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To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea's second report, published on 8 June 2016, that conscripts in Eritrea are at risk of sexual and gender-based violence.
We are aware of claims by women who have left Eritrea that they were sexually abused at the National Service Military Training Centre in Sawa, and these concerns were raised during the Universal Periodic Review of Eritrea in January 2019. The UK is committed to tackling the scourge of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment and continues to call for reform of Eritrea's use of a system of universal and compulsory national service.
The Government of Eritrea has justified this service on grounds of the security threat posed by Ethiopia. Following the July 2018 peace agreement with Ethiopia we have yet to see any concrete proposals for reform. In July 2019, the Eritrean Government said that it would undertake a review of national service, but they gave no deadline for the review's completion.
At the 41st session of the Human Rights Council in July 2019, the UK renewed calls for Eritrea to reform the national service system, recognising that sustainable reform of national service needs to happen in tandem with an improved economic situation and job creation. We also raise human rights in Eritrea, both directly with the Government, as the former Minister for Africa did with the Eritrean President's senior adviser when she saw him in July 2019, and when the Head of East Africa Department, with our Ambassador in Asmara, saw the same advisor in November 2019.