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EU funds contributing to forced conscription in Eritrea

Written questions

The European Commission recently published an information fiche about a programme it is funding in Eritrea under the Trust Fund for Africa.

The Commission states that in addition to ‘government officials’ and ‘those mobilized from local communities on a cash for work basis’, individuals currently conscripted under Eritrea’s national service will provide labour.

As documented by various international organisations and NGO's, Eritrea has a national service under which young people are forced to serve with little to no pay and often without end.

  1. Is the Commission aware of Eritrea’s restrictive conscription service and if so why have national conscripts been included in the list of persons selected to provide labour for this project?
  2. What written commitments has the Commission received from the government of Eritrea concerning the way in which individuals on the national services will be paid, directly and fairly, for their services to these infrastructure projects and will the Commission annex those commitments to its answer to these questions?
  3. If no such commitments have been made or are adhered to and the Commission cannot establish that national conscripts work on these projects out of their own free will, will the Commission consider immediately withdrawing its funding for those parts of this project to which national conscripts forcedly contribute?