|Conservative Party Human Rights Commission holds hearing on Eritrea
The Conservative Party Human
Rights Commission held a hearing in Parliament on the human
rights situation in Eritrea on July 12.
The Commission heard evidence from four speakers, and invited
contributions from the floor. Eritrea, according to Noel Joseph,
Director of Eritreans for Human and Democratic Rights, is ruled
by “one of the most brutal regimes in the world”. Thousands are
reportedly in prison for their political or religious beliefs,
some in shipping containers and small cells. Torture is routine
and widespread and many prisoners are held in solitary
confinement. There is no press freedom in the country and
religious freedom for Christians and Muslims is heavily
Evidence was also presented of the intimidation of Eritrean
dissidents in the UK by agents of the Eritrean regime. Video
footage was shown of a meeting in London of Eritrean exiles
being violently disrupted by representatives of the regime. The
number of Eritrean asylum seekers in the UK has risen from 20 in
1993 to 1,105 in 2004, as more people flee the country. “Our
basic rights have been trampled on,” said Selam Kidane,
Co-ordinator of Release Eritrea.
The speakers urged the Commission to work with other
Parliamentarians of all parties to urge the British Government
to increase pressure on Eritrea to respect human rights. The
European Union should increase efforts to facilitate the border
demarcation process and urge the Eritrean Government to
immediately ratify the Constitution.
The Commission will continue its investigation of human rights
violations in Eritrea. We welcome continued submissions from
Eritrean groups and will invite the Eritrean Ambassador to
respond to the allegations later in the year.