UN Sanctions and Its Impact on Eritrea’s Infrastructure

News Politics
Weakening Eritrea's economy and defensive capabilities are the subject of the unjust UNSC sanctions
Weakening Eritrea’s economy and defense capabilities are the subject of the unjust UNSC sanctions


Since December 2009, The UNSC [United Nations Security Council] has imposed two illegal, unjust, and unfair sanctions on Eritrea, solely based on false accusations, personal vendetta, and sheer hypocrisy.

The first sanctions, Adopted by the Security Council at its 6254th meeting, was imposed on December 23, 2009 [known as 1862/2009] that primarily dealt an arms embargo on Eritrea.

The second one was also imposed on December 5, 2011[known as 1907/2011] that attempted to derail the economic take off of Eritrea. These sanctions were imposed during Christmas Season, as if to send bad tidings to the Eritrean people. What a crude timing!

How do UN sanctions come about?

It is, and has been, the weapon of the “nuclear amassing powerful nations” primarily designated to show brute diplomatic force on smaller and powerless nations. The Five Permanent members of the UNSC: China, France, Great Britain, Russia, and the USA, who wield veto power at the UNSC, use sanctions to further their own national agenda and interests. They do not care about the national aspirations of smaller and powerless countries! They seem to own the whole world, and wish other countries to bow down and worship them.

Within the UN, The UNSC is the most undemocratic institution and full of horse-trading business enterprise. The 10 additional and rotating members of the UNSC do not have any power, but are used as pawns that serve at the behest of the five countries. By using a veto power, the five countries have thwarted the peaceful co-existence of the countries of the world. It is due to the veto power, and undemocratic nature of the UNSC, that we do not have any workable or permanent peace in Africa, the Middle east, the Far east, as well as in the Caribbean islands.

Let us define what sanction means. In its simplest form, it means “explicit or official approval, permission, or ratification; an economic or military coercive measure adopted usually by several nations in concert for forcing a nation violating international law to desist or yield to adjudication”.

According to Bridget Johnson and Grace Fleming the UNSC uses sanctions to further a political objective, so that countries may unilaterally or as part of a coalition take out diplomatic, economic or military sanctions on a country or countries. This can involve revoking diplomatic ties and recalling an ambassador, placing bans on financial or trade transactions, or arms embargoes.”

In December 2009, the UNSC sanctions stated:

“Recalling its previous resolutions and statements of its President concerning the situation in Somalia and the border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea, in particular its resolutions 751 (1992), 1844 (2008), and 1862 (2009), and its statements of 18 May 2009 (S/PRST/2009/15), 9 July 2009 (S/PRST/2009/19), 12 June 2008 (S/PRST/2008/20).

It “Further noting the decision of the 13th Assembly of the AU in Sirte, Libya, expressing its grave concern at the total absence of progress regarding the implementation by Eritrea of, inter alia, resolution 1862 (2009) regarding the border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea (S/2009/388), Decides that all Member States shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the sale or supply to Eritrea by their nationals or from their territories or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, and technical assistance, training, financial and other assistance, related to the military activities or to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of these items, whether or not originating in their territories, ……”.

This one was designed to weaken Eritrea militarily, and let it be exposed to Ethiopian aggression on a continuous basis. Eritrea has no territorial ambitions over Ethiopia or Djibouti. Ethiopia is the one that, being directed by the Obama Administration, and Susan Rice’s personal animosity towards Eritrea that manufactured the genesis of the 1st sanctions. Ethiopia’s main objective is to get access to the Red Sea or topple the Eritrean government and wishes to establish a puppet government that will be subservient to the desires of Addis Abeba.

The 2nd one, Adopted by the Security Council at its 6674th meeting, was taken on 5 December 2011, states the same way, except it added the “Diaspora 2% taxes, and the mining sector of Eritrea”, which was an attempt to emasculate the infrastructure of the life-line of the Eritrean economy.

It further stated:

“ Expressing grave concern at the findings of the Somalia/Eritrea Monitoring Group [SEMG] report of 18 July 2011 (S/2011/433), that Eritrea has continued to providing political, financial, training and logistical support to armed opposition groups, including Al-Shabaab, engaged in undermining peace, security and stability in Somalia and the region,

“Taking note of the Decision of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government held in January 2010 and the Communiqué of the AU Peace and Security Council held on 8 January 2010, welcoming the adoption, by the United Nations (UN) Security Council on 23 December 2009, of resolution 1907 (2009), which imposes sanctions on Eritrea, for, among other things, providing political, financial, and logistical support to armed groups engaged in undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia and regional stability; stressing the need to pursue vigorously the effective implementation of Resolution 1907 (2009), and expressing its intention to apply targeted sanctions against individuals and entities if they meet the listing criteria set out in paragraph 15 of resolution 1907 (2009) and paragraph 8 of resolution 1844 (2008),

Noting the decision by the 18th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), calling on the Security Council to take measures to ensure that Eritrea desists from its destabilization activities in the Horn of Africa,

Condemns the use of the “Diaspora tax” on Eritrean diaspora by the Eritrean Government to destabilize the Horn of Africa region or violate relevant resolutions, including 1844 (2008), 1862 (2009) and 1907 (2009), including for purposes such as procuring arms and related materiel for transfer to armed opposition groups or providing any services or financial transfers provided directly or indirectly to such groups, as outlined in the findings of the Somalia/Eritrea Monitoring Group in its 18 July 2011 report (S/2011/433), and decides that Eritrea shall cease these practices; Decides that Eritrea shall cease using extortion, threats of violence, fraud and other illicit means to collect taxes outside of Eritrea from its nationals or other individuals of Eritrean descent, decides further that States shall undertake appropriate measures to hold accountable, consistent with international law, those individuals on their territory who are acting, officially or unofficially, on behalf of the Eritrean government or the PFDJ contrary to the prohibitions imposed in this paragraph and the laws of the States concerned, and calls upon States to take such action as may be appropriate consistent with their domestic law and international relevant instruments, including the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to prevent such individuals from facilitating further violations; Expresses concern at the potential use of the Eritrean mining sector as a financial source to destabilize the Horn of Africa region, as outlined in the Final Report of the Monitoring Group (S/2011/433), and calls on Eritrea to show transparency in its public finances, including through cooperation with the Monitoring Group, in order to demonstrate that the proceeds of these mining activities are not being used to violate relevant resolutions, including 1844 (2008), 1862 (2009), 1907 (2009) and this resolution;….”.

It is universally understood The UNSC has the power to impose sanctions against a nation that demonstrates potentially threatening behavior. UN sanctions are binding for all members. Sanctions are usually economic in nature. However, the question is how are they applied? Is there a logically concluded or well-thought out reasoning behind the decision?

Right after the 2009 sanctions were announced, peace-loving Eritreans all over the world began to demonstrate in Washington, DC, San Francisco; Melbourne, Australia, and in Geneva, Switzerland. Their call was to let the UNSC repeal, annul, lift, and reverse the sanctions, because Eritreans believe the action taken by the UNSC was bizarre, false, illegal, unjust, and unfair.

To target the willingness of Eritrean to pay 2% for the development of their mother land, and divert the mining sectors from being explored are two evil steps the UNSC took against Eritrea. When is it universally acceptable to stop helping citizens develop their own infrastructure! When is also acceptable to stop using the God-given natural resources from being exploited and explored for the common good of the citizens? Fortunately, at this time, Eritrea is blessed with precious metals and natural resources, such as gold, copper, iron, zinc, potash, hydrocarbons, and natural gas. Why target these and impose sanctions.

It has to be emphasized, the UNSC, being controlled by the three countries, mainly Great Britain, France, and the USA, used Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, the AU[African Union], IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority for Development], and SEMG [Somali Eritrea Sanctions Monitoring Group] to gang up against Eritrea. The AU is a useless organization. Instead of working for the peace and development of Africa, it serves foreign powers and has led the continent into abject poverty and instability. IGAD also behaves in the same manner. It has become a tool of Ethiopia, and has not solved the perpetual crisis in the Horn of Africa. The SEMG does not care about any permanent solution to problems in The Horn of Africa, but wishes a permanent crisis develop where it can be hired to write and re-write useless semi-annual and annual reports. It is a hired-gun entity that does not want to see The Horn of Africa prosper and live in peace.

Somalia does not exist as a nation. Since 1991, it has fragmented into several territories and fiefdoms.  Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti do not want to see a reconstituted Somalia. The UNSC should have worked to achieve the unity of Somalia. It has to be clearly understood Eritrea only stated it wants to see the reconstitution of the Somali nation, based on what was achieved in 1960. Eritrea has no hidden agenda for Somalia nor does it wish to see the disintegration of Somalia.

It is known in many diplomatic circles, and among conscious people, the accusations that Eritrea was arming and supporting Al-Shebab, and other Somali groups were false and illogical. Eritrea does not want to arm any Group! It is not a sponsor of terrorism, as it has often been accused by the mass media and several countries! Several outlets of the mass media write about demonizing the Eritrea leadership, wish for the disintegration and disunity of Eritrean society, and the eroding of the national structure of the state.

Eritrea detests terrorism, because it has been terrorized by Ethiopia for more than 30 years. Eritrea’s ultimate goal is to live in peace and concentrate on economic, social, cultural and political transformation of the society. The Eritrean government is fighting to eradicate poverty, illiteracy, and diseases. It is meeting six out of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals. Why work to thwart such movement? Why is the UNSC so adamant in prolonging the sanctions? Eritrea is moving forward to be self-sufficient and independent when it comes to not begging for food Aid or any handouts from foreign forces. Nothing more, nothing less!

The UNSC needs to use some problem-solving skills, logical reasoning, and critical thinking methods, and work to solve global problems. There is no need to create crisis, run to manage the more crises it created by using divide-and rule tactics that have been used during the scramble for Africa, and the heyday of European imperialism and colonialism.

When the second sanctions were announced in December 2011, again all peace-loving Eritreans throughout the globe began writing letters, sending e-mails, as well as faxing letters to all 15 members of the UNSC and appealed to each one of them to work in the repealing and annulling process. Unfortunately, very few responded to the calls made by the Eritreans. Thus, the key players at the UNSC are put on notice about the suffering of the Eritrean people.

If the British were happy when they were free from Hitler’s destruction; the Russians were delighted that they were saved from German invasion; the Chinese were free from Japanese aggression; the French were excited by the complete change that came as a result of the French Revolutions; and the Americans were happy by defeating the British and declared their independence after the American Revolution, how come the Eritreans are being denied of the same aspirations and national pride?

It has been four years since the unjust and illegal sanctions we imposed on Eritrea. So far, no action has been taken. Eritreans are calling for justice. Justice delayed, is justice denied. It is shameful to realize that at this time in world history, “the big fish eats the small fish”, and it has been acceptable to declare “might is right’! For how long are the Eritreans going to be denied their rights as part of the human race? For how long is the UNSC going to betray the Eritreans? Did the UNSC not learn any lesson from its mistakes about Eritrean history right from the 1940s, throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, all the way leading to the final push against the Ethiopians and until the Eritreans gained their independence in 1991? Why can’t the UNSC leave the Eritreans be Eritreans?

These cruel sanctions have affected the social and economic structure of the Eritrean society. Investors are being scared not to invest in Eritrea. Inflation is going up. There is some scarcity in needed commodities. Young people are being trafficked. Families are being separated. The “no-peace, no-war” situation with Ethiopia is not healthy!

Above all, Ethiopia has not accepted “The final and binding decision of the Border Commission”. It still occupies Eritrean territories. This is the root cause of the problem that the UNSC should have resolved. Before solving a real issue in the Horn of Africa, the UNSC side-tracked and began to impose un-necessary and needed sanctions on Eritrea. This is beyond logic! The Ethio-Eritrea war of 1998-200, has left a legacy of instability. The AU, EU [European Union], the USA, and the UNSC were the guarantors of the Algiers Peace Accord. So far, nothing has been done! This is a travesty of justice, and a mockery of international law!

It has to be understood Eritrea did not create the Somali problem. Djibouti should have no territorial ambition over Eritrean lands. It is Ethiopia that must be tamed to be live in peaceful co-existence with its neighbors. The AU and IGAD should concentrate on solving African problems.  It is a fact of the politics of the Horn of Africa that states “when Ethiopia sneezes, the Horn of Africa catches cold”. Hence, it is Ethiopia that is the source of instability, not Eritrea!

It is time now to lift, repeal, reverse, and annul the sanctions imposed on Eritrea. It is time for the 5 veto power-wielding countries to think globally, think critically, reason logically, and act on a wise way and let Eritrea charter its own political future. The Eritreans do not want to depend on handouts, but live on their sweat, ingenuity, perseverance, integrity, tenacity, and hard-working spirit. They believe that they belong to the human race where respect and dignity should be the driving force of all nations.

Eritrea is seeking constructive engagement and is willing to contribute some of its time-tested political solutions to the incessant crisis in the Horn of Africa, in all countries of Africa, and the Middle east.

The Five permanent members of the UNSC need to see Eritrean nationhood from the point of view of the Eritreans. Let each country think for how long the Eritreans have suffered under Italian, British, and Ethiopian administrations.  It took them 30 years to be free from any foreign yoke or domination. Thus, on May 24, 1991, Eritrea became independent from the brutal rule of the Ethiopian government. Thus, it joined the UN on April 28, 1993, as a member state. There is no peace-loving Eritrean who yearns to the return of that old and diabolical past!

The British and USA governments do know some historical aspects of the structure of the Eritrean society. The British administered Eritrea for 11 years, right after the end of World War II. The Americans managed the Kagnew Military base in Asmara and the Naval base in Massawa for more than 20 years. Therefore, the two nations should have a better understanding of the Eritrean struggle for total independence and liberation. The Chinese, French, and the Russians have also some knowledge of the historical facts of Eritrea.

Thus, it behooves to the five permanent nations to work from peace, constrictive engagement, and finally lift, repeal, reverse, and annul the illegal, unjust, unfair, and cruel sanctions. It is time to do it! There should not be any delay!

The call of peace-loving Eritreans is “for how long? It is enough! The right time is now”! The UNSC must be seized by the matter!

May Eritrea and all Eritreans live in peace within themselves and their neighbors!
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