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Eritrea

Volume 712: debated on Tuesday 14 July 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made or will make representations to the Government of Eritrea about (a) the non-implementation of the constitution approved in 1997, (b) the lack of elections and sittings of the interim parliament since 2002, (c) the imprisonment of returned refugees, (d) the level of freedom of the press and media, and (e) the level of freedom of religion and the expulsion of 14 Roman Catholic missionaries; and what position they will take in considering Eritrea's periodic review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in December. [HL4822]

Our ambassador in Asmara has raised the imprisonment of returned refugees with the Eritrean Government and was told that they would be treated in accordance with Eritrean law in the same way as other citizens.

As part of the Article 8 Political Dialogue, our ambassador, along with other EU Heads of Mission, raised both the freedom of the press and freedom of religion at their meeting with the Eritrean Government earlier this year. Both these subjects are scheduled to be on the agenda for the next Article 8 meeting in September. In view of the Eritrean Government's request to discuss human rights at the next Article 8 Political Dialogue meeting in September, we will consider Eritrea's periodic review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in light of these and any subsequent discussions.

We have not made and currently have no plans to make representations to the Eritrean Government about: (a) the non-implementation of the Eritrean constitution approved in 1997; and (b) the lack of elections and sittings of the interim parliament since 2002 because we judge that such representations would be unlikely to be productive at this time.