Eritrea: UN expert to investigate pervasive rights abuses as part of ‘historic’ inquiry

29 September 2014 – Amid forced conscription, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, the human rights situation in Eritrea continues to remain “dire,” a United Nations independent expert warned, adding that a new Commission of Inquiry

29 September 2014 – Amid forced conscription, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, the human rights situation in Eritrea continues to remain “dire,” a United Nations independent expert warned, adding that a new Commission of Inquiry would help “pave the way” to accountability.

“The creation of my Special Rapporteur’s mandate has increased international awareness about the large-scale violations of human rights in Eritrea,” said Sheila B. Keetharuth, adding that “concrete steps are urgently needed to address such violations.”

Her comments followed a five-day mission to Italy, where she visited Eritrean refugees and migrants and collected their first-hand accounts.

The widespread abuses allegedly faced by many in the Horn of Africa nation have prompted hundreds of Eritreans to flee their home country in search of asylum in Europe. According to the latest estimates produced by Italian authorities, 32,000 Eritreans were rescued in 2014 as they attempted to traverse the Mediterranean – the majority of all migrants rescued by Italy’s comprehensive Mare Nostrum operation.

“Eritreans are escaping systematic and widespread human rights violations,” Ms. Keetharuth said in a news release, citing indefinite forced conscription, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and inhumane prison conditions, as well as political repression.

Last Friday, the UN Human Rights Council appointed Mike Smith of Australia and Victor Dankwa of Ghana to join Ms. Keetharuth on a Commission of Inquiry to investigate all reports of human rights abuses in Eritrea in what the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has described as a “historic moment” for the thousands of possible victims.

As part of its mandate, the Commission will investigate “the most egregious human rights violations,” including cases of extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearance and incommunicado detention, torture, and lack of freedom of expression and opinion, assembly, association, religious belief and movement.

The Special Rapporteur urged the Government and people of Eritrea, as well as the international community, to cooperate with the Commission’s inquiry.

“I hope the Commission of Inquiry would pave the way to establish accountability for these violations,” said Ms. Keetharuth, “especially in view of the continued non-cooperation of Eritrea with my mandate and other UN mechanisms.”

Independent experts or special rapportUNeurs are appointed by the Geneva-based Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

Source: UN News Wire

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38 COMMENTS
  • baduri himedin October 2, 2014

    The dictator may not allow this commission of inquiry to travel to Eritrea. but the current victims currently in the diaspora may give enough eye witness accounts.

  • B. Michael October 2, 2014

    Massawa.
    Are we all regionalist? How come you accuse all of us, that is, you included? Do you know about the Liar Paradox? An interesting paradox of philosophy attributed to Epimenides, the Cretan. I feel am repeating myself. Perhaps you are excessively negative. If you find too many regionalist individuals and groups, just recognize them and eliminate them with no mercy. But first, identify them as redundant and useless!
    I do not know about your in-numeracy. No need to be numerate in order to be honest. However if you really believe we are too many dishonest Eritreans or the great majority of us are biased, some way or the other, are some diehard regionalist among us, then cancel and eliminate from discussion them, once you realize you cannot correct or convince them.
    By analogy, you apply what they call Gram-Schmidt / Gauss-Jordan elimination and reduction process, a Linear Algebra / matrix operation, whatever. In relevant context you can cancel any number of linear equations safely, once you see they are multiple quantities / representing parallel lines! You throw them, as quite useless equations! Two system of linear equations have no solution? they are parallel lines and at least one is redundant. If only equations were that easy to solve. If only regionalist people were constructive
    Let Eritrea stand and forward!

    • Simon G. October 2, 2014

      Brother/Sister B,
      But the world is non-linear. Think of analog and try to quantize it. Just a suggestion.

    • Massawa October 2, 2014

      “Are we all regionalist? How come you accuse all of us, that is, you included? ”

      B. Michael

      I don’t have statistical figures to prove it, but from what I see and hear, we don’t have much sympathy for someone we don’t know: the ‘other’.
      Imagine the neighbors reacting with utter indifference to cries of a family, after security agents took a young man to forced conscription, or an elderly man to Iseyas’ gulag: “ghele gheru ki khown alewo …” (He/she may have done something wrong …).
      With the exception of very few, out of ten people you talk to (randomly taken samples) at least 6 feel “it’s-because-of-the other”. The “other” is as place holder for someone from a different region/religion/ethnic group etc.
      In the last ten years after the kidnapping and disappearing became very common, i.e. when the regime knocked on many doors in the night, the attitudes started to change, but very slowly.
      By the way, this is not an exclusive Eritrean reality, it’s all over the so-called third world.
      Am I a regionalist ?, well … yes. But I try to see the positive side of it.
      Am I a sectarian ?, definitely no. I am religious but not sectarian.
      Unless first we send the demons inside us to hell, we will not be able to defeat the monster and his regime.
      Let’s admit it, we are too divided. I know the regime is working hard to widen the gap, but we too are helping them by not putting our humanity first.
      Eritrea is been dismantled by a dooms day group, while we are doing nothing to stop it.

  • B. Michael October 2, 2014

    At least two corrections:
    eliminate from discussion them, to be read as “eliminate them from discussion”
    Let Eritrea stand and forward tob read as ” Let Eritrea stand and go forqard”
    Thank you.

    • Tamrat Tamrat October 3, 2014

      You better includ them in discussion than you start using physical elimination like your boss, hgdef. Regionalism is not negative. Infact regionalism is the consquence of dictatorial and abusive government. I give you assignment. Check the statistics of eritreans and compare the number of muslim Girls joining Sawa. Then tell me your take on this topic.

      • Kafil October 3, 2014

        “Check the statistics of eritreans and compare the number of muslim Girls joining Sawa. Then tell me your take on this topic”

        Tamrat Tamrat

        I didn’t get your message, can please elaborate more on what you call “muslim Girls joinig Sawa” ?

  • B. Michael October 2, 2014

    Hasty correction again: go forqard to be read as “go forward”

  • B. Michael October 2, 2014

    Brother/Sister Simon G.

    You pick the analogy. And you forget the reality I try to picture

  • Mulue October 2, 2014

    The UN must use force to investigate the human right violaton in Eritrea!!!!

  • Truly Truly i say to you October 3, 2014

    Ameasing! These two main human right violation did not mention in Ms´s Keetharuth, “ report.
    Number one, After two years interval for the third time again that erupted devastating Badme war was caused because Isyas rejected the US and Rwanda peace plan and without consulted with Eritreans because alone decided was. At the result in only two weeks time from Eritrea side 24, 000 innocent citizens perished , thousands disabled, and a million displaced. I wonder the investigation commission why did not include in its report to this worst war crime? Is it really because the case hidden from US and world community is that or Ms´s Keethruth didn´t well inform about?
    2nd, Please where on earth has been seen when a dictator for 24 years without any election and constitution by holding power when oppressing people? Even those world known dictators be Sadam Husein or Gadafi, be Mubarak or Ben Ali, Castro or Kim Jong-il or Sung what hell called their names, even it be in undemocratic way but they holding power through election was and they also have a constitution. May again Ms´s Keethruth didn´t know as there is no election and constitution in Eritrea or what?
    Anyway these two worst human right violation, do not need deep investigation or hard evidence, for everyone who seriously concerns about justice the issue is obvious. So instead sanctioned our nation and at a result make suffer our innocent people and nation, the right justice was Isayas self should to be punished or at least in Den hag should to face justice for he caused war, genocide and countless crime and human right violation against helpless Eritrean people.

  • B. Michael October 3, 2014

    Massawa

    Your statement reads as :
    Am I a regionalist ?, well … yes. But I try to see the positive side of it.
    Am I a sectarian ?, definitely no. I am religious but not sectarian.

    It is good enough to me. If you are positive besides being regionalist, I choose to understand that your positive side wins over your regionalism as intended negative regionalism. It is important to recognise and respect your region, your and my Eritrean region. If you allow to put it that way.
    I do not want to read between the lines and dots, I assume you wanted to be concise which again is good habit, and thanks for avoiding Statistics. I am a bit allergic to counting Eritrean or other calamities, even when one has something ready-made and correct about them.
    For example, the counting of Lampedusa victims is both partial, painful and a tragedy of our history. Partial? Yes, because as anyone can guess the number is much higher and one is too many. Guesswork would show a much more apprehensive Eritrean reality.
    I wish you Eritrean wellbeing!

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