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UN Human Rights Council 35th session (6-23 June 2017)

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea

Statement by Ireland

14 June 2017

Ireland aligns itself with the statement of the EU and would like to add the following.

Mr. President,

Ireland would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for her report and presentation today.

We remain deeply troubled by the human rights situation in Eritrea. One year on from the publication of the Commission of Inquiry’s report, it is clear from the assessment of the Special Rapporteur that there has been minimal progress towards the institutional or legal reforms required to address the deep-rooted culture of impunity that continues to harm victims and protect perpetrators of gross human rights abuses in Eritrea.

We reiterate our call for the Government of Eritrea to take concrete steps to protect its citizens and ensure accountability for past and persistent crimes, including arbitrary detention, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, enforced disappearances, and religious persecution.

We acknowledge the challenges faced by Eritrea in promoting economic development and providing for its citizens, however, the practice of indefinite national service constitutes a severe denial of liberty, forcing many to flee and depriving those who remain of the ability to shape their future. Ireland once again calls upon the Government of Eritrea to end this practice.

Ireland is committed to working with EU and international partners to engage in political and economic dialogue with the Government of Eritrea. It is vital, however, that this is accompanied by concrete actions by the Government to improve the human rights situation for its citizens and by constructive engagement with international and regional human rights mechanisms.

We therefore urge the Government of Eritrea to uphold its commitment to effectively implement the accepted recommendations of the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, cooperate with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and other regional and international human rights mechanisms, and lift restrictions on civil society and independent media in the country.

Special Rapporteur,

Your report notes the important role of civil society in advocating for accountability for human rights violations. With this in mind, we would be interested to hear your views on how the international community can support civil society in Eritrea and promote dialogue between the government and civil society organisations, in order to build on the framework for progress provided by the accepted UPR recommendations.

Thank you.