To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to the letter of 20 June from Lord Alton of Liverpool to Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon and to the Minister of State for Africa about the enforced closure of Church-run health facilities in Eritrea; what assessment they have made of the effect of such closures on the health and well-being of the people of Eritrea; whether they have made representations to the government of Eritrea about those closures; and if so, what response they have received.
We can confirm that the letter of 20 June has been received and will be answered within 20 days in accordance with Cabinet Office Guidance.
Whilst the Eritrean Government has a good track record on the provision of basic healthcare, we do not believe that using the military to force closure, or take charge of health centres managed by the Catholic Church is proportionate. We have raised our concerns with the Eritrean Government, about the approach they are taking, and will continue to seek opportunities to engage on this issue and monitor the situation. As Eritrea is a priority country under the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Annual Human Rights Reporting, we raise concerns about human rights in Eritrea regularly, both direct with the Government, – as the Minister of State for Africa did with the Eritrean Foreign Minister when she last saw him in September 2018 – and in international fora.