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Parliamentary questions
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4 November 2019
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
Michèle Rivasi
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Emergency Trust Fund in Eritrea project

The Eritrean Government continues to oblige most of its population to undertake national service either in civilian or military roles for an indefinite period. This includes working for government construction companies. The ILO committee of experts has found the country to be in breach of the two forced labour conventions(1).

In 2019, the EU began to use the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to support the procurement of equipment for a road building project in which it accepts that national service labour (i.e. forced labour conscripts) may be used(2).

How does the EU define national service in Eritrea, if not as forced labour?

What risks and mitigation measures has the Commission earmarked as part of this project to ensure that the support it is lending does not contribute to the government’s continued use of forced labour and its abusive treatment of individuals within the national service system?

How will the Commission independently monitor the human rights impact of its funding, including working conditions?

(1) https://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:13100:0::NO::P13100_COMMENT_ID:2337201 (accessed 5 August 2019)
(2) https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/sites/euetfa/files/t05-eutf-hoa-er-66_-_eritrea_road_rehabilitation.pdf; https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/news-and-events/roads-peace-eu-supports-reconnecting-eritrea-and-ethiopia_en
Last updated: 25 November 2019Legal notice