Briefing Paper

Open-ended Conscription in Eritrea’s National Military Service: Here is How to Improve the Policy

The school of thought – that conscription is a gross violation of liberty and freedom, and that it is detrimental to the development of a country and its citizens – has been increasingly accepted. Eritrea adopted the policy of forced national service to create a strong defence force against existential threats, foster national unity, and preserve and transmit national core values. However, the open ended nature of conscription and the mistreatment of conscripts has a negative impact on Eritrean economy and national unity, forcing thousands to flee the country. Eritrea has been dubbed a pariah state due to its conscription policy, and abandoning the open-ended and forced nature of the practice could rehabilitate Eritrea in the international community.