The Eritrean Law Society (ELS) is closely observing developments that have led to, and that have followed after, the unprecedented civilian protest of 31 October 2017, which occurred in the heart of the capital city of Eritrea. The protest was prompted by the announcement of a drastic government decision that affected the status of educational establishments administered by Eritrean religious institutions. Another major motive for the protest is the arbitrary arrest of respected elders and spiritual leaders, notably Haji Mussa Mohammed Nur, who strongly opposed the government decision.
Although the details of causalities are not yet fully known, ELS is concerned by the fact that brute force, including live ammunition, was used to suppress the protest, which was nothing more than a peaceful demonstration against a drastic government measure affecting the lives of thousands of people. In our view, the protest signifies one fundamental reality. In today’s Eritrea, citizens have no choice of whatsoever nature in pursuing their individual and group aspirations, life plans, goals, and purposes. Eritreans do not also have access to independent and impartial institutions, including courts of law that can safeguard their fundamental rights and freedoms in the event these essential entitlements are wantonly violated by government authorities.
History dictates that no population can be ruled forever under the yoke of unbearable authoritarianism. There is an urgent need in Eritrea for a full return to a system of governance based on constitutional order, the requirements of democratic accountability, and respect for the rule of law, including the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of the Eritrean people. ELS would like to take this occasion to make a call on the international community and those who can play a role by pushing for a full return to a democratic system of governance in Eritrea.
Meanwhile, the following reminder is also important for all peace-loving and justice-seeking Eritreans. We shall stay the course and remain vigilant against all sorts of divisive and cheap political machinations orchestrated by the authoritarian regime in Eritrea, its brazen apologists and messengers. It is always important to remember that the regime will make continuous recourse to methods that promote its narrow political agenda as well as frustrate the momentum ushered by the protest of 31 October.
Eritrean Law Society
November 2, 2017
The government of Eritrea is usually keeping it low-key and not telling their stories. The nation which has since liberation from Ethiopia since 1993. Therefore, the long-term stay of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) and their President Isias Afwerki, who is still in power. His use of the power and keeping it all close, is the reason that the state of Eritrea is like it is. The oppression of their own citizens and total control. That is the reason for the fleeing Eritreans, as well as the military service and tight-control of the industries. It is all in service of the Central Leadership in Asmara. Which doesn’t concern the citizens, they are being used by the EPLF and their needs. Therefore, every time a United Nations report comes out, it reveals new aspects and shows by the admission of the diaspora who are telling the stories that needs to be told. Since the media, the government and all parts of society in Eritrea is silenced by the President Afwerki. Take a look!
Support of Al-Shabaab and North Korea:
“In 2009, the United Nations Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Eritrea, primarily in response to Eritrea’s suspected support for Al Shabaab in Somalia. In its most recent report, the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea stated that it had found no firm evidence of Eritrea’s support for Al Shabaab. It also described the use of Eritrean land, airspace and territorial waters by the Arab coalition supporting the anti-Houthi military campaign in Yemen, as well as the construction of a permanent military base at Assab International Airport and a new permanent seaport adjacent to it.3 In November 2016, the Security Council noted the finding about the lack of evidence pointing to Eritrean support for Al Shabaab, but expressed concern for ongoing Eritrean support for other regional armed groups and lack of cooperation with the Security Council; it extended the arms embargo on Eritrea” (…) “February 2017, the Panel of Experts supporting the Security Council Sanctions Committee on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) accused Eritrea of violating the arms embargo by buying military communications material from the DPRK. On 21 March 2017, the United States imposed sanctions pursuant to the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA) on the Eritrean Navy and any successor, subunit, or subsidiary thereof for prohibited transfer to or acquisition from DPRK of goods, services, or technology controlled under multilateral control lists” (Keetharuth, P: 5, 2017).
“During the reporting period, the Special Rapporteur continued to receive reports of new cases of arbitrary arrest and detention. The reasons for the arrests appear to be those previously identified by the Commission of Inquiry, namely attempting to evade military service or trying to assist a family member in doing so; trying to leave the country; practicing an unauthorised religion; or offending a high-ranking Government or official of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, the sole political party in the country. The Special Rapporteur has received no official communication indicating that the Government has released arbitrarily detained prisoners or that it has provided information about the fate of high profile individuals subject to enforced disappearance” (Keetharuth, P: 6, 2017).
“While some interlocutors told the Special Rapporteur that they had witnessed an active economic life during visits to Eritrea, with thriving markets and well-stocked shops, she heard from Eritreans in the diaspora that their relatives back home are struggling to meet their basic needs. While they confirmed the availability of food, they indicated that many households were unable to afford adequate and sufficient basic supplies, and were trying to cope with acute water shortages, especially in Asmara. As noted above, the recent UNICEF report confirmed this, indicating that half of the children are stunted. Reportedly, increasing numbers of people are leaving drought-affected regions in search of better living conditions. The ability to purchase food and other basic items has also been hampered by cash withdrawal limits which are still in place following the Nakfa currency exchange programme introduced by the Government at the end of 2015” (Keetharuth, P: 8, 2017).
“Since October 2016, reportedly, internet cafes must now require that customers register before being permitted to use the internet, allowing for the tracking of their browsing history. If confirmed, this new regulation would have an impact on the conduct of internet users and further restrict freedom of expression. In addition, frequent power cuts and very slow connections interfere with the use of internet” (Keetharuth, P: 8, 2017).
I think this things says a lot. The admissions and the connections to rouge elements prove the issues of Eritrea. This are just a few of them, there been more admissions in the past of the breaches of Human Rights, the lack of transparency and justice for the citizens. This proves the grand-issues of the Eritrean government and how they violate their own people. Peace.
Keetharuth, Sheila B. – ‘A/HRC/35/39 – Eritrea’ (07.06.2017)
President Museveni: “Yes, it is true I was a rebel, but sometimes rebellion fails. I was fighting a just war” (#UGBudget17 Speech, 08.06.2017).
Today was the day the Budget Speech from Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) Matia Kasaija as the Parliament we’re delivered the total budget for the Financial Year of 2017/2018. This one has already been voted for and was a summery for the representatives in Parliament to know the values of their ministries and the projected use of the revenue of the state will have. Still, on this day, the President of 31 years, the rebel of 1980s decided to wear military fatigue and be wearing the gear as a General. He was not the executive in some sense, he was the military general. The gun-loving and militarized politician Museveni was allover today.
Therefore I have to take a piece of law, which could be used as the UPDF Act of 2005, where it states on 164: “Unauthorized sale or wearing of uniforms, etc.
(1) Any Person who, without authority –
(c) wears or uses any decoration supplied to or authorised for use by any member of the Defence Force or any decoration so nearly resembling that decoration as to be likely to deceive” (UPDF Act 2005).
So even if he is Commander-in-Chief and the Executive, he is still of contempt of the Parliament and their rules, when having to show-up in military fatigue or military uniform. As if he is storming to war and not trying to speak well of the budget framework and the voting for the post in the budget. This is clearly lacking the gravity of the acts of contempt. Wearing it in a sessions which is unauthorized or seem as wrong.
Therefore another part of the sub-section part (3): “Any person who by act, words, conduct or otherwise, falsely represents himself or herself to be a person who is or has been entitled to wear or use any uniform or decoration referred to in subsection (1) commits an offence and is, on convection, liable to imprisonment not exceeding three years” (UPDF Act 2005).
So when he as President is wearing the military fatigue or uniform in Parliament, I cannot take that man seriously for doing so. Even if he didn’t really violate the UPDF act, still his acts by words or even falsely representing himself, since he is not a full-time general, but a President of 30 years. His revolution or coup d’etat ended in 1986. A disco-tune that should have lost meaning two decades ago, but since he is still the President. That year is still magical like some of old Disney flicks.
Time to leave the Military Uniform Mr. President! Time to leave it behind and also be and act like a President. If he was in war or had to save Parliament from an angry powerful militia. Alas, it is not so! Time to relief the attire and be peaceful man, especially since he is supposed to help with the National Dialogue in South Sudan, but easier to sell arms than negotiate peace, right Mr. President?
So was it a sign of warfare from the President or his NRM Way to prove that the bullets gave him power to bless the budget? Peace.
The Uganda People’s Defence Force Act 2005
Today the Ugandan government, the National Resistance Movement finally read the Shs. 29 Trillion budget for the 10th Parliament. However, it is not necessary the size of funds and all, which is allocated, but the way it is funded. Like “Government hopes to raise sh14.6 trillion in revenues to fund the 2017/2018 budget” (Uganda Debt Network, 08.06.2017). Of the 29 Trillion, they expect to get close to half of that, but the monies has get from somewhere and also be of use. What is left are relieved like this: “The balance sh14.3 trillion (49.5%) of the National Budget will be raised through internal and external borrowing” (Uganda Debt Network, 08.06.2017). With this in mind, half of the budget is adding more debt. So if a nation already having lots of debt and debt repayment, it still adds another half budget. This is a bad cycle of events.
There lets us put things in perspective: “Our concern is sh9.9trillion, which is 35% of the total budget, will be spent on debt repayment” (…) “Amount of money spent on debt repayment has escalated in the recent past now at 9.9 trillion for fy2017/18” (Uganda Debt Network, 08.06.2017).
Therefore, the state and the NRM are clearly getting funds through loans to pay-off their interests. AS the 35% of spending is on interest in the coming fiscal year. This should worry, even if the corruption, misspending of obnoxious amount of funds through the paradise of Okello house. Still, that 1/3 of the coming budget is paid interest on old loans, which are been made by this government and by this President. What it show is the lack of concern of the future and how sound fiscal policies. At this state, the government of Uganda are clearly footing the bill. They are filling in the blanks for where they in the past had happy donors filling the envelopes.
The NRM and President Museveni is overspending and misusing state reserves, as the revenue and the state coffers do not sustain this massive overspending. Certainly, it is visible, also the worry of the running interest rates and growing debt as close to half of this year alone are by loans. Neither if it is local, by foreign or multi-national financial institution does save the fact, that the state has a problem.
That of the coming fiscal year, the state is borrowing half, and repaying that with 35% says a lot. IT says the fiscal policies needs change and it is dire. The state are clearly walking the wrong path. And remember this, there will be supplementary budgets during the fiscal year, that will expose the overuse of funds and needs for more loans. Therefore, they are surely going to exploit the faith in future, without having the funds for it today. Peace.
Geneva, 5 June 2017
RE: Renewing the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea
We, the undersigned civil society organisations, write to urge your delegation to co-sponsor a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea at the forthcoming 35th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. In view of the ongoing crimes under international law, including torture, enslavement and enforced disappearances, and violations of fundamental freedoms committed in Eritrea, the Special Rapporteur’s mandate remains an indispensable mechanism to advance the protection and promotion of human rights in Eritrea.
The mandate of the Special Rapporteur was established at the 20th UN Human Rights Council Session in 2012 to monitor the human rights situation in Eritrea. From June 2014-June 2016, the mandate was also represented on the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea (CoI). The mandate of the Special Rapporteur was extended in July 2016 to follow-up on the recommendations of the CoI. It has been instrumental in monitoring the dire situation on the ground, highlighting on-going violations and the failure to implement the recommendations of the CoI and in providing a crucial platform to help amplify the voices and concerns of victims.
The findings of the CoI and UN Special Rapporteur reveal that the Eritrean authorities have continued to impose a broad range of unwarranted restrictions on fundamental human rights, precipitating mass migration, including of unaccompanied children. Despite commitments by the State to reduce national service to 18 months, indefinite national service and forced labor persist throughout the country.  Persons who attempt to avoid military conscription, take refuge abroad, practice an unsanctioned religion, or who criticise government officials continue to be arrested and imprisoned for lengthy periods. 
The absence of an independent judiciary means that victims of these human rights violations have no recourse to justice at home. As a result, in Eritrea impunity persists and those who have been subjected to enforced disappearances remain unaccounted for.
In light of these concerns, we respectfully request your delegation to co-sponsor a resolution during the 35th UN HRC session that renews the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, provides the mandate holder with all necessary support, and urges the Government of Eritrea to cooperate with the mandate holder including allowing unencumbered access to the country.
Citizens for Democratic Rights in Eritrea
DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
Eritrean Diaspora in East Africa
Eritrean Lowland League
Eritrean Law Society
Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights
Eritreans for Human and Democratic Rights – UK
FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights)
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Human Rights Concern – Eritrea
Human Rights Watch
Information Forum For Eritrea
International Fellowship of Reconciliation
International Service for Human Rights
Network of Eritrean Women
People for Peace in Africa
Reporters Without Borders
Stop Slavery in Eritrea Campaign
War Resisters International
Mr. Isaak was arrested in September 2001 during a political crackdown on the so-called G-15, a group of politicians, and journalists critical of Government policies.
GENEVA, Switzerland, May 3, 2017 – The Government of Eritrea must free journalist Dawit Isaak who has been awarded a prestigious press freedom prize some 15 years after he was detained, a United Nations human rights expert says.
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth, is also calling on the authorities in Asmara to release unconditionally all others detained unlawfully.
“The Eritrean authorities should stop the practice of arrests and detention carried out without legal basis instantly,” said Ms. Keetharuth, welcoming the award of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2017 to Mr. Isaak.
Dawit Isaak, who is 52 and a playwright, journalist and writer, moved to Sweden in 1987, where he later became a citizen. He returned to Eritrea only after independence in 1993 and was one of the founders and reporters of Setit, the first independent newspaper in the country.
Mr. Isaak was arrested in September 2001 during a political crackdown on the so-called G-15, a group of politicians, and journalists critical of Government policies. Some were detained and tortured, others disappeared. The last known sighting of Mr. Isaak was in 2005. His whereabouts now are unknown.
“The case of Mr. Isaak is emblematic of all those who have been subjected to enforced disappearances by the Government of Eritrea and remain unaccounted for,” said Ms. Keetharuth.
The Special Rapporteur recalled the findings of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, which concluded that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Eritrean officials had committed crimes against humanity, including the crime of enforced disappearance, in a persistent, widespread and systematic manner since 1991.
“The Government of Eritrea has an obligation to urgently provide information on the fate and whereabouts of all those deprived of physical liberty. This would be a first and long-overdue indication that the Government is committed to rebuilding trust with the Eritrean people,” Ms. Keetharuth said.
“By allowing independent monitors immediate and unhindered access to all places of detention, official and unofficial, the Government would send a strong signal that it acknowledges human rights violations of the past, while taking steps to improve the situation on the ground now.
“The arrests of Dawit Isaak and his fellow journalists remain the most visible sign of repression of freedom of expression. The Eritrean authorities continue to stifle all forms of expression that could be perceived as critical of the Government and its policies,” she said.
Ms. Keetharuth reaffirmed that freedom of expression was a basic human right, and a free press one of the tenets of a democratic society, providing a valuable check on potential excesses by government.