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27 October 2016, New York – European Union Intervention at the 71st United Nations General Assembly Third Committee Interactive Dialogue on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea

Thank you Madam Chair.

Madam Special Rapporteur,

We welcome your oral update and want to reiterate our appreciation for your work and the work of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI). Your mandate enjoys our full support. We reiterate our calls for the Government of Eritrea to cooperate fully with you and facilitate access for you to Eritrea.

The EU remains very concerned about the human rights situation in Eritrea and takes note of the latest report by the CoI, which noted that there are reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Eritrea.

We take due note of some recent positive human rights developments. For example, we commend Eritrea for moving away from the death penalty, and encourage it to maintain a moratorium on executions. In this vein, we commend the 2014 support by Eritrea for the General Assembly resolution for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

Furthermore, we welcome the fact that a delegation of the OHCHR undertook another working-level visit to Eritrea. We note that the delegation was able to visit community courts, the Sembel prison and a rehabilitation center. We hope this is a step towards full cooperation with the international community on human rights issues and we also hope that Eritrea will cooperate more fully with all UN bodies. We also note the Commission’s recommendation that Member States should increase attention and, if feasible, resources to improve the situation of human rights in Eritrea by strengthening engagement with the Government of Eritrea. Building on your recommendations and your findings, we agree that substantial improvements in the human rights situation and a provision of accountability for crimes and human rights violations are needed and require substantial legal and institutional reforms. We also agree that Eritrea needs to take forward substantial human rights reforms that will provide a constitutional framework, improve rule of law, grant access to detention centres, end indefinite national service and address any concerns around forced labor.

We strongly believe that the process of working on concrete solutions that will benefit the people of Eritrea must be strengthened and continued.

Allow me to pose two questions to you:

  • First, Eritrea accepted a number of UPR recommendations during its last review. In your view, which recommendations are key to improve the human rights situation? How is implementation progressing?
  • Second, the Rome Statute recognizes that the exercise of national jurisdiction represents not only a right but also a duty of States. What concrete steps need to be taken to hold perpetrators accountable in a fair and transparent manner in Eritrea? What institutional mechanism would you recommend?

Thank you.

  • Ref: EUUN16-167EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum: Third Committee - Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee
  • Date: 27/10/2016

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