Human Rights Council: 32nd Session

CIVICUS and Citizens for Democratic Rights in Eritrea welcome the report of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Eritrea. 

We remain deeply concerned by the findings presented in the CoI’s report, including those amounting to crimes against humanity, which indicate that there has been no material improvement in human rights situation on the ground. We note with particular alarm that extensive violations of freedom of expression, assembly and association continue unabated. The absolute and violent repression of all forms of dissent and civil society freedoms in Eritrea is emblematic of the extreme consequences of denying people the right to participate in the development of the state.

The CoI has also found that there has been no change in Eritrea’s national service policy since the CoI’s was establishment and further documented the use of reprisals, including extrajudicial executions, for evasion of conscription. Most recently, on 3 April 2016, armed forces opened fire in the centre of the capital Asmara, killing an unconfirmed number of young conscripts, who were being transferred from Tessney to Massawa, and attempted to visit their families while in Asmara.

Mr President, in light of the complete absence of national mechanisms to address the CoI’s findings at the national level and the Eritrean Government’s refusal to make necessary reforms to address these abuses, it is imperative that the international community, including the Council, supports access to justice for the victims of the government’s grave and systematic violations of international human rights law.

We therefore urge the Council to take the following measures, including:

  • Renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea and ensure that the mandate holder has the authority to promote of and report on the implementation of the CoI’s recommendations; 
  • Supporting the establishment of Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with a protection and promotion mandate to assist in ensuring accountability for grave human rights violations, including crimes against humanity, in Eritrea;
  • Requesting the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report regularly on the situation of human rights in Eritrea and; 
  • Transmitting the CoI’s report to the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council, and the UN Secretary-General.
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