Statement by the United States on the Human Rights Situation in Eritrea

Statement by the United States on the Human Rights Situation in Eritrea

Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Eritrea Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker

Statement of the United States of America

As delivered by Daniel Kronenfeld

United Nations Human Rights Council 46th Session

Geneva, February 24, 2021

Thank you for the opportunity to speak here today. The United States remains deeply concerned by Eritrean troops in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, and by credible reports that they are committing grave human rights abuses and forcibly returning Eritrean refugees to Eritrea. We urge Eritrea to withdraw its troops immediately from Ethiopia’s Tigray region, and to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses.

While we welcome the release of imprisoned members of religious groups, we are troubled that the government has prevented many religious groups from legally registering, and their members are penalized for exercising their faith.

We remain concerned by reports of indefinite and arbitrary detention, particularly of individuals arrested for exercising freedoms of expression, religion or belief, or the right to peaceful assembly.

We urge the government to reinstate the 18-month national service limit and provide alternatives for conscientious objectors.

Our question is the following: Does the Eritrean military have sufficient control over its troops to prevent them from committing human rights abuses?