AN MP has raised the issue of persecuted Christians in parliament. Hyndburn MP Graham Jones spoke out to ask if the government was probing the issue of mistreated Christians in Eritrea. Reports say people are fleeing the tiny Red Sea state because of religious persecution, including raids and torture. Mr Jones raised the issue on the floor of the Commons and quizzed the staff of the foreign secretary about what was being done. He said:
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“I would ask the secretary when he last discussed the persecution of Christians in Eritrea with firstly the government of Eritrea, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the United Nations’ human rights bodies.”
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Mark Simmonds replied:
“We raise human rights issues, including the persecution of Christians, with the Government of Eritrea at every opportunity and work closely with our partners to coordinate on these issues.
“In June, our ambassador in Asmara raised the persecution of Christians with senior representatives of the Eritrean Government. We work closely with the EU on Eritrea. In December last year, our ambassador alongside EU colleagues called on the Eritrean Government to release all prisoners held for their religious beliefs. We also expressed our concern about freedom of expression and opinion in Eritrea at the UN Human Rights Council.”