#Eritrea: ‘Eritrean authorities must end detention of innocent civilians’, say S&Ds

Eritrea

Following a discussion on the human-rights situation in Eritrea during the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg this week, S&D MEPs expressed their concerns about ongoing human-rights violations in the country.

Gianni Pittella (Italy), president of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, said:

“Africa is a political priority for the S&D Group. We are committed to the future of the continent and its people. So we are therefore deeply concerned about the critical situation for human rights in Eritrea. The country is becoming an immense jail. Parliamentarians, journalists (among them the Swedish citizen Dawit Isaak, who has not been heard from since 2005), political prisoners and prisoners of conscience must all be unconditionally released.

Repressive policies, torture and other degrading treatment – such as restricting food, water and medical care, and the system of indefinite national service – make Eritrea an impossible country to live in and consequently its citizens are condemned to migrate elsewhere, risking their lives en route.”

S&D MEP Norbert Neuser (Germany) said:

“The S&D Group believes that the European Development Fund (EDF) committee should have taken into consideration the recommendation from the European Parliament’s international development committee not to adopt the National Indicative Programme (NIP) for programming EU aid and should have engaged in further discussion. The Group considers that the adoption of the NIP for Eritrea, despite the opposition of the Parliament, demonstrates a democratic deficit and severely undermines the role of the Parliament in ensuring the effective implementation of the EU’s development objectives.

“We call on the European Commission to review its scrutiny arrangements with the European Parliament, to consider the issues carefully and to guarantee that the concerns and suggestions expressed by the European Parliament are communicated to the EDF committee.

“We are alarmed to note that 400,000 Eritreans – 9% of the total population – have fled and, according to UNHCR estimates, 5,000 Eritreans leave the country every month. Special attention should be given to unaccompanied minors in danger and in order to deal with their situation more appropriately, child protection measures are needed rather than immigration policies.”

S&D MEP Marita Ulvskog (Sweden) added:

“We are very concerned about Dawit Isaak, a Swedish citizen and the only European prisoner of conscience today. Unfortunately, Mr Isaak’s situation is not unique in Eritrea. His fate is shared by many journalists and political prisoners. It is totally unacceptable that journalists are unlawfully detained for doing their job.”

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Category: A Frontpage, Africa, EU, European Parliament, Human Rights, Politics, World