Human Rights and Eritrea’s Reality

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Setting the Records Straight
Setting the Records Straight


The Eritrean Global Movement Against Unjust Sanctions (ESMART) is submitting this document because it had hoped to engage, the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Eritrea, as an independent fact finder, so that she can adhere to a higher standard of investigation, despite early signs to the contrary.

We had expected the employment in her investigation of nothing less than a solid due process that is characterized by a clearly defined notice and hearing procedures, objectivity and reasonableness. 

Our movement, like the many other Diaspora Eritrean organizations and individuals that had written to her voicing their desire and demand to see a fair, balanced and just assessment of the human rights situation in Eritrea, hopes to see a strict adherence to the principles of fairness, justice and impartiality from the UN Human Rights Council.

Nearly 200 Eritrean organizations in the diaspora had tried to engage the Special Rapporteur asking her to give them time to talk to her, excerpts of about 25 of them are included in Annex 1, her response, usually after a month delay, was that she was not able to come to Europe or the US. Sample’s of her generic responses are in Annex 2. It is after learning that she was not willing to meet with the main stakeholders, and reading her report we are forced to compile this preliminary document for the benefit of Council members and other interested parties.

The Special Rapporteur’s report regurgitates the same wild and unfounded charges about Eritrea fabricated and being orchestrated over the last decade and half by Eritrean people’s sworn enemies. Enemies who through an active and complicit help of some powerful allies and silence of indifference of others have brought enumerable human rights abuses on a hard working, God fearing population.

We are equally disappointed to learn, through the emails that she sent to some members of our community, that she was not willing to travel to Europe or to the USA to meet with the real stakeholders as part of her fact finding mission. Instead she chose to investigate issues in Eritrea from Mauritius, the conference halls of Banjul and Geneva as well as the libraries of Ethiopia. To add insult to injury her mission was limited to Ethiopia and Djibouti when she should and could have visited many other countries, where larger Eritrean communities reside. It is obvious that her mission has been compromised due to her inability to travel to at least the major cities in the world where larger Eritrean communities reside and could relate their stories without duress. As an independent fact finder and, more importantly, as a lawyer, we had expect her to adhere to a higher standard of care. We had expected the employment in her investigation of nothing less than a solid due process that is characterized by a clearly defined notice and hearing procedures, objectivity and reasonableness.

However, instead of going where the facts lead her, and doing her best to corroborate the stories she was told, she decided to do it the lazy way: lift, wholesale, form the pile up disinformation that had been written about Eritrea by some politically motivated groups.

We want to underline from the outset, this whole exercise didn’t originate out of desire to help human rights in Eritrea, but to punish Eritrea for standing to the powers that are dominating the world today. These same powers that not long ago where trading people created in the image of God like any animal, and even today cannot swallow the fact that “all people are created equal” are now attempting to play judge, witness and jury, to condemn countries. We would like to express our dismay that the UN Human Rights Council has allowed itself to be used as a political tool to punish Eritrea for not toeing the line of some powerful members of the Council. This is unacceptable. That is why we are submitting this document, highlighting the historical and socio-political realities pertaining to Eritrea and the Eritrean people.

Eritrea is a nation striving to secure its sovereignty from an attack of a neighbor whose war-machine is well greased by the billions of direct and indirect aid it receives from nations that are writing all the unsubstantiated report about Eritrea. It is as an express manifestation of their continued hostilities, the powerful members of the Council rammed the appointment of a Special Rapporteur, even though it was clear it was a politically motivated decision. The hostilities of these forces is designed to serve as an obstruction to Eritrea’s desire to live with dignity, in harmony, enjoying peace and security, and charting their organic path of social justice and democracy. It has become crystal clear Eritrea’s sworn enemies don’t want to see the realization of these noble objectives. In spite of all the unwarranted hostilities it is facing and arresting conditions it finds itself in, Eritrea is making a commendable stride despite this should be worthy of commendation not condemnation.

We can assure you that what A/HRC/RES/20/20 has listed cannot be any further from the reality that exists in Eritrea today, and these issues are not something can investigate sitting in Mauritius and reading reports. In this vein, we want to state that we are categorically opposed to A/HRC/RES/20/20 of 6 July 2012 and A/HRC/RES/21/1 of 26 September 2012 resolutions issued by the UN Human Rights Council.

Labeling Eritrea as a country with “widespread and systematic violations” of human rights and a place where “grave violations of human rights by the Eritrean authorities against their own population and fellow citizens, including violations of civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights, and the alarming number of civilians fleeing Eritrea as a result of those violations” is not only far from the truth, but also is an accusation lifted off the script of the enemies of Eritrea, the very same forces that have been denying the people of Eritrea their basic human rights for more than seven decades.

Contrary to all the allegations submitted and the offensive wording of A/HRC/RES/20/20, Eritreans are lucky to have a government that is working day and night to ensure that their fundamental rights are guaranteed—the right to liberty, democracy, dignity, security, prosperity, food security, healtheducation, and equally but more important harmony across religious, ethnic and gender lines.

We would like to tell you, as members of the Eritrean community in the Diaspora that frequently visit Eritrea, follow every detail of events and actively participate and contribute to the development efforts in Eritrea, all the accusations that are being leveled against Eritrea are false and baseless. They are devoid of facts. Eritrean reality is being taken out of context and distorted without recognition and some issues are blown out of proportion to serve the political agenda of Eritrea’s enemies.

In short, we are writing this document in order to set the record straight and to put issues in their proper context. Attached are statements of facts, which we believe you will find helpful in considering the prevalent situation in Eritrea.

Finally, in the interest of protecting the integrity of the Council, we urge you to reject the report and not renew her mandate, not only had she failed the people of Eritrea, she has also failed the UN Human Rights Council.

Writing a report concerning human rights in Eritrea without understanding the nature of its struggle for independence, and without walking in its shoes, will not make one an expert on issues of Human Rights. All freedom-loving Eritreans fought, bled, and died to usher the respect of Human Rights for all Eritreans. It is unfortunate that some powerful countries are ganging up against Eritrea using the UN as their tool.

This is unacceptable; it has to change.

The following is the full context of the document. It can also be download by CLICKING HERE

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