Announcement

Foreign Office concern at being denied Consular access to detainees in Eritrea

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Foreign Office continues to call on the Eritrean government to adhere to its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said:

“For over five months the Eritrean government has denied consular access to four Britons detained in Eritrea since 23 December, which is in breach of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The Eritrean government has rejected our attempts to engage in dialogue on the matter, including those by the Foreign Secretary, the Secretary of State for International Development and Africa Minister Henry Bellingham. Our consular role is solely one of welfare and we make no judgement on the alleged offences for which the four men may have been detained. We are deeply concerned by the situation and have been left with no alternative than to take a more direct approach:

“On 4 May, the Eritrean ambassador was informed that, with immediate effect, Eritrean diplomats and visiting officials would be required to obtain the FCO’s written permission before travelling beyond London, the limits being defined by the M25 motorway.

“On 20 May, the ambassador was informed that aspects of the collection of a tax levied by the Eritrean government on Eritreans living in the UK may be unlawful and in breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The ambassador was told that, until it was demonstrated otherwise, the embassy should suspend, immediately and in full, all activities relating to the collection of the tax.

“We continue to call on the Eritrean government to adhere to its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by allowing consular access to the four detainees.”