UN Says Eritrea's Aid Needs, Human Rights Discussed During Visit

  • Talks dealt with `full range of challenges' facing nation
  • Eritrea president has said regional drought won't cause crisis

A United Nations delegation concluded a visit to Eritrea, where it discussed human rights and humanitarian needs with the Horn of Africa country’s government.

Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang led the three-day trip, which included meetings with Eritrea’s foreign affairs, agriculture, health and information ministers, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement from the capital, Asmara.

Talks dealt with the “full range of challenges facing Eritrea, including human rights and the role of the UN and international actors in support of government endeavors to meet basic needs and build the resilience of the most vulnerable communities in the country,” the agency said. It didn’t give further details.

The El Nino weather phenomenon has caused the worst drought in at least three decades in Ethiopia, Eritrea’s southern neighbor, where more than 10 million people are in need of food assistance. Eritreans fleeing forced labor and conscription make up the biggest source of African migrants who crossed into Europe by sea in the first six months of 2015, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki said in an interview with state media last week that the country won’t face any crisis, even after reduced agricultural output, because the government has bolstered strategic food reserves.

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