Stop Politicizing Human Rights

UN Human Rights Council shouldn't allow the process and outcome of investigation by its rapporteurs to be politicized
UN Human Rights Council shouldn’t allow the process and outcome of investigation by its rapporteurs to be politicized


The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea submitted her “report” to the UN Human Rights Council on 28 May 2013.

Though this report was expected to be the result of a thorough, accurate and impartial investigation in line with the mandate from the Council, a cursory look at it shows it falls far short of the goal.

In fact, it has all the characteristics of a deplorable cut-and-paste job drawing on the piles of misinformation fabricated and orchestrated by Eritrea’s historical enemies over the last decade and half. 

It is for this reason that we urge the members of the UN Human Rights Council to reject the report that clearly tries to advance a political agenda designed by those who used all their resources to deny the Eritrean people their basic rights for nearly six decades. This is just another ploy—war by other means—aimed at Eritrea’s sovereignty to reverse the rights for which the Eritrean people have paid so much in blood and treasure.

The Eritrean community in the Diaspora had expected the Special Rapporteur, as an independent fact finder, to adhere to a higher standard of investigation. 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 organization, like the many other Eritrean Diaspora organizations and individuals that had written to her voicing their desire and demand to see a fair, balanced and just assessment by her of the human rights situation in Eritrea, is a stakeholder and as such had hoped to engage her so as to urge her to follow a strict adherence to the principles of fairness, justice and impartiality when conducting her duties; alas, to our dismay, this is not the case.

In fact, her report is devoid of any semblance of integrity whatsoever. As was indicated in her press release which amounted to a preemption of the purpose of her investigation, regurgitating the same wild, fabricated charges about Eritrea, her report affirms that she depended wholesale on tons of misinformation and disinformation manufactured and circulated over the last decade by the sworn historical enemies of the Eritrean people—the same forces now shedding crocodile tears about human rights in this young, struggling African nation.

We are also equally disappointed to learn, through the emails that she sent in response to queries from the members of our community that she was unable to travel to Europe or to the USA to meet with the Eritrean communities in these regions as part of her fact finding mission; yet she made a point to visit only Ethiopia and Djibouti when she should and could have visited many other countries, where larger Eritrean communities reside and naturally would be under less duress to relate true stories.

We want to underscore that Eritreans waged their long struggle for independence to secure their human rights, rights that were trampled upon by successive Italian, British and Ethiopian rulers. It was also to secure their human rights that they were forced to fend off an Ethiopian aggression in 1998-2000. In this last war, Eritreans and people of Eritrean origin suffered ethnic cleansing, deportation and forced displacement as the International community watched in silence.

Eritrea, under the circumstance is doing the best it can to secure the rights of every Eritrean without regards to religion, ethnic background, gender or class and the fact that Eritreans are active participants in their own affairs, and that Eritrea has met 7 of the 8 UN Millennium Development Goals are also growing indicators of Eritrea’s continued commitment to human rights, despite all the arresting conditions it finds itself in. This is worthy of praise not condemnation. Furthermore, cutting and pasting accusations from the scripts of the same forces that had denied Eritreans their rights for decades should never be mistaken for helping human rights in Eritrea.

We find the Special Rapporteur’s report to be a disingenuous assessment of Eritrea’s reality and takes many of the issues out of context to serve the political agenda of those who pushed for the investigation to take place.

We therefore urge you as a member of the UN Human Rights Council to reject this politically-motivated report which falls far short of the goals you set for it. The Council has an obligation to ensure a thorough, accurate and impartial process of investigation by its rapporteurs into the conditions of human rights in any country to protect the integrity of its mission. It shouldn’t allow the process or the outcome to be politicized.

Unfortunately, the work of the Special Rapporteur in this case was neither thorough nor accurate or impartial.

Download (PDF, 531KB)