On 6 March 2023, the United Kingdom made a statement regarding Eritrea at the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Thank You, Mr Vice-President, and thank you to the panellists for their presentations.
The UK continues to be deeply concerned about the dire state of human rights in Eritrea, which shows no signs of improving. We recall that Eritrea’s policy of indefinite national service violates the human rights of its people, affecting the lives of thousands and as the Deputy High Commissioner has said is the primary reason so many of Eritrea’s young people seek to leave the country. We also call yet again for all those in Eritrea who have been arbitrarily detained and held incommunicado, including thousands detained solely based on their religion or belief, to be released at once.
Mr Vice-President, we must also mention the conflict in Ethiopia, and the grave conclusions by the Joint Investigation of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, that Eritrean troops had likely committed human rights abuses and violations, as well as violations of international humanitarian law and international refugee law while in Ethiopia, including against Eritrean refugees living in camps just across the border.
We call on the Eritrean Government to cooperate with any inquiry into these serious allegations, including any accountability or transitional justice processes arising from the Pretoria Peace Agreement.
Mr Vice President, we would like to ask the Panel what, if any, further steps this Council could be taking to encourage Eritrea to abide by its human rights obligations, including to cooperate fully with this Council, and with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for Eritrea.