GENEVA, Switzerland, September 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth, will make an official visit to Italy from 22 to 26 September to collect first-hand information from Eritrean refugees and migrants on the human rights situation in Eritrea.
Ms. Keetharuth has made several official requests to visit Eritrea since her appointment in November 2012, which have so far not been granted. She has repeatedly urged the Eritrean authorities to cooperate with her to address the country’s human rights challenges.
“As I have so far been unable to visit Eritrea, I have been meeting Eritrean refugees and migrants, and all those concerned by human rights in Eritrea. These include people who consider themselves to be victims of human rights violations, human rights defenders and other members of civil society,” she said.
During her mission, the Special Rapporteur will interview Eritrean refugees and migrants about the situation of human rights in their home country to corroborate allegations of widespread and systematic violations of human rights that she has received from different sources.
“The creation of a Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea by the Human Rights Council earlier this year offers an adequate platform for the investigation of the most egregious human rights violations in the country,” said Ms. Keetharuth, who will be one of the three members on the panel.
The Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea will investigate all alleged violations of human rights in Eritrea, namely cases of extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearance and incommunicado detention, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, inhumane prison conditions, violations committed in the context of the indefinite national service, and lack of freedom of expression and opinion, assembly, association, religious belief and movement.
Ms. Keetharuth expressed her appreciation that Italy has agreed to provide her with access to interview the Eritrean refugees and migrants residing in the country.
The result of her findings, strictly limited to the situation inside Eritrea, will be reflected in her third report to the Human Rights Council in June 2015.
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