Thousands of Eritreans flee human rights abuses in their country says UN expert

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Sheila Keetharuth. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

The international community has been urged to address "recurrent" human rights violations in Eritrea which have led to about 2,000 people fleeing each month to neighbouring countries.

The call has come from the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea who presented her report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.

Sheila Keetharuth said the main reasons cited for people fleeing are indefinite army service and the continuing crisis of arbitrary arrest.

"In view of my findings and conclusions, I call on the Council and on the international community to address the recurrent human rights violations in Eritrea, spawning a monthly exodus of 2,000 to neighbouring Ethiopia alone and almost 2,000 to Sudan in May 2014. The mass flights of Eritreans, young and old would subside if the cycle of impunity for persistent human rights violations were to be broken." (29")

The representative of Eritrea to the UN in Geneva dismissed the report of the independent expert as "politically motivated allegations disguised as human rights issues."

He acknowledged that Eritrea, like all other countries, faces human rights challenges that the government "constantly fights and seeks to address".

Sophie Outhwaite, United Nations

Duration: 1’28″

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