Reopen the Health Centres operated by the Catholic Church
We, Catholic Professionals from Africa, under the auspices of Pax Romana – ICMICA (the International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs) do condemn the recent action by the Eritrean Government to seize and close all Catholic Church run health facilities in the Country.
The seizure and closing of the health centers, the enforced transfer of property in the health centers, the harassment of patients, staff and religious men and women is totally uncalled for and constitutes a violation of their human rights and particularly the freedom of religion and belief which warrants denunciation.
The closure of the health facilities brings untold suffering to the people they serve some of whom come from remote areas where there is no other health institutions.
Pax Romana ICMICA Africa sees this decision by the Eritrean government, as part of a wider scheme to muzzle the Catholic Church and indeed the citizens of Eritrea in their quest for the restoration of social justice, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, democratic governance and the upholding of the rule of law in Eritrea.
It will be recalled that on 29th April 2019, the Bishops of Eritrea issued a letter calling on the Eritrean Government to initiate a comprehensive truth and reconciliation plan to promote dialogue and strengthen peace building.
This oppressive action by the Eritrean Government goes against the general trend of peace, reconciliation and national healing and against the spirit of the recent peace agreement signed between the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
As a signatory to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Government of Eritrea is bound to observe respect for human rights for its people including the right to respect of the dignity inherent in a human being as espoused in Article 5 of the Charter, the right to liberty and security of the person (Article 6), freedom of conscience, the profession and free practice of religion (Article 8), right to express and disseminate opinions within the law (Article 9), right to property (Article 14) and the right to health (Article 16).
In light of the above, Pax Romana urges the Eritrean government to unconditionally and immediately reinstate and surrender the said health centers to the Catholic Church and facilitate their immediate opening and resumption of normal operations.
We reiterate the need for the Eritrean Government to commit to a process of national reconciliation that would guarantee social justice for all in the country as earlier stated by the Bishops.
We urge the African Union to take the necessary measures to bring the Eritrean government to account for the human rights violations that have persisted in the country for many years.
Pax Romana urges the United Nations to review the membership of Eritrea in the Human Rights Council in light of the human rights violations highlighted herein.
As Catholic professionals from the Africa regional federation of Pax Romana, we stand in solidarity with the people of Eritrea as they seek justice and good governance in their Country.
Sign this urgent petition to ask the government of Eritrea to reopen the health facilities owned by the Catholic Church immediately.
Sign this petition now!
Petition to: The Government of Eritrea