Eritrea. In April, the government decided to ban female
genital mutilation. The penalty for breaking the ban will be
fines and imprisonment. According to
CountryAAH, more than 90 per cent of women in
Eritrea are estimated to have had parts of the genitals cut
away. In recent years, however, more and more parents have
voluntarily chosen to spare their daughters.
In a UN report in July, Eritrea was accused of delivering
weapons to the Islamic militia in Somalia, including Air
Defense. The government of Eritrea rejected the charges. The
country's relations with the outside world are generally
strained, not least because of reports of human rights
violations. Education Minister Osman Saleh was appointed
Foreign Minister in April with the task of strengthening
Eritrea's international reputation.
However, the Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak was kept in
prison without trial throughout the year. He was arrested in
2001 along with dozens of other journalists whose newspapers
published regime-critical texts.
Eritrea - Asmera
Asmera, Asmara, capital of Eritrea; 712,000 residents (2012). Asmera
is the country's largest city and an important transport hub with, among other
things, international airport. Trade and production of textiles, leather goods
and food dominate the economy. The city has a university (founded in 1967).
The central parts of the city exhibit several prominent public buildings,
including the Roman Catholic Cathedral (1922) and the Great Mosque (1937). The
Italian influence during the occupation years is reflected in many of the city's
art deco-style buildings. Asmera was listed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in
2017 for its distinctive modernist architecture.
Asmera was occupied by Italy in 1889–1941 and at the turn of the last century
became the principal place in the Italian colony of Eritrea. The city was
occupied by the Allied troops in 1941 and was under British administration until