Coalition to Protest Outside Eritrean Embassy on Human Rights Day

A coalition of leading human rights organisations operating in Eritrea has organised a peaceful protest outside the Eritrean Embassy in Islington, London in the lead up to the International Human Rights Day 2006 on 10 December.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Release Eritrea and Eritreans for Human and Democratic Rights (EHDR) are highlighting the fact that several thousand prisoners of conscience are detained without charge or trial in Eritrea.

Protesters will seek to highlight the wide-ranging human rights abuses carried out by the Eritrean regime, including the pervasive use of torture and extra-judicial killings in the country's many detention centres.

The London protest will mark the culmination of a series of demonstrations organised by the Eritrean Diaspora during 2006. Similar demonstrations have already been held in South Africa, the USA and the Netherlands.

The demonstration will take place on Friday 8 December from 14:00-17:00 outside the Eritrean Embassy in London.

In other news regarding CSW, the organisation's President, Jonathan Aitken, has held a meeting with Australia's foreign Minister, the Hon Alexander Downer MP, to discuss the rising incidence of religious persecution in the Asia-Pacific region, during a recent visit to Canberra.

Mr Aitken briefed the Foreign Minister on cases highlighted by CSW's recent reports in Indonesia, China, Malaysia and Myanmar (Burma).

"Alexander Downer and his civil servants were aware of the problems I raised," said Mr Aitken. "We had a useful discussion. The Minister said he would be ready to study representations from CSW and its branch members in Australia to see what appropriate action might be taken by the Australian government on individual cases."

Mr Aitken was visiting Australia last week at the invitation of the all party Parliamentary Christian Fellowship. He was the keynote speaker at the Australia National Prayer Breakfast in Parliament House, Canberra.

In addition to meeting the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, on behalf of CSW, Mr Aitken also had meetings with the Prime Minister, John Howard, the leader of the Opposition and other Australian political leaders.