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Eritrea: Crackdown on Christians spurs UN expert to press Government “to live up to its international commitments”

It is heartening to see Daniela Kravetz, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, speaking out about the persecution of Christians there. The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, applauds her statements; we hope that the Eritrean government will heed her call and act. A great deal more needs to be done, not only by the Eritrean government, but by all the governments of the world wherever Christians are facing persecution, to alleviate their plight. Yet for the most part, indifference to these persecuted Christians is increasing, and the media has largely turned away.

“Crackdown on Christians in Eritrea spurs UN expert to press Government ‘to live up to its international commitments,’” United Nations, June 24, 2019:

Cracking down on Catholic Church activities, arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of Orthodox and other Christian congregation members in Eritrea, prompted a call from a UN independent rights expert on Friday for the Government to respect citizens’ freedom of religion and to “release those who have been imprisoned for their religious beliefs”.

“These actions show that, despite the improved regional climate for peace and security, the human rights situation in Eritrea remains unchanged”, said Daniela Kravetz, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea.

On 12 June, Eritrean authorities ordered the seizure of all Catholic Church-managed health centres.

According to information received, soldiers were posted outside some health facilities, while patients were ordered to go home, and staff threatened.

“The seizure of these health facilities will negatively impact the right to health of the affected populations, in particular those in remote rural areas”, Ms. Kravetz explained. “By curtailing the activities of the Catholic Church, the Eritrean authorities are restricting the right of their citizens to enjoy quality health care”.

The Catholic Church manages some 40 hospitals and health centres, mainly in rural areas and some inside monasteries. Most provide free services, and many have operated since the 1990s….

The UN envoy will share her findings on the situation during an interactive dialogue scheduled for 2 July at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“I urge Eritrea to live up to its international commitments as a member of the Human Rights Council and allow religious institutions to operate freely and all Eritreans to exercise their right to freedom of religion within the country”, concluded the Special Rapporteur.

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