Safety and security
The security situation in Eritrea has the potential to deteriorate with little warning and there are ongoing tensions with the neighbouring countries of Sudan, Djibouti and Ethiopia due to unresolved border conflicts.
In January 2013, there were reports of military movement in the capital city, Asmara and state TV was off the air for several hours. We advise you to exercise caution and monitor available local and international media for information, as well as to check this website for further updates.
The UN Human Rights Council, during its inquiry into human rights in Eritrea, claimed in June 2014 that the Government has engaged in widespread human rights abuses and that about six percent of the population had fled the country. Eritrea rejected the claims as unfounded and refused to cooperate with the inquiry.
We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to Eritrea, particularly to its border areas where the risk to safety is extremely high.
Avoid all travel within 50km of the Ethiopian and Sudanese borders with the exception of the main road between Adigrat and Axum.
The Ethiopian military attacked targets across the Eritrean border in 2012 and reports suggest that a number of people were killed in the attacks. There is a risk that foreign nationals could be caught up in further violence in the Ethiopia-Eritrea border area. Military presence is high in the area, and the border is completely closed to both international and local travellers.
There are extensive unmarked minefields in Eritrea, particularly near the border with Ethiopia. The risk from unexploded landmines and ordnance throughout the country is high.
Don’t stray off main routes, particularly in rural areas, and always check with your local contact before travelling to affected regions.
Street crime is rare but does occur in cities and towns, including Asmara so you should take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
Banditry is known to take place in border areas, and on some rural roads. Driving on main roads outside of border areas is generally safe but driving on non-metalled roads, off-road driving, walking and hiking in rural areas can be dangerous and we advise against doing so near border areas.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Eritrea, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Dar es Salaam if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Eritrea, you should be extremely careful. Watch out for heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, as well as livestock on roads near urban centres, which can pose hazards. Travelling after dark in rural areas is dangerous, due to lack of road signs, barriers and lighting and many parts of the country are impassable during the rainy season.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Mon, 09 May 2016 12:22:12 BST