Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea
28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
March 16, 2015, Geneva
Thank you, Mr. President. The United States thanks the Commission of Inquiry for its update and expresses our support for the commission’s continuing work. We continue to urge the Government of the State of Eritrea to take comprehensive steps to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The United States remains deeply concerned by human rights violations in Eritrea. These concerns include forced participation in the national service program beyond the 18-month requirement and in the civilian militia. We are concerned about the severe restrictions on enjoyment of freedom of religion or belief, workers’ freedom of association, and other rights. The arbitrary detention of journalists, members of the G-15, and others is also deeply troubling. There have been no national elections since 1993.
The Council must continue to focus on improving Eritreans’ ability to enjoy the rights reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We encourage the Eritrean government to cooperate with the international community, including the Commission of Inquiry. This includes allowing Commission of Inquiry members to visit the country. We also encourage other countries to respond positively to visit requests from the Commission of Inquiry.
The people of Eritrea deserve a government that respects and protects the rule of law. They should be able to choose their government through free and fair elections. The United States stands firmly with the Eritrean people in pursuit of this goal.
Comissioners, what cooperation from the international community would be most helpful to the Commission of Inquiry in preparing its report?