Eritrea: Government fails to address grave human rights violations

Statement at the 47th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Interactive Dialogue on the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea

Delivered by Helen Kidan, Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights 

CIVICUS and the Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights welcome the Special Rapporteur’s report and engagement with the mandate.

Eritrea’s government remains one of the world’s most repressive. It has no independent civil society organisations or media outlets, imposing severe restrictions on freedom of expression and opinion, peaceful assembly, association and religion or belief. Eritrean forces have been implicated in violations in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

Both the High Commissioner and Special Rapporteur report a lack of progress, and still the government remains unwilling to address grave human rights violations and abuses. This is particularly concerning given that Eritrea is a Member of this Council.

Human rights violations continue unabated including arrests and incommunicado detention and enforced disappearances. The indefinite national service continues and involves torture and forced labour. In late 2020, Eritrean forces indiscriminately attacked civilians in Axum in the Tigray region, killing and injuring many, and destroyed property including healthcare facilities.

We urge the Council to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, and to mandate reporting on the role played by Eritrean forces in Ethiopia’s Tigray region since November 2020. We ask the Special Rapporteur: in the continued absence of cooperation by Eritrea, what other avenues for international pressure could be leveraged to engender progress?

Thank you.

 Civic space in Eritrea is rated as Closed by the CIVICUS Monitor