AFTER reviewing the Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights (COI) established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 26/24, CECCO has a number of concerns regarding its methodology, findings and conclusions.
CECCO believes that the lack of reliable and verifiable data in this report calls into question its portrayal of the actual human rights situation in Eritrea. The fact that many of the COI findings contradict a recent fact-finding mission report published by the Danish Immigration Service (DIS) supports CECCO’s concerns of the lack of accurate and relevant information.
CECCO believes that human rights cannot be discussed in a vacuum and must be considered under the context of the continued occupation of Eritrea’s territory by Ethiopia.The United Nations and the guarantors of the Algiers Peace Agreement bear the responsibility to end Ethiopia’s illegal occupation. Avoiding or minimizing the impact of Ethiopia’s flagrant violation of its treaty obligations on Eritrean society is irresponsible.
The report does not sufficiently situate Eritrean youth migration in the context of a larger global socio-economic phenomenon affecting Africa. It also ignores the voices of Eritreans in our communities who asserted a more balanced portrayal of challenges they faced before leaving their native land. The pre-selected witnesses in the COI report were asylum-seekers who have every reason to exaggerate or misrepresent their situation. Encouraging them to participate in a study that would have an immediate impact on their future asylum aspirations places refugees in a morally untenable position and pressures them to tell stories of persecution.
The fact is that refugees come from many different African countries but to single out one country to condemn, isolate and shame is totally inconsistent with the expected level of accountability and morality for an international institution like the United Nations.
The report also ignores the actual human rights achievements in many sectors including, health, education, infrastructure and gender equality.
CECCO has witnessed a worrisome sign of the deterioration and impartiality of organizations that claim to advocate in the name of human rights. These organizations including the COI, have clearly politicized the issue of human rights with detrimental effects to those that these very institutions claim to protect.
The exclusion of CECCO, its leadership, its represented organizations and the 30,000 Canadians of Eritrean origin from providing feedback and opinion is proof of a political bias and machinations to invoke harm in the name of human rights.
Finally, CECCO condemns this inaccurate, sensationalist and utterly irresponsible report.