Same-gender sexual activities between both men and women are illegal in Eritrea with a penalty of 10 days to 3 years of imprisonment. Same-gender couples have no legal recognition and cannot adopt children. There is no law to protect LGBTQIA+ individuals against any kind of discrimination or violence based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. LGBTQIA+ individuals are regularly prosecuted, detained, and found guilty by the government. The government of Eritrea asserted has numerous times that homosexuality is contrary to traditional values and norms within the country. There have also been reports that some prisoners are illegally executed. Laws do not allow citizens to change their legal gender or name. The Eritrean judicial system is opaque and often arbitrary in dealing with accusations of homosexual activities. The Government of Eritrea has rejected an appeal by the United Nations Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review process to legalize same-gender sexual activities. They have repeatedly charged Western countries with promoting homosexuality within the country in order to destabilize the regime.
Very little information is readily available on the situation of LGBTQIA+ people in Eritrea. This can be linked to the societal stigma attached to LGBTQIA+ issues. Strong societal taboos and severe societal discrimination exist against the communities in Eritrea. There is limited public awareness of the existence of sexual and gender minorities. The abuse, torture, and beating of prisoners is common. Society discrimination is exacerbated by the illegality of homosexuality and transidentity, leading to increased incidence of abuse and harassment of LGBTQIA+ people. They are regularly face up to stigmatization among the broader population. Homosexuality and transidentities are not openly discussed in Eritrea and to a large extent the existence of sexual and gender minorities is unknown.
Due to the illegality and stigma attached to homosexuality and transidentities, there are no known NGOs offering assistance or protection for LGBTQIA+ communities in Eritrea. No related groups or organizations are known to exist within the country.
Thousands of Eritreans are forced to flee Eritrea every year, many joining mixed migration flows and seeking asylum in East Africa Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia and beyond such as European countries. LGBTQIA+ individuals who flee their country have enough reason to claim international protection and most of them are hiding their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.