On 12th January 2016 Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their assessment of the recent UN Special Rapporteur’s report on the plight of unaccompanied minors who are refugees from Eritrea.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for highlighting what is causing the problem. The UN special rapporteur has identified in this report quite a number of reasons that are driving this terrible situation and, in particular, highlighted human rights issues. A number of people have been arrested, such as the politician Mr Ali Omaro, journalists and the G15 group. Can the Minister update us on the situation of those high-profile people who have been arrested and detained?
Lord Bates: In response to the noble Baroness, Lady Kinnock, there was, on 15 July last year, a response from the Government, by my noble friend Lady Anelay, to that specific report. One of the problems with that report was that the rapporteur, disgracefully in our opinion, was not given access to Asmara and could not go to Eritrea to engage and find out for herself. That is why the dialogues that have been undertaken by Foreign Office officials and James Brokenshire are so important in establishing what is happening on the ground and in holding the Eritrean Government to account on the commitments that they have given.