Eritrea: Coronavirus

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 1st July 2020.

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Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Conservative, West Worcestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the (a) food security and (b) human rights situation in the Southern Red Sea Denkalya Region of Eritrea during the covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

We are concerned that the people of Eritrea are facing food insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 and the desert locust outbreak have impacted existing humanitarian need as a result of lasting effects of war and climate change. Humanitarian and development programmes in Eritrea are being adapted to address current food security challenges. UK Aid funds life-saving activity in Eritrea, including providing £4m to UNICEF in 2019-20 to help treat malnutrition in under-fives and provide access to safe hygiene and sanitation services.

We are also aware of reports that the Government of Eritrea is targeting the Red Sea Afar people in the Denkalya region during the COVID-19 pandemic. We raise our concerns about human rights in Eritrea with the Government at every opportunity, and we will continue to make clear that measures taken by them to tackle COVID-19 must be necessary, proportionate, time-bound, transparent and regularly reviewed. Eritrea remains a priority country for the FCO under our annual human rights reporting, and we will continue to monitor the situation there.

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