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Australian Statement on Tigray for the Interactive Dialogue on the Oral Update by the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea, 26 February 2021

Human Rights Council – 46th session

Interactive Dialogue on the Oral update by Special Rapporteur on Eritrea

24 February 2021

Australian Statement

Australia thanks the Special Rapporteur for his oral update.

We reaffirm our support for the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and urge the Government of Eritrea to cooperate fully with this mandate.

We are concerned by reports of Eritrea's involvement in the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, and associated allegations of human rights abuses and forced returns of Eritrean refugees. We call on Eritrea to investigate all claims of refoulment and abuses of human rights committed by its troops in the conflict region.

Australia remains concerned by ongoing reports of forced labour and prolonged, compulsory national service. We call on Eritrea to introduce legislation that prohibits the use of forced labour, applies reasonable time limits for national service and provides options for conscientious objection.

While we welcome reports regarding the recent release of prisoners, many of whom were detained without charge or trial for practicing their faith, restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, as well as the arbitrary arrest and detention of members of non-recognised religions, continue to be of concern. We call on the Government of Eritrea to fully respect the freedom of religion or belief of all Eritreans.

We ask Dr Babiker if he could provide an update on Eritrea’s progress in implementing the 131 Universal Periodic Review recommendations it accepted and against the benchmarks identified by the former Special Rapporteur.

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