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U.S. Statement at the UPR of Eritrea
June 20, 2014

Adoption of the UPR WG Report for Eritrea
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

UN Human Rights Council – 26th Session

June 20, 2014

The United States welcomes the return of the Eritrean delegation and appreciates the opportunity to comment on the final Working Group report.

We note that several of the working group’s recommendations encourage Eritrea to implement its constitutional provisions that support human rights.

We encourage Eritrea to take steps to improve its respect for the rights to the freedoms of expression, assembly, association, and religion.

We are concerned by Eritrea’s statement that national elections remain pending until threats to national security and sovereignty have been eliminated.

The government should allow Eritrean citizens to exercise their right to vote in genuine and periodic elections.

We support the recommendations made by many delegations regarding improving prison conditions.

We also encourage the government to facilitate the release of political prisoners and account for those prisoners who have disappeared, including members of the G-15 and journalists who have been detained since 2001, as well as those detained in the aftermath of the January 2013 takeover of the Ministry of Information building.

The conscription of persons into national service for indefinite periods, forcing them to work on reconstruction and other national projects, continues to be of concern.

Eritrea must take steps to demobilize those who have completed their mandatory 18 months of service.

Finally, we agree with recommendations that Eritrea would benefit from improving its cooperation with the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.

As such, we encourage the Government to respond positively to the special rapporteurs’ requests to visit the country.

Thank you.