Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
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Human Rights Council - 26th Regular Session

Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Eritrea

Australian Statement
18 June 2014


Australia thanks the Special Rapporteur for her report and is disappointed to see that she still has not been permitted to visit Eritrea given that Eritrea has accepted recommendations on cooperating with the UN special procedures and undertook to consider visits on a case-by-case basis.

Australia again encourages Eritrea to implement fully the 1997 Constitution and the rights that it enshrines, including allowing independent political parties and non-government organisations to function freely.

Australia commends Eritrea’s efforts to eradicate the harmful practice of female genital mutilation.

Australia remains deeply concerned by the widespread and systematic human rights violations raised in the SR’s report including extrajudicial killings; torture; infringement of freedom of movement, expression and opinion; sexual and gender-based violence; violations of children’s rights; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions and incommunicado detention. We are concerned by compulsory military service in Eritrea and the reported use of conscripts for forced labour in various sectors of the economy; and by reports of reprisals against family members of people who evade military service.

Australia condemns any efforts by Eritrea to impose a tax on the Eritrean diaspora, particularly measures to collect such a tax by way of extortion, threats of violence, fraud and other illicit means. We would be interested to hear whether the Special Rapporteur has become aware of any allegations of human rights violations in relation to this tax.

Australia encourages Eritrea to improve its engagement with the SR in order to arrive at long-lasting human rights solutions that comply with international standards.