Eritrea: Politics and Government

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 10th January 2012.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Eritrea on (a) its human rights observance and (b) the UN sanctions policy; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The information requested is as follows:

Human rights

We regularly discuss the importance of human rights observance with the Government of Eritrea at both official and ministerial level. Most recently, I expressed concerns to the Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh in a meeting on 21 September last year. I raised a number of specific cases including the case of the ‘G11’group of opposition figures detained without charge since 2001. On 23 September, the 10th anniversary of the arrest of the G11, I issued a statement offering solidarity to all those Eritreans engaged in the struggle for human rights. The British ambassador in Asmara regularly raises human rights issues with the Eritrean Government. Human rights concerns are also regularly raised between the EU and the Eritrean Government.

UN Sanctions

UN Security Council Resolution 2023 on the extension of sanctions on Eritrea was adopted by majority vote by the UN Security Council on 5 December last year. We see the sanctions as appropriate, proportionate, and carefully targeted to prevent any negative humanitarian impact. The Prime Minister wrote to President Isaias on 20 September about the Eritrean refutation of the UN Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group's allegations that the Eritrean leadership had committed multiple violations of Security Council resolutions. I raised allegations about Eritrea's involvement in the Addis Ababa bomb plot with Mr Saleh on 21 September and have corresponded with Mr Saleh on UN sanctions policy. The issue has also been discussed at official level.

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