UPDATE 2-UN finds Eritrea may have committed crimes against humanity

Mon Jun 8, 2015 2:47pm EDT
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By Tom Miles

GENEVA, June 8 (Reuters) - Eritrea may have committed crimes against humanity, a year-long U.N. human rights inquiry said in a report published on Monday describing extrajudicial killings, widespread torture, sexual slavery and enforced labour.

"The commission finds that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed in Eritrea under the authority of the Government," the 484-page report of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry said.

Slavery-like practices are routine and torture is so widespread that the commission said it could only conclude that the government's policy was to encourage its use.

The commission said it asked Eritrea for access and information during its inquiry but "received no response."

Reuters was unable to immediately reach Eritrean officials for comment.

One of the commissioners said the commission's mandate did not extend to "international crimes" so it could not confirm that Eritrea had committed crimes against humanity or recommend referral to the International Criminal Court.

It would be up to a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting later this month to decide on any further steps, the commissioner, Sheila Keetharuth, said.   Continued...