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UN investigator says Eritreans experienced torture and sexual violence during national service

KEYT

By EDITH M. LEDERER
Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A U.N. independent investigator on human rights says Eritrean refugees and asylum-seekers report that during compulsory national service they experienced torture, inhumane or degrading treatment, sexual and gender-based violence, forced labor and abusive conditions. Mohamed Babiker says Eritrea has a policy of indefinite national service and has ignored numerous calls from human rights bodies to ensure legal limits for the duration of such service and to protect the human rights of all participants. Eritrea maintains its national service is “unfairly judged.” But Babiker says in a report circulated Monday that he continues to receive “numerous and credible reports of grave human rights violation in the context of forced national/military service.”

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