APPG on Eritrea Bulletin – 5 February 2018

APPG on Eritrea Bulletin - 5 February 2018  The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Eritrea this week launches a bulletin, which will provide updates on the Group’s activities, parliamentary developments in relation to Eritrea, and stories in

APPG on Eritrea Bulletin – 5 February 2018 

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Eritrea this week launches a bulletin, which will provide updates on the Group’s activities, parliamentary developments in relation to Eritrea, and stories in the media.

 

Inaugural Meeting

Just before the Christmas Recess, the Eritrea Group held its inaugural meeting to re-register as an APPG following last year’s General Election. The following officers were elected to the Group:
Chair: Patrick Grady
Vice Chairs: Sir Henry Bellingham MP; Nic Dakin MP; Ann Clwyd MP; Lord Alton of Liverpool; Jeremy Lefroy MP

 

Meeting summary: Reporting on Eritrea: The role of domestic and international media

In November, the APPG on Eritrea held a meeting to discuss the challenges facing journalists in Eritrea, and the responsibility of the international media to report on developments in the country accurately and impartially.

Press freedom has been severely restricted in Eritrea following a media purge in 2011 when 11 editors and journalists were seized by the Eritrean regime and subsequently disappeared. The country’s once vibrant free press was shut down. In 2015, Eritrea was ranked last in the world, behind North Korea, in the press freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders. In 2017 they appear one place higher on the list, at number 179 out of 180.

On the panel was Francesca Unsworth, Director of the BBC World Service; Solomon Mugera, Head of BBC Africa, and Michela Wrong, a journalist and author who has worked as a foreign correspondent covering events in Africa for Reuters, the Financial Times and the BBC. She highlighted that restricted access to Eritrea was a major problem for journalists.

Solomon Mugera, Head of BBC Africa, and Francesca Unsworth, Director of the BBC World Service, spoke on the reasons behind the decision of the BBC World Service to launch the Tigrinya language service– Eritrea’s most widely spoken language – becoming one of the only sources of information from outside the country for the majority of Eritreans.

 

Eritrea in the news

Calais migrants: Five shot in mass brawl

At least five migrants have been shot during a mass brawl between Afghans and Eritreans in the French port city of Calais, local officials say. Four Eritreans aged between 16 and 18 are in a critical condition in hospital. It is not clear what sparked the fight at a queue for food handoutsRead moreBBC 02/02/18

Eritrean leader criticizes Israel’s migrant deportation plan

In a rare interview, Eritrea’s president has expressed his displeasure with Israel’s plan to deport tens of thousands of African migrants, saying they deserve far more than the $3,500 they were offered to leave. Read moreWashington Post 31/01/18

Netherlands expels top Eritrean diplomat

Tekeste Ghebremedhin Zemuy has been declared persona non grata, Zijlstra wrote in a letter to parliament, as the government found mounting evidence of Eritrea continuing to force tax payments from people who fled the countryRead more.Africa News 18/01/18


Parliamentary activity

Wednesday 31st  – January -House of Commons – Written question

Home Office

Refugees: Eritrea

Alex Sobel

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether there are plans to create safe and legal routes to the UK for Eritrean refugees.

Caroline Nokes: We operate four resettlement schemes, working closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to provide safe and legal routes to the UK for the most vulnerable refugees. Eritrean nationals are potentially eligible under all four resettlement schemes. See in full

 

Wednesday 31st  – January -House of Commons – Written question

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Eritrea: Armed Conflict

Patrick Grady

 

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Egyptian counterpart on reports that Egyptian troops have been deployed in Asmara, Eritrea.

Alistair Burt: I have had no recent discussions with Egyptian Ministers regarding this issue. My officials are in regular contact with their Egyptian counterparts on a wide range of issues. We have received no information which substantiates reports of Egyptian troops in Asmara.

 

 

Wednesday 31st  – January -House of Commons – Written question

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Africa: Politics and Government
Patrick Grady

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his UN Security Council counterparts on escalating tensions among Eritrea, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.

Harriett Baldwin: The Foreign Secretary most recently discussed this issue with a Security Council colleague when he met the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia at the EU/African Union Summit in November 2017. We continue to monitor the situation closely

Wednesday 31st  – January -House of Commons – Written question

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Africa: Politics and Government
Patrick Grady

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on tensions between Eritrea, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.

Harriett Baldwin: The Foreign Secretary has held no recent discussions with EU counterparts on tensions between Eritrea, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. However, we continue to monitor the situation closely.

Wednesday 31st  – January -House of Commons – Written question

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Eritrea & Sudan: Borders
Patrick Grady

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the closure of the border between Sudan and Eritrea on the political and economic stability of the wider region.

Harriett Baldwin: The Sudan-Eritrea border has been closed since 6 January. The Sudanese Foreign Minister has made clear that this is due to an internal weapons collection campaign being conducted throughout Sudan. There are no indications, as yet, that this is impacting the stability of the wider region.

Thursday 25th  – January -House of Commons – Written question

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Eritrea: Religious Freedom
David Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Government of Eritrea on its treatment of religious minorities.

Harriett Baldwin: Our Ambassador and EU counterparts have called for the release of all prisoners detained for religious beliefs or, as a minimum, that they are brought before a court for public hearing and fair trial, allowing them to defend themselves against any charge. We will continue to raise our concerns on this and other human rights issues with the Government of Eritrea.

END

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Review overview
1 COMMENT
  • rezen February 9, 2018

    Subject: “The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Eritrea”, 5 Feb 2018

    Commentary, 8 Feb 2018
    Calling me nutty and stupid, but I don’t understand the purpose of the summary. Does it, in any way, contribute to the welfare of the down trodden Eritrean people who are wandering all over the Globe for sanctuary, freedom, liberty, independence and a little bit of bread and happiness, or for those who are still left behind and suffering silently.
    Or perhaps, it is a summary of topics to be discussed with the ‘Liberator’ [from whom, no body knows], absolute Dictator and President of Eritrea, for Life (a concept popular in Africa) . Yes, Dear Old Africa, the source of infinite misery defined as ‘LIFE’ …………… never mind. Have a Pleasant Week-end, where ever you may be.

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