Statement: Grave human rights abuses continue in Eritrea

41st Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Interactive Dialogue on the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea

CIVICUS, along with eight other Africa-based organisations, (see below) welcomes the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Eritrea and we ask the UN Human Rights Council as a matter of urgency to renew the mandate, so that the Special Rapporteur can continue its vital monitoring of and reporting on the human rights situation in Eritrea.

There remain significant and urgent human rights concerns in Eritrea, despite recent diplomatic and bi-lateral developments between Eritrea and Ethiopia and its ongoing dialogues with Djibouti. Civic space is closed, with freedom of expression and peaceful assembly wilfully subverted by the authorities. There is no independent media, and at least 16 journalists remain in detention without trial since the country’s free press was shuttered two decades ago. As the Special Rapporteur highlighted in her report, there exists a culture of impunity for the perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses, including arbitrary and incommunicado detention.

We regret that the Eritrean government refuses to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Eritrea, and other UN Human Rights Council mechanisms. Eritrea has never received any mandate holder. This lack of the bear minimum of engagement is unacceptable for a member of the Human Rights Council.

The Special Rapporteur presented a number of welcome benchmarks for human rights progress in her report, and we would like to ask her to elaborate how to operationalize such benchmarks for follow up.

Mr. Vice President, if the mandate of the Special Rapporteur is not renewed, the Council risks losing this opportunity to address in any way the grave serious human rights abuses occurring in one of its member states. The Council therefore must ensure the continuation of this mandate We call on the government of Eritrea to fully cooperate and allow comprehensive access to all UN Human Rights Council mechanisms.

  1. Africa Monitors
  3. Eritrean Diaspora in East Africa (EDEA)
  4. Eritrea Focus
  5. Eritrean Law Society (ELS)
  6. Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMHDR)
  7. Network of Eritrean Women
  8. RSF Afrique
  9. PEN Eritrea