Eritrea rejects EU criticism of rights
Eritrea on Friday strongly rejected a European Parliament resolution
condemning human rights abuses by the Asmara regime, describing it as wholly
"This resolution is extremely inappropriate," Eritrean President
Isaias Afeworki's chief of staff Yemane Gebremeskel said in reaction to a
resolution adopted in Brussels on Thursday condemning rights abuses in Eritrea.
"The European Parliament doesn't know the facts, but endorses all that
Amnesty International, which has no presence in Eritrea, says. At the end of
the day, that will only reduce the influence of the European Parliament,"
Yemane told AFP by telephone in Asmara on Friday.
The EU resolution "firmly condemns all human rights abuses in Eritrea
and calls on the country's authorities to uphold human rights, to respect the
international conventions and to cooperate in full with international human
rights organisations and NGOs."
The text said the EU was "deeply concerned by Eritrea's steadily
deteriorating human rights situation."
It called on Asmara to abide by the international human rights conventions,
and immediately release 11 former members of parliament, who have been
imprisoned without charge since September 2001.
It also cited the indiscriminate arrest by Eritrean security forces on
November 4 of thousands of young people suspected of evading military service,
saying it feared that the prisoners may risk torture and ill-treatment.
The resolution comes after a riot earlier this month in the Eritrean prison
of Adi Abeto, near Asmara, during which some 20 people were killed, according
to several diplomats, opposition websites and Amnesty International.
But Yemane retorted: "The last figure I have is two dead, but the
question is not if two or 10 people died."
"One dead is one too many, but if there is a riot, there can be
incidents. When there are riots in the European capitals, or during the G8
summit in Italy when one person was killed, does the European Parliament adopt a
resolution each time? I don't understand the motive of the resolution," he
The prisoners had been caught during a roundup aimed at finding those
avoiding military service. Such roundups occur regularly in the small Horn of
The European Parliament demanded a full investigation into the incident. Eubusiness.com
EU Relations with Eritrea