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Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea set to begin hearing testimonies in the United Kingdom

Human Rights Council

16 January 2015

GENEVA (16 January 2014) – The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea will visit the United Kingdom from 24 to 31 January to hold meetings and collect testimonies and accounts on the human rights situation in Eritrea.

The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea continues to seek the cooperation of the Government of Eritrea but it has so far received no response to its request to visit the country. “While we are still waiting for  direct access to Eritrea, we are proceeding - as per international standards of commissions of inquiry - to investigate alleged human rights violations by collecting information  from relevant sources outside the country,” the Chairperson of the three-member United Nations panel, Mike Smith, said. “We hope that the decision of victims and witnesses of alleged human rights violations to testify will contribute to increase international knowledge of the human rights situation in Eritrea.”

Mr. Smith reiterated that the Commission is conducting the inquiry with impartiality and with no preconceptions. In carrying out its work, the Commission will be guided by the principles of independence, impartiality, objectivity, transparency, integrity and the principle of “do no harm”, including in relation to guarantees of confidentiality and the protection of victims and witnesses.

The Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea was established by the Human Rights Council during its twenty-sixth session (Resolution A/HRC/RES/26/24) in June 2014. The Commission of Inquiry is looking at a broad range of alleged violations of human rights in Eritrea since it became an independent State. The alleged violations that will be investigated include, but are not limited to extrajudicial killings; enforced disappearances; arbitrary arrests and detentions; torture; violations occurring during compulsory national service; and restrictions to freedoms of expression and opinion, assembly, association, religious belief and movement.

The Commission will present a written report of its findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in June 2015. It will provide oral updates on its work to the Human Rights Council in March 2015 and to the General Assembly at its September 2015 session.
 
Eritreans who are interested in speaking with a representative of the Commission during the visit to the United Kingdom should contact the Secretariat at coieritrea@ohchr.org as soon as possible.
 
The Commission has also issued a call for submissions, open until 31 January 2015. Any State, individual or organization can submit information in writing to the Commission in English, Tigrinya or Arabic, by post or email.

Submissions may be sent:
 
By email to: coieritrea@ohchr.org
 
By post to: Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH-1211 Geneva
Switzerland
 
For more information about the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea please consult their website - http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/CoIEritrea/Pages/commissioninquiryonhrinEritrea.aspx
 
For media requests, please contact the Secretariat of the Commission of Inquiry by email: coieritrea@ohchr.org  
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For use of the information media; not an official record