Daniel Mekonnen is an Eritrean human rights activist and legal scholar.
An avid proponent of “cause lawyering,” he has been actively involved for the last 20 years in exposing gross human rights violations committed by the Eritrean Government. As a consequence, he currently lives in exile. He has lectured in different European universities, and spent time as a Guest Writer at the “Writers in Exile Programme” of the Swiss-German PEN Centre.
Mekonnen received his legal education from the University of Asmara, Eritrea, and has served as a Senior Legal Advisor to the International Law and Policy Institute. His most recent book is entitled The African Garrison State, and made the American Library Association’s list of Outstanding Academic Titles in 2015.
While in Eritrea, Mekonnen worked as Judge of the Central Zone Provincial Court in Asmara. He also served as Chairperson of the Coordinating Committee that organized the largest ever mass rally of pro-democracy Eritreans, condemning human rights violations in Eritrea. Because of his work for human rights, he has received several death threats.
Mekonnen is a founding member and Executive Director of the Eritrean Law Society, the only professional association of Eritrean lawyers currently working from exile.