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Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea
March 13, 2017

ID with the SR on Eritrea (Oral Update)

Statement by the United States of America
as delivered by Amanda Wall, Attorney Adviser, U. S. Department of State

Human Rights Council 34th session
Geneva, March 13, 2017

Thank you, Madame Special Rapporteur for your presentation.

Thank you, Special Rapporteur Keetharuth, for your presentation.  Last year the Commission of Inquiry you served on concluded there are reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Eritrea since 1991.  The human rights situation remains grave and Eritreans continue to flee their own country.  Under these circumstances it is vital that the Council continue its efforts to monitor and identify ways to improve the situation.

One of the most serious concerns is the indefinite period of forced participation in national service, well exceeding the country’s own 18-month limit.  This practice deprives young people of the opportunity to pursue their personal and professional dreams and robs the country of the energy, innovation, and economic contributions of people entering the workforce and building their lives.  Ending this practice remains one of the most important actions the Government of Eritrea could take to improve the lives of its citizens.  We continue to urge Eritrea to respect its constitution, hold national elections, develop an independent and transparent judiciary, improve detention conditions, and release individuals arbitrarily detained, including political prisoners, journalists, and members of religious groups.

We strongly encourage the Government of Eritrea to engage fully with the international community and UN, and we call on the Government to grant the Special Rapporteur access to the country.   We have previously noted the Government’s willingness to work on several Universal Periodic Review Recommendations and welcome its cooperation with the international community in this endeavor.

The United States stands firmly with the Eritrean people and supports their pursuit of the protection of all of their human rights.

Madame Special Rapporteur, we would like to ask what can the members of the international community do to help you fulfill your mandate?

Thank you.