By Berhane Alazar ,
KNOWING well the history of the UN’s biased and unprincipled stand against Eritrea, I can’t say that I was surprised by the latest salvo hurled at the people and government of Eritrea by the so called “Commission of Inquiry” on what it terms the “Human rights situations in Eritrea”. No, I didn’t misread the disingenuous “Sympathy” the report purports to expresses on the “Suffering” of our people, as if the authors of that silly report care more about the welfare of the Eritrean people than the Government of Eritrea (GoEr)!
The fallacy of the politically motivated accusations leveled against the GoEr, which of course are patently offensive and, at best, highly exaggerated accusations that were based on information of less credible sources, appear to have been collected simply by hearsay and innuendos. But, even if a quarter of the accusations, that apparently have been ‘cut and pasted’ – the same accusations we have been hearing now for the last 17 years or so, have had any semblance of truth in them, the Eritrean people would have addressed those “Unbearable persecutions” tooth and nail in a heartbeat.
The Eritreans who singlehandedly fought heroically for decades against heavily armed enemy forces; have won their independence, in spite of all the hurdles thrown at them by Ethiopia and its many handlers, are surely capable of handling their own affairs if they are left alone from the prying eyes and self-appointed “concerned parties” of the US-dominated UN and some of its branches.
The latest UN report, which is no different than those we have been reading for the last several years, attempts to force, yet again, some sensational “News” pieces down the throat of a gullible world audience as some facts based on veracity. The authors are doing this without any tangible and verifiable incidences or occurrences, but by simply regurgitating “Information” gathered from some Eritrean runaways and draft dodgers, and Ethiopian officials, whose arrogant stand on the implementation of the “Final and binding” ruling of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) is contributing to the prevailing so called ‘No-peace, no-war’ situation by refusing to abide by the rule of law, in the first place.
Among other things, the report accuses Eritrea of “systematic use of extrajudicial killing, torture, rape, indefinite national service and forced labor”. The report would have been okay, even useful, had it been written based on some tangible and verifiable concrete incidents. However, lacking credibility, it simply exposes the group’s evil mission to politically destabilize Eritrea, the only country that has been regularly described as the “Island of peace” in the politically unstable Horn of Africa region.
In spite of the report’s false accusations, there are no killings, extrajudicial or not, there are no systemic torture or institutional rape in the country! The only items that may be open to interpretations are the issue of National Service or what the report conveniently labeled as “Forced Labor”.
The National Service is a salient program that most Eritreans proudly accept as a national honor, by which they happily and willingly serve their country and people. That program, which was enacted in 1994, was meant to offer an opportunity for the young men and women of Eritrea, to enhance their educational level coupled with practical vocational training, and enrich their social interaction between the various nationalities that call Eritrea – “Home”!
The military aspect of the program was never meant to be more than a six month exercise and still remains so. But, due to UN’s irresponsible activities that encourages Ethiopia to make a mockery of justice, the entire program has been extended for some Eritreans who were obliged to be in the program longer than what the intended time was. As a matter of fact, the fault here rests squarely on the UN and its inept apparatus, which has become a joke of the world for its unprincipled and biased stand against Eritrea, the one party that has stood tall in implementing just about every aspect of the EEBC ‘Final and binding’ decisions‘.
So, if the bleeding hearts of the UN so called “Human Rights” group wanted the Eritrean youth to serve no longer than prescribed, then, they should have the fairness and judicial prowess to force Ethiopia to get the hell out of all Eritrean sovereign territories it has been illegally occupying since 1999, with the approval of non-other than the United States, which is one of the 2000 “Algiers Peace Treaty” witness’ and guarantors! Once that is done, there would not be any need for our youth to serve their beloved country longer than what the program calls for.
What about the so called “Forced labor” the UN loves to toot? What forced labor are the so called “Human Rights” group of the inept UN would like us to believe? If the participation of our youth in the rehabilitation program of Eritrea and its infrastructure, popularly known as “ወፍሪ ዋርሳይ ይከኣሎ” (wefri warsai ykealo) is what the protagonists are calling forced [slave] labor, that would be tantamount to demeaning and whitewashing the real slave labor, of the type that used to be practiced in countries like the US before the turn of the century. While the participants of the “ወፍሪ ዋርሳይ ይከኣሎ” program may not get paid commensurate to the valuable services they render to their people and country, they realize what the GoEr is providing them in monetary and other subsidized consumer goods is what the government could afford at this time and they are appreciative of it.
Here again, instead of shedding crocodile tears and acting ‘Holier than Thou’, if the UN has a genuine concern for the well-being of our people, the smart and wise thing to do is to stop demonizing Eritrea at every blink of the eye and remove the illegal and unjust sanctions it has shamelessly imposed on the magnanimous, peace loving, down to earth honest and hardworking people of Eritrea. Then and only then can its “Concern” be taken as genuine concern for human rights rather than its vain attempt to run away from the crimes, in one way or the other, the UN continues to inflict on our people.
More than sixty years of abuse and slanderous activity by the UN on the innocent people of Eritrea is more than a crime. The UN needs to stop its double talk and treat all its members with neutrality, equality and fairness. Yes, the word “Fairness” got to be inserted in the hitherto unknown word in whatever dictionary the UN uses. As to the people of Eritrea, we will continue to do what we always have been, and that is, we will defend our rights and stand by our government rain or shine. We strongly believe that it is none of anybody’s business what type of administration we have back home. We are the sole owners of the type of government and administration we like to see in our country and our program remains on track and that is for us to know and for the UN to speculate, if it chooses to continue to ignore the plight of our people and country.
It is a shame and completely unacceptable that the UN found it appropriate to publish its slanderous hullabaloo at a time when Eritreans all over the world were celebrating their hard fought and hard won independence of their country and indeed when they were getting ready to solemnly remember their fallen heroes without whose selfless sacrifices Eritrean independence wouldn’t have been a reality!
Eternal Glory to our Martyrs