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Sheila B. Keetharuth to gather first-hand information from Eritrean refugees

Eritrea / Human rights

Té / 25 April 2013

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth, will carry out an official visit to Ethiopia and Djibouti from 30 April to 9 May 2013 to collect information directly from Eritrean refugees on the human rights situation in their country.

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 25, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)

“Due to lack of access to Eritrea, I will engage with all others concerned by human rights in Eritrea, including those who consider themselves to be victims of alleged human rights violations, human rights defenders and other civil society actors,” Ms. Keetharuth said.

“In my first field mission, I will gather first-hand information from Eritrean refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries,” explained the rights expert, while expressing her appreciation that neighbouring Ethiopia and Djibouti have agreed to provide her access to the Eritrean refugee population residing in those two countries.

Since her appointment in November 2012, the Special Rapporteur has made several requests to visit Eritrea, which has so far not been granted. She has repeatedly urged the Eritrean authorities to collaborate with her mandate with a view to addressing its human rights challenges. In her view, the mandate offers an opportunity for the Eritrean Government to engage in a fresh and constructive dialogue on human rights issues brought to the fore by an array of stakeholders.

During her mission, Ms. Keetharuth will interview Eritrean refugees in various places to assess allegations of widespread and systematic violations of human rights in Eritrea contained in reports she has received from a variety of sources. The result of her findings, which would be strictly limited to the situation inside Eritrea, will be reflected in her first report to the Human Rights Council in June 2013.

Apart from courtesy meetings with Government authorities in both countries, the human rights expert is planning to meet Eritrean refugees in various places throughout the countries to collect information about alleged human rights violations in Eritrea.

The Special Rapporteur will issue a news release with her preliminary findings on the situation of human rights in Eritrea at the end of her field visits to neighbouring Ethiopia and Djibouti

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