The UK Parliament’s Eritrea Group up and running again

Source: David Alton

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Eritrea re-established in Parliament

Mar 30, 2021 | Featured parliamentary activity

David Alton speaking at an Eritrean event in London

A cross-party group of Parliamentarians moved to re-form the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Eritrea on Thursday 25 March 2021.

Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton, and Lord Alton of Liverpool, a crossbench (independent) Peer, were elected co-chairs at an Annual General Meeting hosted online. A full list of officers and members elected at that meeting is included below.

The APPG provides a vehicle for Parliamentarians to focus on human rights abuses that are taking place in Eritrea; to examine and debate how the human rights situation in the country might be improved; and to raise matters of concern with, and make representations to, government and other policy makers.

An early priority is Eritrea’s role in the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where its troops are accused 1 of human rights abuses that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The APPG will continue to hold Her Majesty’s Government to account regarding public calls 2 for the withdrawal of these forces, building on requests 3 made by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The APPG will also support calls for meaningful humanitarian access and aid to affected populations, including victims and survivors of sexual violence and rape 4.

The APPG recognises that the Tigray conflict has the potential to lead to wider regional destabilisation and war.

In Eritrea itself, human rights abuses continue on a similar scale, though mostly away from media scrutiny, with restrictions on the freedom of assembly and speech, religion or belief, and the judiciary and courts.

Young people continue to be required to perform national service which amounts to slavery according to the United Nations.

Eritrea continues to be a source of refugees globally, with many seeking sanctuary in the UK. According to the latest Home Office immigration statistics 5, asylum applications from Eritrean nationals rose 33% in 2020 compared with 2019, despite an overall decrease in applications of 18% over the same period.

There is a continued need to consider the reasons for fleeing and to represent their views and concerns to Parliament.

Commenting on the reformed APPG, co-chair Lord Alton said:

“I am honoured to be elected co-chair of this committed cross-party group of Parliamentarians. We have joined together in this way to be a voice for change in Eritrea, and for its people. We pledge to be unstinting in our commitment to an Eritrea that is pluralistic, open, and which respects the human rights of all its citizens. There could not be a more important time to work together in solidarity towards this aim, as Eritrea has shown itself in recent months to play a destructive role regionally,
where its interference threatens to tip the entire Horn of Africa region into war, which will drive
massive displacement and further suffering.”

1 https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr25/3730/2021/en/
2 https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-03-25/debates/5D6EC59D-4744-425B-8086- 2C13256A34ED/ConflictInTigrayRegionOfEthiopia
3 https://twitter.com/AbiyAhmedAli/status/1375308233754173440
4 https://www.channel4.com/news/the-horrors-of-the-hidden-war-inside-the-tigray-conflict-in-ethiopia
5 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-december-2020/how-many- people-do-we-grant-asylum-or-protection-to

Notes to editors
You can follow the work of the APPG on Twitter at AppgEritrea or by emailing the secretariat Maddy
Crowther on appgoneritrea@outlook.com.

Officers:
Co-Chair Fiona Bruce MP, Member of Human Rights Joint Committee and Co-Chair of APPG on North Korea
Co-Chair Lord Alton of Liverpool, Member of the International Relations Committee

Vice Chair Baroness Goudie, Advisor to the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and SecurityVice Chair Tim Farron MP, Liberal Democrats Leader 2015-2017Vice Chair Fleur Anderson MP, Co-Chair of APPG for Prevention of Genocide
Vice Chair Thangam Debonnaire MP
Vice Chair Lord Chidgey
Vice Chair Lord St John of Bletso
Vice Chair Baroness Stroud
Vice Chair Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb
Vice Chair Lord Cormack
Vice Chair Brendan O’Hara MP
Vice Chair Patrick Grady MP, Former SNP International Development Spokesperson

Members:
Stephen Doughty MP, Shadow Africa Minister
Baroness Anelay, Chair of the International Relations and Defence Committee (Former Foreign Office Minister and Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Sexual Violence in Conflict 2014-2017)
Philip Hollobone MP
Baroness Thornton

Lord Alton chairing a hearing in Parliament on persecution in Eritrea

5 comments

  1. We appreciate that UK is aware and concern about the Eritrean dictator’s human rights abuses in Eritrea and his role in the genocide in Tigray, while the US and the UK thinking about political solutions for Horn of Africa our people in Tigray dying and suffering and waiting for protection from the savage military of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afeworki we need protection now

  2. Congratulations APPG! Your humanitarian deeds are very much appreciated by over the majority of Ethiopians who wish you the best.
    Besides your concern for the Eriterian human right issues, two important aspects you should remaind Her Majesty’s Government.
    • Stop all aid to Abiy’s rule. Every penny in his hand goes straight to his Tigre ethnicity cleansing and thus prolongs the on-going genocide.

    • By any means, verify the Eritrean Military is out of Ethiopia. These military-personal are held slaves – a human right issue – for once and for the other, they are creators of the unbalance of the forces.

    Rest of Ethiopians know who is who at the battle fields and I assure you peace will prevail in the whole arena of East Africa soon – for the sake of every one!

  3. Every minute the Eritrean solders stay in Tigray, tens of Tegaru are killed. An immediate and without condition, withdrawal of Eritrean solders from Tigray is a must. No excuses, no condition. Eritrean leader must be given an ultimatum, and his withdrawal must be verified by the international community. This is the only condition that guarantees the safety of Tegaru. Many thanks to the APPG

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