Eritreans Flee Forced Labor Program, Says U.N. Report

Written by Ann Brown

From Business Insider

Eritrea is running a forced labor program that is spawning human rights violations and fuelling a refugee exodus, according to a report that will be debated next month at the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Sheila B. Keetharuth, an independent investigator who is the U.N. “special rapporteur” on human rights in Eritrea, wrote that torture, sexual violence and extra-judicial killings “continue unabated” in the Horn of Africa country.

Her report said that fear and experience of national service – an indefinite conscription that amounts to forced labor – were prompting many people to flee the country.

“The military police carries out routine conscription round-ups, known as ‘giffas’, in homes, workplaces, the street or other public places, with the aim of rounding up persons considered fit to serve, draft evaders and those who escaped from national service; including minors,” the report said.

“Opposing such a round-up can lead to on-the-spot execution, as deadly force is permitted against those resisting or attempting to flee,” it added. The Human Rights Council will debate the findings in Geneva on June 16.


Written by Tom Miles/more at Business Insider