Africa Report N°163, 21 September 2010 – An excellent country report from a renowned organisation which may be a potential source of up-to-date COI for asylum applications.

Dr Tricia Redeker Hepner

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Director, MA Program in Social Justice and Human Rights

Arizona State University, Glendale, AZ, USA

Dr Redeker Hepner has studied the socio-political dynamics of Eritrea and its diasporas for more than twenty years, and formerly served as Eritrea Country Specialist for Amnesty International USA. Dr Hepner has provided expert testimony in hundreds of Eritrean asylum cases and has acted as a consultant for attorneys and legal aid providers in the US, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. Her active research agenda focuses on Eritrean refugees, transnational governance and repression, and rights-based organizing in the US, Europe, and Ethiopia. Two of her books include Soldiers, Martyrs, Traitors and Exiles: Political Conflict in Eritrea and the Diaspora (University of Pennsylvania Press) and Biopolitics, Militarism and Development: Eritrea in the Twenty-first Century, co-edited with David O’Kane (Berghahn Books).  Dr. Hepner earned her MA and PhD in Anthropology from Michigan State University and a Certificate in Refugee Studies from York University, Toronto. She is currently on the faculty of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University’s New College for Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

PLEASE NOTE:   Due to the demands of university work and existing obligations, Dr. Hepner can only provide occasional statements on specific cases with longer timelines. If she does not respond to your request within 2 days please locate another expert.