One of the main reasons why young Eritreans flee from their own country, into Sudan or Ethiopia and then seek sanctuary in Europe is that they face almost endless military service. In theory they only have to serve for 18 months, but this period has been extended almost endlessly.
Now the British government has been promised that the 18 months limit will be adhered to. And is says it will “continue to press the Eritrean government to live up to this commitment.” The questions were posed by Lady Glenys Kinnock – long a supporter of the Eritrean people.
These answers were given in the House of Lord this week.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4645):
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the assurances given by the government of Eritrea to the Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials who visited Eritrea in December 2014 that military service there will be limited to 18 months; and whether they will undertake analysis of the matter and report on the outcome. (HL4645)
Tabled on: 03 February 2015
Baroness Anelay of St Johns:
The Eritrean government decree (dated 23 October 1995) on national service provides for it to be eighteen months in duration. However, since the 1998-2002 war with Ethiopia, national service has been extended for many citizens over an unspecified period. We have regularly raised the importance of limiting national service with the Eritrean government, most recently in December 2014. Eritrean officials provided assurances that national service will now be strictly limited to 18 months. We welcome this decision but will continue to press the Eritrean government to live up to this commitment.
Date and time of answer: 12 Feb 2015 at 14:23.Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4645):