[Human Rights] UPR/18th Session, Statement on Eritrea
We welcome H.E. … and his delegation and thank them for the presentation of their national report.
The human rights situation in Eritrea faces many challenges. A substantive dialogue with international human rights mechanisms, including the Human Rights Council and its Special Procedures, could provide important expertise and help Eritrea in tackling these challenges.
We commend the decision of the Government of Eritrea to invite a delegation of the OHCHR to visit the country, as a step in the right direction. At your examination in 2009 Eritrea accepted our recommendation to ratify the CAT, which unfortunately has not been implemented so far. We respectfully restate our recommendation to ratify the CAT and other recommendations Eritrea has committed to without undue delay.
We are deeply concerned about the lack of due process in judicial proceedings. According to the SR for Eritrea, several thousands have been arrested and detained without charge, often held in incommunicado detention without recourse to justice. Detention conditions are often inhumane. We recommend Eritrea to release or bring before a court all persons detained without a charge and to respect international standards in the treatment of detainees.
The indefinite conscription beyond a reasonable time of service affecting a large part of the adult population constitutes forced labor according to international standards. Without adequate remuneration the conscripted cannot provide for their families, thus further deepening poverty.
We recommend Eritrea to end the practice of indefinite national service and initiate demobilization for those who have completed the statutory 18 months of service.
No free press exists in Eritrea; this gravely curtails the freedom of expression of its citizens. We recommend Eritrea to permit the establishment of independent media outlets.
I thank you.