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'One Heart Betrayed' exposes human rights abuses in Eritrea

March 04, 2010

Amnesty International and the Arizona State University West campus Office of Student Engagement will present a three-day exhibit exploring human rights abuses in the African country of Eritrea, March 23-25.

“One Heart Betrayed” is a container car exhibit designed to shed light the plight of thousands of political prisoners, or “prisoners of conscience,” who are imprisoned in steel shipping containers for such transgressions as religious beliefs, political views, or for family connections that run counter to authoritarian rule in the country of 5 million that lies on the Western coast of the Red Sea.

The exhibit will take place from 3-7 p.m., daily, in an area immediately south of the Sands Classroom Building on the West campus. An opening reception is scheduled March 23 at 5:30 p.m. south of Sands.

In a 2009 report by Human Rights Watch, it was noted that extensive detention and torture of citizens by the Eritrean government had created a human rights crisis, prompting increasing numbers of Eritreans to flee the country.

The report further noted, “Torture, cruel and degrading treatment, and forced labor are routine for conscripts as well as detainees.  Detention conditions are appalling, with detainees typically held in overcrowded cells – sometimes underground – or in shipping containers that reach searing temperatures by day and are freezing at night.

“Those who try to flee risk severe punishments and the possibility of being shot while crossing the border. The government also punishes the families of those who escape or desert from national service with exorbitant fines or imprisonment. Despite these severe measures, thousands of Eritreans are trying to escape their country.”

Volunteers are needed to assist during the exhibit. To volunteer, visit For more information, call the Office of Student Engagement at the West campus at (623) 543-8200.

ASU's West campus is located at 4701 W.Thunderbird Avenue in Phoenix.