Human Rights Council 32, Geneva: Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea, 21 June 2016
UK Statement during the Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea.
The United Kingdom thanks the Commission of Inquiry for its report.
We share the Commission’s concerns regarding human rights in Eritrea, in particular shortcomings in the rule of law and indefinite national service. In our bilateral engagement with the Government of Eritrea, we have made clear that we want to see tangible improvements, including amending Eritrea’s national service system, implementing its constitution and releasing those arbitrarily detained.
We welcome the Government of Eritrea’s renewed cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). In light of the Commission’s report, we believe that this cooperation should be intensified. The UK urges Eritrea to work with the OHCHR, and the UN system more broadly, on further human rights reforms.
We urge the Government to continue to strengthen its relationships with the international community to explore ways in which the international community can assist it to strengthen the capacity of the judiciary to investigate concerns, such as those mentioned in the Commission’s report.
We recognise that the mechanism of the Special Rapporteur is an important tool for the international community to strengthen its engagement with Eritrea. The UK calls on both the Special Rapporteur and the Government of Eritrea to consider ways that they might work together constructively to enhance the progress Eritrea has begun to make in its human rights observance.
Mr President, we welcome Eritrea’s constructive participation with the Universal Periodic Review and its partnership with UNDP to help implement the ninety-two recommendations of the UPR which it accepted. The best hope of addressing allegations of human rights violations, which the Government of Eritrea has acknowledged may have been committed, is to pursue this constructive approach.