Eritrea’s membership of the Human Rights Council at odds with the dire human rights situation in the country

Statement at the 49th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Interactive Dialogue on the oral update of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea

Delivered by Helen Kidan

CIVICUS and the EMDHR welcome the Special Rapporteur’s update.

Eritrea’s membership of the Human Rights Council is increasingly indefensible given that its human rights situation has shown no signs of improvement. We continue to document unlawful and arbitrary killings, forced disappearance; torture; and arbitrary detention, all perpetrated by the government. We see continued conscription of Eritreans into the military or civil services, forced labour, sexual violence, and restrictions to free expression and peaceful assembly. At least 13 Eritrean Christians remain imprisoned after the authorities raided prayer meetings in March 2021 and took 35 people into custody. Over 20 journalists and politicians have remained in detention since their initial arrests 20 years ago. The location of Eritrean refugees forcibly repatriated to Eritrea remains unknown. The Eritrean government has failed to put in place any institutional or legal frameworks to uphold minimum human rights standards and fundamental freedoms.

The situation of human rights in Eritrea and its lack of cooperation with international mechanisms should be a source of serious concern to every member and observer State of this Council.

The government of Eritrea must create efficient, responsive, and transparent institutions in the country that are governed by rule of law; release journalists, civil society activists and illegally detained Eritreans from prison; and cease the forcible round-up of people for conscription.

Special Rapporteur, what should the Council do to ensure steps are taken towards meeting the five benchmarks for progress rearticulated in your recent report?

We thank you.


Civic space in Eritrea is rated as "closed" by the CIVICUS Monitor