UN rights chief accuses Eritrea of torture, killings

June 18, 2012 16:35

GENEVA - United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay accused on Monday gold-rich Eritrea, which holds a strategic stretch of the Red Sea coast, of carrying out torture and summary executions.

Pillay told the UN Human Rights Council there were between 5,000 and 10,000 political prisoners in the secretive African nation of some 6 million people which has been ruled by a single party and president since independence from Ethiopia in 1993.

"The human rights situation in Eritrea is a matter of deep concern," said Pillay, a South African former senior judge on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, who has just had her four-year term extended for a further two years.

"Credible sources indicate that violations of human rights include arbitrary detention, torture, summary executions, forced labor, forced conscription, and restrictions to freedom of movement, expression, assembly and religion," she said.

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