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Parliamentary questions
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27 June 2019
Answer given by Mr Mimica on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-001620/2019

Human rights and fundamental principles, including rights at work, are at the heart of all EU external action, including in our relations with Eritrea. The EU regularly addresses human rights issues with the Government of Eritrea and encourages reforms to its national service. The Commission does not support indefinite conscription in Eritrea.

It actively promotes the effective implementation of International Labour Organisation (ILO) fundamental Conventions on Forced Labour(1) and the State duty to implement the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights at global level and in EU partner countries.

The project in question(2) provides funds only for the procurement of emergency equipment and material necessary for road rehabilitation. The Commission will not pay for labour under this project.

The Commission and its implementing partner the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) will carefully monitor the broader implementation of the works, to ensure that basic standards and safeguards are met, including the working conditions and remuneration of the staff employed by the road construction companies.

If any concerns were to occur, they would immediately be raised with the Eritrean government through political dialogue. Should the Commission find that there are any human rights violations occurring under the project, it reserves the right to take appropriate action, including suspending its involvement in the project.

(1)C029 — Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No 29) and C105 — Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No 105)
(2)T05-EUTF-HOA-ER-66 ‘Reconnecting Eritrea and Ethiopia through rehabilitation of the main arterial roads in Eritrea’, https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/sites/euetfa/files/t05-eutf-hoa-er-66_-_eritrea_road_rehabilitation.pdf

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