Rapporteur to Lead UN Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea?

Lost credibility. From the onset Sheila Keetharuth acts as an activist rather than a mandate holder. Her involvement will lead to a deadlock
Lost credibility. From the onset Sheila Keetharuth acts as an activist rather than a mandate holder. Her involvement will lead to a deadlock

By UN Watch,

THE 47 member states of the UN Human Rights Council are expected to vote in favor or against creating a commission of inquiry into the alleged human rights abuses in Eritrea, as proposed in a draft resolution, sponsored by Somalia, that is slated for a vote today.

If adopted, the resolution would “strongly condemn” the Eritrean government for perpetrating “widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The controversial text cites arbitrary and extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, the use of torture, arbitrary and incommunicado detention without recourse to justice, and detention in inhumane and degrading conditions. 

The resolution would also condemn Eritrea’s widely-criticized National Service for conscripting citizens for indefinite periods of time as the text likened it “as a system that amounts to forced labor.”


Most critically, the resolution would create the first-ever commission of inquiry to investigate “all alleged violations of human rights in Eritrea” as outlined in the annual reports of the council’s already-existing Special Rapporteur on Eritrea, Sheila Keetharuth.

The inquiry would be composed of three UN experts, including the Special Rapporteur. The draft resolution would also renew Keetharuth’s one-year mandate.

“UN Watch commends Somalia for its leadership on the resolution, which is co-sponsored by France, and urges the international community to rally behind it and send the message that the time has arrived to seek minimal human rights accountability from the Eritrean government,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

During the UN’s recent quadrennial review of Eritrea’s human rights record, representatives of Eritrea made it clear that they are only accepting 91 out of the 200 recommendations that only shows lack of any tangible improvements.

UN Watch has been a leading voice in the Council’s 26th session for accountability in Eritrea, taking the floor twice to condemn Eritrea’s abuses using its two new members Meron Estifanos and Selam Kidane.