Event Press Conference: The EU Needs to Stop Supporting Use of Forced Labour in Eritrea

Press Conference: The EU Needs to Stop Supporting Use of Forced Labour in Eritrea

Date(s) - 01/04/2019
16:00 - 17:00

Press Club Brussels Europe


Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans Summons EU to Stop Supporting Use of Forced Labour in Eritrean Project

Brussels, 1 April 2019 – The Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans, a Netherlands-based organization of concerned Eritreans, is taking legal action against the European Union. The EU is financing a project in Eritrea for which forced labour is used. This is a clear violation of human rights and the obligations of the EU in this respect. Today, the EU received a letter in which the Foundation asked the EU to stop this support immediately.

The EU provides €20 million under the ‘EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa’ to companies owned and operated by Eritrea’s ruling party. The funding will be used for the construction of roads in Eritrea. The work on these roads will be undertaken by Eritreans in national service, who are forced to work by the Eritrean regime for nearly no compensation and in terrible conditions. This indefinite national service in Eritrea has been characterized as “enslavement” by the UN and as “forced labour” and “a form of slavery” by the European Parliament.

Eritrea is a country under one-man rule, without democratic institutions, rule of law or respect for human rights. There is convincing evidence the regime is involved in human trafficking of its own citizens. The EU aid directly subsidises this regime. No assurances relating to human rights have been given. The EU will therefore finance the use of forced labour in a construction project from which a dictatorial regime will directly profit.


Mulueberhan Temelso, Director of the Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans

The EU’s funding to Eritrea in light of human rights abuses in Eritrea and human trafficking of Eritrean refugees

Mr. Emiel Jurjens, Attorney-at-law at Kennedy Van der Laan (Amsterdam)

Legal background to the letter of summons to the EU

Prof. Dr. Mirjam van Reisen, Expert on Eritrea and EU cooperation

The impact of EU’s support to regimes involved in human trafficking


The event will be streamed live from the following link from 16:00 (CET):


How to register?

Accredited journalists will be asked to email info@EritreaFoundation.org to register for the event.
Admission is possible at the door. Contact Tel: + 32 496704841

Pictures will be available from:

E-mail Lawyer: Emiel.Jurjens@kvdl.com

E-mail Foundation: Info@EritreaFoundation.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/FoundationHumanRightsforEritreans

Twitter: www.twitter.com/EriFoundation1