Sep 192014

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Friday urged Egypt and other North African and European States with relevant information to make a concerted effort to bring to justice the people smugglers who allegedly deliberately sank a boat causing the deaths of between 300 and 500 refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean last week.

High Commissioner Zeid stressed that it was crucial to bring to an end the prevailing impunity surrounding such crimes and urged States to do more to address the root causes driving people to make such dangerous journeys.

“This is a truly horrendous incident,” Zeid said. “It is the duty of States to investigate such atrocious crimes, bring the perpetrators to justice, and even more importantly to do more to prevent them from happening in the first place. All the countries in the Mediterranean must make a concerted effort to clamp down on the smugglers who are exploiting one of the most vulnerable groups on the planet and endangering their lives, virtually on a daily basis, purely for financial gain.”

“The callous act of deliberately ramming a boat full of hundreds of defenceless people is a crime that must not go unpunished. If the survivors’ accounts are indeed true – and they appear all too credible – we are looking at what amounts to mass murder in the Mediterranean.”

Similar efforts, he said, should also be made to punish and deter such crimes in other parts of the world, including the Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Caribbean as well as those carried out against migrants and refugees using land routes.

“All countries would throw the full weight of their police forces and justice systems behind an investigation if the victims were their own citizens and were killed by criminal gangs on their own soil,” Zeid said. “The reaction should not be any less rigorous just because the victims are foreigners and the crime took place on the high seas. Yet very few people who kill, rape or rob migrants during their journeys end up in court.”

According to the 11 survivors interviewed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the migrants and refugees first embarked on a boat in the Egyptian port of Damietta. The passengers included a substantial number of Palestinians, many of them from Gaza, along with Egyptians, Syrians, Sudanese and possibly other nationalities.

All witnesses interviewed so far told IOM staff that the smugglers who deliberately rammed the boat far out to sea between Malta and Greece were either Egyptian or Palestinian. The High Commissioner urged the Greek, Maltese and Italian authorities to share information on the identity of the smugglers with the Egyptian authorities, who he said should immediately also launch a full and thorough investigation. “You cannot transport large quantities of foreigners in buses into a major port and cram them on board a ship without the port authorities and other witnesses being aware of what is going on,” Zeid said.

While recognizing the complexity of modern migration movements, Zeid urged all States to remember that migrants have the same rights as all other human beings. He stressed that the root causes of such tragedies must be tackled by the relevant States and by the international community.

“Far too many refugees and migrants are dying all across the world in an effort to flee conflict, systematic political oppression and human rights violations, including economic deprivation. These root causes in their countries of origin must be tackled in a concerted manner,” Zeid said.

“We also need a renewed effort to find ways to manage refugee and other migratory movements in an orderly manner that reduces the need for people to resort to unscrupulous people smugglers. The European Union, other destination States, transit countries and countries of origin must do more to address the range of factors pushing so many people into the arms of the smugglers. The focus, at every stage of the process needs to be on respect for the rights and inherent dignity of every human being.”

Zeid warned that xenophobia-driven politics continue to undermine Governments’ determination to find real solutions to an increasingly desperate situation in many parts of the world. He stressed that it is essential that refugees are able to escape to safety, and that States do not penalize them for taking irregular routes, as well as taking more robust steps to protect them when they do.

“There were refugees as well as economic migrants on board this boat,” Zeid said. “The largest and fastest-growing group of people claiming asylum in Europe in 2014 are Syrians – a clear manifestation of the deplorable failure to bring that conflict to an end, and of increasing pressures, frustrations and loss of hope on the part of the more than 3 million Syrian refugees, the great majority of whom are still in over-burdened neighbouring States,” the High Commissioner added. Other major groups of asylum seekers that have been rising sharply in Europe over the past year include Iraqis and Eritreans, many of whom are escaping systematic political oppression and forced conscription.

Sep 192014

PARIS, France, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) ( has today been named by S&P Dow Jones Indices, one of the world’s largest providers of financial market indices, and RobecoSAM, the investment specialist focused exclusively on sustainability investing, as leader of the Technology Hardware & Equipment industry group in the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices review with an overall score of 91/100.


Key Facts

• In its 2014 report on Alcatel-Lucent, DJSI/Robeco SAM said: “Alcatel-Lucent and its research organization Bell Laboratories have continued to lead the discussion on eco-innovation and communications technology (ICT) industry.”

• The company continued its active role in defining international standards in ICT energy efficiency and developing a greenhouse gas emissions reporting methodology through collaboration with global institutes such as the WBCSD and the World Resources Institute.

• Alcatel-Lucent also leveraged its leadership position to promote digital inclusion and digital literacy among disadvantaged communities throughout the world in particular through the work of Alcatel-Lucent Foundation.

• The company also received top industry scores in Code of Conduct/Compliance/Corruption&Bribery as well as in Supply Chain Management.

• This is the fourth year in a row, Alcatel-Lucent has been recognized in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices. The company was named Technology Supersector Leader in 2012 and leader of the CMT Communications Technology Sector in 2011.

• Launched in 1999, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices pioneered tracking of the financial performance of the world’s leading sustainability-driven companies. Based on the cooperation of Dow Jones Indexes and RobecoSAM, it provides asset managers with reliable and objective benchmarks to manage sustainability portfolios. In addition to financial performance, the index assesses a comprehensive range of sustainability areas, including environmental, management of human resources, community support and philanthropic.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Alcatel-Lucent.



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Useful links

To read full details of how Alcatel-Lucent performed in the 2014 DJSI review, and how it achieved its status as Industry Group Leader to Technology Hardware & Equipment, please visit:

Read DJSI’s full press release:

For more information on Alcatel-Lucent’s Sustainability priorities and activities, please visit:


We are at the forefront of global communications, providing products and innovations in IP and cloud networking, as well as ultra-broadband fixed and wireless access to service providers and their customers, and to enterprises and institutions throughout the world. Underpinning us in driving the industrial transformation from voice telephony to high-speed digital delivery of data, video and information is Bell Labs, an integral part of the Group and one of the world’s foremost technology research institutes, responsible for countless breakthroughs that have shaped the networking and communications industry. Our innovations have resulted in our Group being recognized by Thomson Reuters as a Top 100 Global Innovator, as well as being named by MIT Technology Review as amongst 2012’s Top 50 “World’s Most Innovative Companies”. We have also been recognized for innovation in sustainability, being named Industry Group Leader in the Technology Hardware & Equipment sector in the 2013 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices review, for making global communications more sustainable, affordable and accessible, all in pursuit of the Group’s mission to realize the potential of a connected world.

With revenues of Euro 14.4 billion in 2013, Alcatel-Lucent is listed on the Paris and New York stock exchanges (Euronext and NYSE: ALU). The company is incorporated in France and headquartered in Paris.

For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on:, read the latest posts on the Alcatel-Lucent blog and follow the Company on Twitter:

Sep 192014

NEW YORK, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The new Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations, Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 4 September 2014.

Since Sept…

Sep 192014

OTTAWA, Canada, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Today, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, delivered closing remarks at the first Canada-Africa Business Summit, hosted by the Canadian Council on Africa (CCAfrica).

“Africa’s development is not only an important economic growth story, it is also a development story.” said Minister Paradis. “It’s about jobs, education, access to training and health care services. It’s about sustainable growth and wealth distribution. As investors, Canadian businesses are models of best practice. They use innovative approaches, financial instruments and technologies to build local capacity and create benefits for communities. Their presence is positive for the countries in which they operate, and perhaps even more importantly, for those who live there.”

Current rates of economic growth across Africa have the potential to bring sustainable poverty reduction across the continent. In his remarks, Minister Paradis announced that Canada is providing funding to the 13th replenishment of the African Development Fund to help Africa’s poorest and most vulnerable countries receive grants and low-interest loans. Canada is committed to supporting development in sub-Saharan Africa, and will continue to play a leadership role in maternal, newborn and child health and in supporting sustainable economic growth.

“African states have made their development needs and priorities clear,” added the Minister. “Canada, and Canadian businesses, have the capital, technology, and entrepreneurial expertise to help them implement their vision. If we are to break down those last, persistent barriers to eliminating global poverty, Canada needs to diversify its development programming. We need innovative funding mechanisms that support private-sector-led growth that lead to sustainable solutions and that create jobs and wealth on both sides of the world.”

While in Toronto the Minister also met with Mr. Tolesa Shagui, Minister of the Ministry of Mines of Ethiopia, where they discussed increased cooperation and results. Together the Ministers announced an initiative to strengthen education for mining in Ethiopia, by providing technical vocational training for the community-based workforce and by preparing graduates—both men and women—for employment in the extractive sector. This initiative will increase access to cutting-edge fields such as geology and mining engineering.

Quick Facts

• The Canadian Council on Africa (CCAfrica) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote trade and economic development between Canada and Africa.

• Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan are development countries of focus under Canada’s Aid Effectiveness Agenda.

• There are 12 sub-Saharan African countries listed as priority markets under our Global Markets Action Plan.

• Exports of oil and minerals from Africa, Asia, and Central and South America in 2012 were worth more than US$1.35 trillion—more than 15 times the amount of official development assistance provided to these same regions in that year.

Sep 192014

OTTAWA, Canada, September 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today called on Canadian businesses to seize the opportunities that more trade and investment with emerging markets in Africa offers. In his address to Canadian and African businesses, non-governmental organizations and African government representatives during the Canada-Africa Business Summit in Toronto, Minister Fast pointed to the long-standing trade, investment, development, education and cultural ties between Canada and African countries that continue to foster economic success.

Canada’s commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainable development is an important element of our engagement with Africa. This includes supporting the Canadian extractive sector in its responsible and transparent operations in Africa and working with host countries to develop capacities to manage their natural resources.

During his trade mission to Africa in June, Minister Fast announced that Export Development Canada is expanding its presence at the Canadian embassy in Johannesburg, South Africa, providing on-the-ground support in southern Africa and assisting Canadian businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in boosting their exports.

Under the Global Markets Action Plan, the Government of Canada is committed to providing the tools to help businesses succeed, including free trade agreements, foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs) and air transport agreements. Canadian businesses can also count on the support of the Business Development Bank of Canada, Canadian Commercial Corporation and Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, with trade commissioners serving Canadian business needs in 16 African countries.

Quick Facts

• The International Monetary Fund expects the sub-Saharan economy to grow by 5.4 percent in 2014 and by 5.5 percent in 2015.

• Canada’s bilateral trade with continental Africa was $13.3 billion in 2013.

• As part of its plan to promote and protect Canadian investments in sub-Saharan Africa, Canada has FIPAs in force with Benin and Tanzania; has signed agreements with Cameroon and Nigeria; and has concluded negotiations with Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Senegal and Zambia. FIPA negotiations are under way with Ghana and Kenya.

• Minister Fast has led three trade missions to Africa over the last three years, visiting eight countries.


“Increased trade and investment is transforming countless lives and communities across Africa, just as it is creating jobs and generating economic growth in Canada and African countries alike. We are committed to opening new markets for our exporters and ensuring that Canadian companies, especially SMEs, take advantage of the opportunities our ambitious pro-trade, pro-export plan creates for them. Our FIPAs and sector-focused trade missions, along with help from our trade commissioners and close cooperation with Export Development Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation, are part of the many ways we are supporting Canadian SMEs as they grow, expand and succeed around the world.”

Sep 182014

OTTAWA, Canada, September 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Minister Fast with Louis-Paul Motazé, Secretary General, Office of the Prime Minister of Cameroon

Once in force, the Canada-Cameroon FIPA will offer greater protection for Canadian companies operating there

September 18, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario – The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, meets Louis-Paul Motazé, Secretary General, Office of the Prime Minister of Cameroon, on the margins of the Canada-Africa Business Summit, where Minister Fast delivered a keynote address. The two ministers discussed growing investment ties between the two countries and the progress on their respective ratification processes to bring into force the Canada-Cameroon Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). When in force, the FIPA will promote two-way investment and offer greater protection to Canadian companies operating in Cameroon through reciprocal, legally binding provisions.

Canadian companies are already active in Cameroon. In 2012, Canadian mining assets in Cameroon were valued at $61.3 million. In its recently launched Global Markets Action Plan, Canada identified Cameroon as an emerging market with specific opportunities for Canadian businesses in sectors such as infrastructure and education, as well as mining, and oil and gas. Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Cameroon was valued at nearly $53.5 million in 2013, an increase of 5.7 percent from the previous year.

As part of its plan to promote and protect Canadian investments abroad, Canada concluded, signed or brought into force FIPAs with 10 countries in 2013—a record for a single year. Seven of these were with African countries: Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia. Canada has FIPAs in force with Benin, Egypt and Tanzania, and FIPA negotiations are under way with Ghana, Kenya and Tunisia. Canada currently has 27 FIPAs in force around the world.

For further information, please see Canada-Cameroon FIPA.

Sep 182014

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A group of United Nations human rights experts* today urged the Government of Ethiopia to stop misusing anti-terrorism legislation to curb freedoms of expression and association in the country, amid reports that people continue to be detained arbitrarily.

The experts’ call comes on the eve of the consideration by Ethiopia of a series of recommendations made earlier this year by members of the Human Rights Council in a process known as the Universal Periodic Review and which applies equally to all 193 UN Members States. These recommendations are aimed at improving the protection and promotion of human rights in the country, including in the context of counter-terrorism measures.

“Two years after we first raised the alarm, we are still receiving numerous reports on how the anti-terrorism law is being used to target journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders and opposition politicians in Ethiopia,” the experts said. “Torture and inhuman treatment in detention are gross violations of fundamental human rights.”

“Confronting terrorism is important, but it has to be done in adherence to international human rights to be effective,” the independent experts stressed. “Anti-terrorism provisions need to be clearly defined in Ethiopian criminal law, and they must not be abused.”

The experts have repeatedly highlighted issues such as unfair trials, with defendants often having no access to a lawyer. “The right to a fair trial, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of association continue to be violated by the application of the anti-terrorism law,” they warned.

“We call upon the Government of Ethiopia to free all persons detained arbitrarily under the pretext of countering terrorism,” the experts said. “Let journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents and religious leaders carry out their legitimate work without fear of intimidation and incarceration.”

The human rights experts reiterated their call on the Ethiopian authorities to respect individuals’ fundamental rights and to apply anti-terrorism legislation cautiously and in accordance with Ethiopia’s international human rights obligations.

“We also urge the Government of Ethiopia to respond positively to the outstanding request to visit by the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of peaceful assembly and association, on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and on the situation of human rights defenders,” they concluded.

Sep 182014

VATICAN, Holy See, September 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The bishops of Cote d’Ivoire were received by the Holy Father this morning, at the end of their five-yearly “ad Limina” visit, and the written discourse he handed to them emphasised the need for dialogue and brotherhood among prelates and their priests, along with the successful inculturation of faith.

“The fraternal communion that unites the bishops of a nation around Christ is essential for the growth of the Church as well as for the progress of society as as whole”, he writes. “This is especially true in a country that has suffered serious divisions and is in need of your witness and your firm commitment to rebuilding fraternity. Let us not be robbed of the ideal of brotherly love! By really being brothers, open to dialogue and mutual trust, listening to all – even when there are differences and contradictions – and making space for everyone, especially the youngest among you, you will provide a new missionary impulse and will truly transform society, so that it is more consistent with the Gospel ideal”.

“Therefore”, he continued, “I can only encourage you to take on the role that is yours in the task of national reconciliation, setting aside any personal involvement in political disputes at the expense of the common good. However, it is important to maintain constructive relations with the authorities within the country, as well as with the various components of society, so as to spread the true evangelical spirit of dialogue and collaboration. The role of the Church – which is valued and listened to – can be crucial. … I urge you to continue in your dialogue with Muslims, so as to discourage any drift towards violence or any incorrect religious interpretation of the conflict you have experienced”.

“Of course, you are not alone in facing the enormous task of evangelisation and the conversion of hearts: you have the support of the clergy, generous and motivated, and whose numbers continue to grow”, he remarks. “However, to avoid difficulties and shortcomings that some priests encounter, the best approach is without doubt to ensure the quality of formation, both initial and permanent, the encouragement of a priestly fraternity that overcomes ethnic divisions and, in particular, the closeness and attention that, like loving and caring fathers, you must give to each one of them. Use, wherever possible, gentleness, persuasion and encouragement to awaken pastoral zeal, rather than immediate sanctions or severity. I urge you to visit your priests often in order to listen to them and get to know them better. The formation of a fraternal, united ‘presbyterium’ around the bishop is necessary for a priest to remain attached to his own diocese and to prioritise its needs, rather than giving in to the temptation to leave it, to the detriment of the people of God who need his ministry”.

The Pope offers warm thanks to the consecrated persons for “the considerable task they take on, along with laypersons working alongside them, in the sectors of education, health and development. Their work is appreciated by all and is absolutely indispensable in view of the intimate connection between evangelisation and human development”: He also invites the bishops to ensure their pastoral closeness to all the lay faithful, but especially families, “who are more fragile nowadays, both on account of the secularisation of Ivorian society and the movement of the population and divisions caused by the conflict, as well as by less morally demanding temptations that arise all around them”. The Pontiff also draws attention to the elderly as, “despite the traditional African mentality that reserves a special veneration for them, many now find themselves alone and abandoned, due to the ‘throwaway’ culture that has appeared in your societies. However, their participation is essential for the equilibrium of the people and the education of the young”.

Francis concludes by expressing his joy and gratitude for the great work of evangelisation that is being carried out in Cote d’Ivoire. “However”, he warns, “faith remains fragile and the wind does not blow in its favour. Often, as the recent conflicts have unfortunately shown, ethnic particularism overrides evangelical fraternity, and many baptised persons, tired or disillusioned, drift away from the light of truth in search of easier solutions, whereas others simply do not put the demands of faith into practice in their lives. Undoubtedly the key for the future is found partly in ensuring the Word of God is more deeply rooted in people’s hearts. It is certainly also necessary to enter into deeper dialogue with cultural, religious and traditional reality in order to achieve a true inculturation of our faith, unambiguously rejected what is contrary to it while welcoming and nurturing what is good. I therefore encourage you to continue ceaselessly in your work of evangelisation. In this way, the Church in Cote d’Ivoire can face the challenges of the future with serenity”.

Sep 182014

TUNIS, Tunisia, September 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The African Union (AU) and partners have concluded, in Tunis, a three-day regional security sector reform (SSR) training workshop for representatives of the countries of North Africa. The workshop, which commenced on 16 September 2014, is part of a series of similar events organized across the continent in order to popularize the AU SSR policy.

The workshop was organized by the AU and was held jointly with the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU), with technical assistance from the African Security Sector Network (ASSN). The workshop, which was held as part of the AU SSR project “Building African Union Capacities in Security Sector Reform (SSR): A Joint United Nations/European Union Support Action”, was attended by 21 representatives from the Egypt, Mauritania, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, and Sudan. Participants also included representatives from the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA), the AU Mission for Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL), the North African Regional Capability (NARC), the Community of Sahel – Saharan States (CEN-SAD), the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), the AU Liaison Office in Libya, and the office of the UN Development Porgramme in Tunisia.

The purpose of the workshop was to introduce participants to the AU Policy Framework on SSR, in the context of the operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). It provided an opportunity to sensitize participants on key concepts in SSR, as well as on the AU, UN and EU approaches to supporting nationally-led SSR processes. The Policy Framework on SSR, adopted by the AU Assembly in January 2013, aims to contribute to the development of effective partnerships at the regional and continental levels in the area of SSR.

The workshop also discussed how the AU Policy Framework on SSR can inform nationally-led efforts to identify opportunities and address challenges of SSR in North Africa. The workshop concluded with the handing over of certificates to participants who completed the orientation course.

Sep 182014

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The first African Forum on Business and Human Rights concluded today with a strong call for action to make business a force for improving human rights in Africa. At the meeting, senior officials and experts underlined that the African Union and the United Nations will join forces to support responsible business practices in line with fundamental human rights standards.

“Amid rapid economic growth and new investments in land and natural resources, there is an increasing awareness of why human rights must be brought into business strategies and operations,” said Michael K. Addo, chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

”Not only is this the only way to ensure the interest and welfare of the people of Africa, it is also good business and critical for the sustainability of investments,” added Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

The African Regional Forum, held from 16 to 18 September in Addis Ababa, brought together 200 representatives of governments, business, civil society, and national human rights institutions to debate the defining challenges of Africa today.

At the core of discussions were the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the global authoritative standard for preventing and addressing negative human rights impacts linked to business activity.

“All too often human rights concerns have fallen by the wayside in the race to attract foreign investment. We have to fundamentally break with this logic and ensure that business and respect for human rights go hand-in-hand,” said AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Aisha Abdullahi.

“The UN Guiding Principles provide a globally agreed global standard on how to make business and human rights work together. What is needed now is to translate these standards into concrete action plans and implementation tools tailored to the realities of African countries,” she added.

The Regional Forum was convened by the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights, with the support of the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Participants from across Africa called for responsible business practices that respect human rights, provide adequate safeguards to protect against business-related rights abuses, and ensure victims can seek redress.

National action plans were identified as an important tool to advance the business and human rights agenda. Such plans should be developed though inclusive consultative processes, bringing on board all stakeholders, to identify problems and find solutions.

At the Regional Forum, the AU Commission and the UN Working Group committed to work jointly to advance the business and human rights agenda. Specific steps include the development of practical tools adapted to the realities in African countries to implement the UN Guiding Principles.

The African Forum will feed into the next global UN Forum on Business and Human Rights – the world’s largest dialogue on business and human rights – to be held in Geneva from 1 to 3 December 2014.

Sep 182014

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 18, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth, will make an official visit to Italy from 22 to 26 September to collect first-hand information from Eritrean refugees and migrants on the human rights situation in Eritrea.

Ms. Keetharuth has made several official requests to visit Eritrea since her appointment in November 2012, which have so far not been granted. She has repeatedly urged the Eritrean authorities to cooperate with her to address the country’s human rights challenges.

“As I have so far been unable to visit Eritrea, I have been meeting Eritrean refugees and migrants, and all those concerned by human rights in Eritrea. These include people who consider themselves to be victims of human rights violations, human rights defenders and other members of civil society,” she said.

During her mission, the Special Rapporteur will interview Eritrean refugees and migrants about the situation of human rights in their home country to corroborate allegations of widespread and systematic violations of human rights that she has received from different sources.

“The creation of a Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea by the Human Rights Council earlier this year offers an adequate platform for the investigation of the most egregious human rights violations in the country,” said Ms. Keetharuth, who will be one of the three members on the panel.

The Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea will investigate all alleged violations of human rights in Eritrea, namely cases of extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearance and incommunicado detention, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, inhumane prison conditions, violations committed in the context of the indefinite national service, and lack of freedom of expression and opinion, assembly, association, religious belief and movement.

Ms. Keetharuth expressed her appreciation that Italy has agreed to provide her with access to interview the Eritrean refugees and migrants residing in the country.

The result of her findings, strictly limited to the situation inside Eritrea, will be reflected in her third report to the Human Rights Council in June 2015.