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Volume 447: debated on Thursday 8 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions the British Embassy in Eritrea has had with the Eritrean Government about the imprisonment of Eritrean citizens for belonging to Christian churches not recognised by the Government. (75943)

We remain concerned by reports of state interference in religious affairs and lack of freedom of worship in Eritrea. We monitor closely action taken by the authorities against members of minority religious groups not recognised by the Government of Eritrea.

Officials from our Embassy in Asmara continue to raise these issues with the Eritrean Government. As local EU presidency, the UK also conveys the EU's concerns, including through the EU-Eritrea Political Dialogue on Constitutional and Human Rights. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, wrote to President Isaias on 6 October expressing our concern and has raised this with the Eritrean Ambassador.