35th Human Rights Council – Interactive Dialogue on Eritrea

News Releases – On the 14th of June 2017, the Human Rights Council carried out an interactive dialogue with NGOs and States on the work of the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights on human rights violation in Eritrea.


During the 32th Session of the Human Right Council (HRC) was adopted the resolution 32/24, which extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Right Situation in Eritrea. The progress made by Eritrea did not convince the HRC explaining the extension of the mandate of Ms. Sheila B. Keetharuth, The Special Rapporteur on Eritrea since 2012.

Ms. Sheila B. Keetharuth started by presenting shortly her last report on the violation of Human Rights in Eritrea. In its own word, she underlined that Eritrea as “not made any efforts” concerning the issue of Human Rights violations in its country and “has shown no willingness to tackle impunity”.

Among the observations made by the Special Rapporteur, she drew attention on continuing arbitrary detention and illegal arrests. Furthermore, prisoners are detained in bad conditions qualified as “harsh” by Ms. Sheila B. Keetharuth. These conditions of detentions are altering the health of the prisoners and sometimes leading to death. Moreover the Special Rapporteur was not able as their families to contact numerous prisoners: journalists imprisoned since 2001 as well as some remaining war prisoners (from the war with Djibouti) and others.

The government of Eritrea showed no willingness to let the international community investigate on the detention’s conditions and on the matter of enforced disappearances in Eritrea. The Special Rapporteur asked for more reactions of the international community in what’s concerning “the roots of Human Rights violation” as the reason migrations from Eritrea. If stops, Human Rights violations could also stops the important flow of Eritrean’s migrants. The commission of Inquiry established by the Special Procedures “demands accountability for Human Rights violations and crimes against humanity”. For this matter “independent” and “impartial” mechanisms are necessary but firstly, the situation can’t be ameliorated without “institutional and legal reform”. The Special Rapporteur urged member states to take into account alleged crimes against humanity and “exercised their jurisdiction” as no other international institution seems to refer the problem.

She recommends in a non-exhaustive list that Eritrea take part seriously into the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism which include a free and diverse civil society. She asked for “no complaisance with Eritrea”, free political party should as civil society organizations. Furthermore, the international Community should have access to the country to independently investigate and evaluate the progress made by the government. She then insisted on the military service which length is a violation of what is recommended by the international community in order to respect Human Rights. The scourge of religious and ethnic discrimination should be taken into account. Lastly it is necessary that Eritrea address the problem of detention conditions and arrest conditions.

After presenting her worrying report on the situation His Excellency Mr. Tesfaye Michael Gerathu representing the Eritrean delegation responded to these accusation as the concerned country. The delegate of Eritrea denied the allegation of the Special Rapporteur. He explained that the “report evoke the indignation of Eritrea” accusing the Special Rapporteur of “hating” the country and writing for a long time false report about Eritrea. He underlined the link of the Special Rapporteur with Ethiopia, an enemy country of Eritrea, explaining by this ling the report of the Special Rapporteur. For the Eritrean government, national service is absolutely necessary in the unstable situation in which is the country: a war of aggression.  The situation of the country is not taken into account by the Special Rapporteur: the conflict at the border coasted at least 25000 death. In the Eritrean delegate’s mind, the Special Rapporteur show “activism” defending a change of regime in Eritrea. He underlined the progress made by Eritrea: its participation in the UPR and its openness and willingness in dialogue. He accused Ethiopia of being responsible of the special procedure directed at Eritrea and asked for the end of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea.

After letting the delegation of Eritrea exposing its view, the 21st meeting of the 35th Human Right Council went on with states and NGO interventions (and questions). The Special Rapporteur concluded with answer the questions but decided not to address directly the critics made by his distinguished delegate from Eritrea. She only use a saying of its country and in Creole she then translated: “If a mango tree is not baring fruits, stones are not throwing at it”.


EF- Research Assistant at CIPADH