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Christian charity calls on UN to take further action against persecution in Eritrea

CSW, together with Human Rights Concern Eritrea urged members of the Human Rights Council (HRC) to renew the annual mandate made by the Eritrean Special Rapporteur (an independent expert assigned to report back on a country's human rights record) after growing concerns that recommendations to prevent human rights violations were being ignored.

In a letter to the UN, the campaign groups highlighted the rise of persecution Christians and other religious minorities continue to face in the region, to which the HRC responded: "It is imperative that the Human Rights Council renews the Special Rapporteur's mandate this week. A failure to do so out of political expediency would damage the reputation of the world's premier human rights body irreparably."

The decision to uphold the mandate is only the first step in bringing peace to Eritrea, according to CSW's UN advisor Ms Denman.

Speaking to Premier she said: "The human rights situation in Eritrea is so severe and we are very delighted that a number of countries, some of whom we weren't sure would support the resolution, which renews the mandate of the expert but have.

"What we do need to see is increased pressure on the country. So this new resolution not only renews the mandate, but also calls for Eritrea to cooperate fully with that mandate holder and the rest of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which oversees all human rights work at the UN to cooperate with that mechanism."

Ms Denman said there have been an increasing number of incidents where the freedoms of Christians and other religious minorities continue to be threatened across the country.

"Earlier in June, we saw that 21 Catholic owned health centres were closed, in May earlier this year we saw 30 Christians arrested at a gathering and that followed the arrest of 141 Christians including 14 minors near the capital of Asmara. "

CSW are calling on the international community to step in and apply pressure on Eritrea to accept independent experts into the country to ensure they can effectively monitor and report on the situation.
Ms Denman said: "At the moment [rapporteurs] are having to meet with victims in a third country, a safe place outside of Eritrea."

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