Report of Special Rapporteur on Eritrea shows a deepening human rights crisis

Statement at the 50th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Interactive Dialogue with 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 work of the Special Rapporteur and his latest report.

Despite its re-election for a second term as a Member of the Human Rights Council, the situation of human rights in Eritrea remains of the utmost concern.

The civic space is closed, with no free and independent press, and at least 16 journalists have remained in detention without trial for about two decades. There is a culture of impunity for the perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses, including arbitrary and incommunicado detention; inhumane and degrading treatment of Eritreans through torture, forced labour and sexual violence; religious and ethnic minority oppression; denials of the rights of free expression and peaceful assembly, and escalating conscription of youth in the national army compounded by increasing militarisation of the country. The Special Rapporteur identified benchmarks for human rights progress in 2019 to address these concerns, but the government has so far refused to engage on their basis.

Eritrea’s continued lack of cooperation with Council mechanisms as well as other UN agencies undermine the implementation of their activities and programmes. We urge the UN Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur through a resolution which reflects the gravity of the situation and enshrines the benchmarks for progress.

We further call on the government of Eritrea to fully cooperate and allow access to UN Human Rights Council mechanisms.

We thank you.

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