GENEVA (11 March 2015)
– The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea will visit Sweden and Germany (17–21 March) to hear first-hand testimonies from Eritrean refugees and migrants there.
The Commission has already visited five other countries in Europe and Africa to speak to more than 400 Eritrean refugees and exiles about the human rights situation in their homeland. As both Sweden and Germany have sizeable Eritrean communities, this trip will enable the Commission to collect additional testimony to corroborate information already gathered. The three Commissioners will start their visit in Sweden before moving on to Germany.
“We have repeatedly sought official permission to visit Eritrea as part of our investigation. However, four months into our mandate, we are still awaiting a response,” said the Commission’s Chairperson, Mike Smith. “We remain available to travel to Eritrea at any time, should the Government extend an invitation. In the interim, we will continue to gather information from the Eritrean diaspora.”
The Commission invites all interested parties in Sweden and Germany to cooperate with its investigation. Any Eritreans based there who would like to speak to a Commission representative should contact the Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Smith reiterated that the inquiry is being carried out impartially and without preconceptions. “We are keen to hear from anyone who has any information about the human rights situation in Eritrea,” he said. “Anyone wishing to come forward to testify will be able to do so confidentially.”
The Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea was established by UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/26/24
in June 2014. It is examining a broad range of alleged violations since Eritrea gained independence. These include extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, and restrictions to the freedoms of expression and opinion, movement, assembly and religion.
The Commission will present a written report of its findings to the Human Rights Council in June 2015. It will provide oral updates on its work to the Council on 16 March 2015 and to the General Assembly during its September session.
For more information, please consult the Commission’s website: http://www.ohchr.org/COIEritrea For media requests, please contact the Secretariat of the Commission of Inquiry by email: email@example.com