Norway's statement during the ID with the COI on Eritrea

Norway is deeply concerned with the human rights situation in Eritrea. We welcome the report from the Commission of inquiry and the focus on arbitrary deprivation of lives, enforced disappearances, torture, unlawful detention, sexual violence and forced labour through an indefinite National Service. These are issues of great concern that affect the lives of people living in Eritrea negatively. The serious human rights situation has contributed to the great exodus we have seen the last years out of Eritrea amounting to between 2000- 4000 people every month.

The recommendations from the Special Rapporteur’s report last year still stand as the Government of Eritrea has not demonstrated any willingness to act upon them. We call on the Government of Eritrea to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry and the Special Rapporteur and to work together with them to implement the recommendations contained in the reports of the COI and the Special Rapporteur - for the benefit of the Government of Eritrea and its people. We would support an extension of the COI’s mandate to investigate the extent to which the human rights violations and abuses identified by the commission in its first report constitute crimes against humanity.

We have noted some positive stated intentions with regard to the indefinite National Service that Eritrea is practicing. The Government of Norway has the last months received clear statements from top officials confirming that the indefinite National Service from the enrolment year/ patch of October 2014 will start a phased demobilisation back to the statutory 18- month’s service. This would mean that next summer thousands of Eritreans should be demobilised from the Eritrean army. Norway urges the Government of Eritrea to ensure that this be implemented and would like to get a comment on this from the Delegation of the Government of Eritrea.