Eritrea: a real challenge to the UN system and the international community

Statement at the 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council 

Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on human rights situation in Eritrea

Delivered by Sibahle Zuma


Thank you, Mr President,

Despite being elected to the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2022-2024, Eritrea poses a real challenge to the UN system and the international community. Its continued failure to fully cooperate with the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and implement the recommendations of human rights bodies calls the credibility and integrity of the entire UN human rights system into question.

We remain deeply concerned by reports of unlawful and arbitrary killings, forced disappearances, torture and arbitrary detentions perpetrated by the Eritrean government, indefinite military service, lack of freedom of expression, opinion, association, religious belief, and movement. 

Over 20 journalists and politicians remain in detention since their arrests more than 20 years ago, they are the longest detained persons in the world. Eritrea’s involvement in the Tigrayan conflict significantly resulted in abhorrent human rights abuses which included the recruitment of child soldiers and the kidnapping and forced conscription of Eritreans to fight in the conflict.

We call on the Eritrean government to release all detained journalists, civil society activists and illegally detained Eritreans from prison.

Special Rapporteur, what should the Council do to ensure steps are taken towards meeting the five benchmarks for progress recently enshrined in the Human Rights Council’s resolution 50/2? 

We thank you.


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

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