Testimony by UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, June 18

Thank you, Madam Rapporteur.

UN Watch commends the Special Rapporteur for her report, which documents gross and systematic violations of human rights in Eritrea . We fully support renewal of your mandate, and greatly appreciate your vital work.

Madam Rapporteur, UN Watch agrees with the conclusions of your report, in particular your recommendation that bilateral and multilateral actors—including the United Nations—should advocate for the release of all political prisoners and those detained for their religious beliefs; call for an immediate stop to incommunicado detention; an end to torture; for those who have been detained without charges to be promptly brought before a judge, or released; and for access of international monitors to prisons.

We wish to ask the Special Rapporteur: where you recommend advocacy by the United Nations, would you propose that the matter of human rights in Eritrea be taken up by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, by the Special Rapporteur on the freedom of peaceful assembly, by the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, by the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, and by the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment?

Madam Rapporteur, does your recommendation also contemplate that the High Commissioner take up the matter of human rights in Eritrea?

Finally, your report recommends that businesses investing in Eritrea should take into consideration the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in particular principle 12 on the responsibility of business enterprises to respect human rights, and ensure that these norms are applied in the recruitment of their workforce, so as to prevent the use of forced labor in the course of their operations.

Given that this Council has recently requested the Working Group to take up other specific situations, would you recommend that it do the same here, and request the Working Group to examine the issue of businesses doing investments in Eritrea? Have you considered calling on the Working Group to issue a statement in this regard?

I thank you, Mr. President.

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