Concluding observations for 69th's Eritrea fourth periodic report


Held by the Committee: 19 and 20 May 2015

Published by the Committee: 8 June 2015

Issues raised:


Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention:

The Committee considers that the prolonged compulsory national service, the ineffective implementation of the 1997 Constitution and the suspension of the National Assembly have resulted in deterioration of the rule of law and a serious human rights and humanitarian situation, including exodus of refugees, which poses a challenge to the implementation of the Convention. (para.7)


The Committee is concerned that certain forms of discrimination remain, including de facto discrimination against girls, children from ethnic minorities and nomadic communities. Children from families who follow religions which are not officially recognized are denied administrative services or educational opportunities. Furthermore, the criminalization of consensual same-sex conduct encourages the stigmatization of and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) persons, including children, and children from LGBT families. (para. 24)

The right to life, survival and development:

The Committee is seriously concerned that measures adopted for border control reportedly include excessive use of force,   including   a   “shoot   to   kill”   policy   against   those   trying   to   flee   the   country,   including children. Furthermore, the conditions in the State party are so severe that a high number of children feel compelled to leave their country, being separated from their families and risking their lives and full development. (para. 29)

Birth registration:

 The Committee reiterates its previous recommendations (CRC/C/ERI/CO/3, para. 33) to strengthen and further develop measures to ensure that all children born within the national territory, including those of minorities and living in remote areas, and refugee camps are registered. (para. 31)

Freedom of expression:

The Committee is concerned about the particularly severe restriction of the press in the State party, which seriously impacts on   children’s   right   to   expression,   participation and information. (para. 32)

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion:

 The Committee is concerned at the allegation that followers of unrecognized religious denominations, including children, face restrictions in the exercise of their religious faith and practices and are often harassed, persecuted, or denied official identity. (para. 34)

Torture and other cruel or degrading treatment or punishment:

However, it remains seriously concerned about reports indicating that violence against children, including sexual violence, is widespread in the context  of  national  service  and  military  training,  such  as  institutions  in  Sawa  and  Wi’a.  Children in situations of migration returning to the country, including those who have unsuccessfully sought asylum in other countries, face torture and detention upon return. Furthermore, children in detention routinely face torture, cruel and degrading treatment, including corporal punishment, in particular children accused of attempting to avoid military service or fleeing the country.  (para. 36)

Freedom of the child from all forms of violence:

The Committee notes that “reasonable  chastisement”  is  no  longer  an  excuse  for  corporal  punishment  of  children,  and is concerned that children are frequently subjected to violence at home and in educational institutions, including sexual abuse of girls in schools. Furthermore, the Committee notes with concern that data on violence against children, including on investigation and persecution conducted for the allegation of such violence, is not collected. Most notably, Laws, policies or plans of action which specifically address all forms of violence against children, including child abuse and neglect, domestic and sexual violence, do not exist. Information is not provided on adequate complaints mechanisms for violence against children, on mechanisms of redress, rehabilitation and compensation; or on assistance and protection of child witnesses and on support for their recovery and social reintegration. Furthermore, none of the courts in the State party have dealt with marital rape and no research has been conducted on the issue while child marriage is still prevalent.  (para. 38)

Harmful practices:

 The Committee notes the efforts made by the State party to eliminate harmful practices, including the criminalization of female genital mutilation (FGM) by Proclamation 158/2007. The Committee also notes with concern that prevalence of female genital mutilation and child marriages continues to be high, in particular in rural areas.  (para. 40)

The Committee is deeply concerned that polygamous marriages persist in some communities in the State party – a situation which is contrary to the dignity of girls entering such marriages and which negatively affects the children of such marriages. (para. 42)

Right to leave and enter own country:

45. The Committee is seriously concerned about reports that the extremely tight control of exit visa and the requirement of payment of a tax to re-enter the country undermine the exercise of the right of children and their parents to leave and enter their own country, including for family reunification. Children in migration situations and other returnees, including national service evaders and deserters, face detention and disappearance and their children and other family members are not informed of their whereabouts. Furthermore, family members, including children, are frequently punished for the conduct of another family member, such as fleeing the country. (para. 45)

Children deprived of a family environment:

47. The Committee is concerned that many children are deprived of a family environment due to the absence of their parents caused by the widespread practice of enforced disappearance, incommunicado detention and arbitrary arrests; and prolonged periods of national service with infrequent leave and distant posting. (para. 47)

Children in prison with their mothers:

51. The Committee is concerned that living conditions of young children in detention facilities with their mothers is poor; and lactating mothers are having difficulties in providing proper nutrition for their infants due to the poor quality of food provided in the detention facilities. (para. 51)

Children with disabilities:

 The Committee,is concerned  the majority of children placed in orphanages are children with disabilities; The Committee, however, is concerned about the lack of statistical data on children with disabilities, including on those out of school, and the insufficient resources to implement the policy and relevant programmes. The Committee also notes with concern the referral of children with vision and hearing impairments, as well as developmental and intellectual disabilities, to special schools. (para. 49 and 53)

Standard of living:

The Committee is concerned that the prolonged period of conscription for national service, including for parents and care-givers, is having negative effects on their capacity to provide for children, as their salary and allowance during national service are below minimum subsistence level and the workforce within the family is reduced due to the conscription. There are frequent reports of food insecurity and malnutrition remains a leading cause of infant mortality. There is high regional disparity in the access to food, water and sanitation. Furthermore, there have been forced evictions and demolition of houses in the country. (para. 57)

Education, including vocational training and guidance:

Nevertheless, the Committee is concerned that primary and secondary school enrollment remains low, in particular for girls, children in rural areas and children living in poverty due to, among others, the hidden costs of education. The drop-out rate for girls is high due to excessive domestic duties, early marriage and pregnancy. The frequent lack of gender-sensitive sanitation facilities forces girls to stay away from school when they menstruate. Secondary school students have to undergo obligatory military training and are at risk of being subjected to violence, and this is one of the major reasons for school dropouts. Furthermore, c hildren in nomadic communities still face disadvantages in accessing education and the education they can access is of low quality. (para. 59)

Children affected by armed conflict:

The Committee is seriously concerned at the allegations of forced underage recruitment, including through frequent practice of round-ups   called   “Giffa”,   despite   the   legal   minimum   age   for recruitment being set at the age of 18 years.  Students in the 12th grade , many of whom are under the age of 18 years, having to undergo military training at Sawa military training camp. Furthermore, their is  insufficient information provided regarding the physical and psychological recovery of all children affected by the previous armed conflict. (para. 63)

Economic exploitation, including child labour:

 The Committee is concerned at information about widespread child labour of children under the minimum age, and at the lack of comprehensive measures to ensure that children are protected from economic exploitation and the worst forms of child labour. (para. 65)

Trafficking, smuggling and abduction:

However, the Committee is gravely concerned that a large number of people leaving the country, including unaccompanied children, face the risk of trafficking, smuggling or abduction. Furthermore, senior military officers are allegedly involved in trafficking or smuggling of persons from the country, including children. (para. 68)

Administration of juvenile justice:

The Committee continues to be seriously concerned that: there is still no juvenile justice system in the country.Children between 16 and 18 years of age are still tried as adults. Furthermore, children are placed in detention facilities and prisons together with adults. (para. 70)

Children belonging to a minority group:

The Committee is concerned at allegations that some ethnic minority groups, including Afar and Kunama, face destruction of their traditional means of livelihood and displacement from their traditional territory. (para. 72)


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