EU slaps sanctions on Eritrea over human rights abuses

EU slaps sanctions on Eritrea over human rights abuses

(eritreahub) – The European Union on Monday imposed sanctions on Eritrea over human rights violations and blacklisted the country’s National Security Office which is tasked with intelligence gathering, arrests and interrogations.

At the beginning of March, the United Nations said Eritrean troops were operating throughout Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region and reports suggested they were responsible for atrocities.

“The National Security Office is responsible for serious human rights violations in Eritrea, in particular arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances of persons and torture,” the EU said after foreign ministers of the 27-nation bloc agreed the measures.

The sanctions mean an asset freeze in the EU. Additionally, individuals and entities in the EU are prohibited from making funds available, either directly or indirectly, to those listed.

Ethiopia and Eritrea have denied the involvement of Eritrean troops in the fighting alongside Ethiopian forces, although dozens of witnesses, diplomats and an Ethiopian general have reported their presence.

Thousands of people have died amid the fighting, hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes and there are shortages of food, water and medicine in Tigray, a region of more than 5 million people.

The EU is considering imposing further sanctions on Eritrea.

EU to Propose Targeted Eritrea Sanctions Over Ethiopia Conflict

(Bloomberg) — The European Union plans to impose targeted sanctions on several individuals in Eritrea for their alleged role in human-rights abuses and atrocities in northern Ethiopia, according to four people familiar with the matter.

The proposal will be made by the European Commission to member states in Brussels on Monday, the people said, declining to be identified because the information isn’t public. EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell told reporters before the meeting that the bloc plans to discuss “the framework for sanctions against human-rights violations” in Ethiopia and Myanmar, and more details will be released later.

Both the EU and the U.S. have called on Eritrean troops to leave Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region after reports of looting, sexual violence, assaults in refugee camps and other human rights abuses. The U.S. has urged Europe to increase pressure on Ethiopia and Eritrea to de-escalate the conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is currently in Brussels for talks with Borrell and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the people said.

Any proposal to impose sanctions on Eritreans would be “ridiculous,” Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel said by phone. “I can’t see what the rational is even in terms of legality and morality.”