Eritrea: Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights situaton in Eritrea, Mr Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker – 50th Session of the Human Rights Council – Ineractive Dialogue on Eritrea – 13 June 2022 (13.06.2022)
I write what I like.
“Even before the economic issue became important, however, in July 1997, Ethiopian forces occupied part of the Badda District, a small, remote, but more fertile area close to the Danakil depression, and replaced the Eritrean administration in the village of Adi Murug. The claim was on historical grounds, and based on the “inaccuracy” of current maps. The most widely used map of Eritrea, published in 1995 by the Eritrean Government in cooperation with the University of Berne, shows only Eritrean territory; neighbouring countries are simply marked in grey. Unhelpfully, this map shows neither Adi Murug nor Badme nor places just across the Ethiopian border, such as Zalambessa. Despite its claims, the map presented by the Ethiopian government to representatives of the international community in Addis Ababa in May 1998 showed the border in the same way as in all current atlases. A month later, however, the provincial authorities in Mekelle (Tigray) produced a different map – funded, in their case, in cooperation with the German government which showed several areas hitherto considered part of Eritrea coming within the Ethiopian border” (Margaret Fielding – ‘BAD TIMES IN BADME: BITTER WARFARE CONTINUES ALONG THE ERITREA-ETHIOPIA BORDER’ – IBRU Boundary and Security Bulletin Spring 1999).
The Tripartite Alliance are still very active and there is reports of furthering the war in the Tigray Region. The reports that the Eritrean Defence Force has been stationed and vital in the warfare in the Tigrayan war of late is an understatement. The EDF has been one of the reasons why the Tigray region was invaded and they occupied it whole for some time. That was a retaliation of old grudges and wanted to settle old grievances. Therefore… that Shabait brings back the Badme Triangle.
Shows that the Eritrean government planned all along to annex and get the territory, which has been contested. The Ethiopian government has also claimed this land and the Badme Territory. Now, the Eritrean government claims it theirs and that the recent peace agreement of 2018 is stating so. This means the Tigray Regional Government have to give up this territory and let the demarcation of the border continue. That is evident and the Eritrean government does this… as they have allies in Addis Ababa and wants Mekelle to know that.
Here is the most interesting parts of the Shabait piece published today:
“When TPLF’s military campaigns was thwarted by a costly defeat at the Assab Front in June 2000, it was finally forced to accept cessation of hostilities and later the entire Algiers Peace Agreement on December 12, 2000. The Algiers Agreement created a court of arbitration, the EEBC. The Algiers Agreement also stipulated, in categorical terms, that “the parties agree that the delimitation and demarcation determinations of the Commission shall be final and binding”. But notwithstanding the unequivocal provisions of the Algiers Agreement, the EEBC decision was not enforced by the UN Security Council because principal sponsors – especially the US and the EU – failed to honour their obligations for their own narrow geopolitical considerations. When the EEBC decision was announced, Seyoum Mesfin, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister at the time falsely claimed that “Badme was awarded to Ethiopia”. He urged the international community to use punitive sanctions if necessary, to secure Eritrea’s full and immediate compliance with the provisions of the EEBC Award. The Foreign Minister and his government were soon to make a u-turn, sing a different song and reject the EEBC Award. Subsequent sessions of the EEBC were marked by Ethiopia’s dilatory tactics. Thus, in its 16th Report to the UN in 2006, the Commission was compelled to write: “Ethiopia is not prepared to allow demarcation to continue in the manner laid down in the demarcation directions and in accordance with the timeline set by the Commission.” (…) “The course of events changed when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared Ethiopia’s readiness to accept and implement in full the Decision of the Boundary Commission. Following his visit to Asmara, a Joint Declaration on Peace and Friendship was signed between Eritrea and Ethiopia on July 9, 2018. The Declaration brought to an end eighteen years of ‘no war no peace’ between Ethiopia and Eritrea and opened a new era of peace and friendship. Article four of the Joint Agreement stipulates that “The two countries will implement the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission decision.” (Shabait – ‘We do Not Relinquish What is ours; Nor do We Covet What Belongs to Others: (Natna Aynhbn Zeynatna Ayndeln)’ 13.04.2022).
We know these ideals of Badme is old by now. As it has been part of the independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia. The Eritrean government is willing to use Italian colonial maps to prove it too. That the land and territory belongs to them.
That’s why Eritrea Daily wrote this in 2005: “At worst, the status of Badme is unclear, at best, Badme is part of Eritrea and never Ethiopian. Regardless, if there is any one left that believes Ethiopia has accepted the border ruling, here is the proof to the contrary: In a clear demonstration of its defiance of the border ruling, Ethiopia today reported that it has started registering voters in the village of Eritrean Badme for the upcoming “elections.” The international community cannot remain indifferent to this Ethiopia’s provocative action?” (EDNews, 22.01.2005).
So, the Eritrean claims are old and they are pursuing them still. What is striking is the Tripartite Alliance way of violating, war-crimes and weaponizing humanitarian assistance isn’t helping the cause of Asmara. Even if the Badme triangle or parts of Badda district is belonging to Eritrea. Their forces and the acts done in Tigray region will not help them legitimizing it. Instead, there will no goodwill and no wishes of recognizing the border between the two nations. They will rather ensure the investigations into the warfare, the violations of the Geneva convention and crimes against humanity.
The Eritrean government could be within their rights and have historical basis for the territory. However, when they are known for their actions and use of force against unarmed civilians within the Tigray region. Very few to none will give them a bouquet of flowers and give the Republic more territory.
The WikiLeaks cable says this: “Legwaila, who has served as UNMEE SRSG for five years, detailed how both Ethiopia and Eritrea had initially committed to accept any decision by the EEBC, at December 2000 cease-fire talks in Algiers. Upon the announcement of the EEBC’s decision in April 2002, Ethiopia’s foreign minister hosted a celebration and issued a statement hailing the decision as a victory for both parties; however, Ethiopia had not realized that Badame had been awarded to Eritrea. The reason for this is the EEBC did not identify Badame so it took sometime for the experts to determine to whom Badame had been given. Legwaila observed that delimitation of the border (i.e., determining where it lies) was complete, whereas demarcation (i.e., placing physical markers) was stalemated. Delimitation of the border had been conducted professionally and impartially, Legwaila said, through an Asmara-based chief surveyor armed with GPS equipment and assistance from New Zealand experts, and with aerial mapping conducted by a Swedish company. Demarcation would reflect the boundaries determined by delimiation — there would be very little change, e.g. Badame would remain in Eritrea” (WikiLeaks – ‘UNITED NATIONS REQUESTS USG ASSISTANCE TO MONITOR AND RESOLVE ERITREA-ETHIOPIA CRISIS’ 28.10.2008).
Time will tell if Prime Minister Abiy will honour his peace agreement with Asmara. Which is what Shabait hopes it does. The Tripartite Alliance has been favourable for the PM and his reign. That has helped his causes and he couldn’t continue or hold on so long with warfare in Ethiopia. He needs the EDF and he knows that. Therefore, if the Tripartite Alliance is able to silence and annihilate the Tigray region. That’s what the alliance wants to achieve.
Alas, the Eritrean government is clearly saying by publishing this on Shabait. That they want it legitimized and recognized. This is the what it is initially saying. While we can wonder how Mekelle is thinking about this. Since, this is taking away territory it had occupied for a few decades now. While the current federal government of Ethiopia might offer it and do it, because Abiy has a good relations with Afewerki. Peace.
What I will do is to take things side-by-side just to show how ridiculous things can become. Because, this is just showing how things are finessed and done. This is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Shabait) and how the United Nations operate. The lack of coordination and the lack of mutual consent. Which is the reason for this.
We know its getting hectic, when the Shabait response to the whole report has this headline: “Rumors Cannot be Presented as Facts”. That’s how they pop-it off. It sets the parameter and shows their ways. There is no middle-ground, but just throwing everything at it.
We know the Special Rapporteur Mohamed Abdelsalam Babike doesn’t have a nice job either. As he states early this: “given the lack of cooperation of the Government with the Special Rapporteur, who was denied access to the country, he collated the necessary information through alternative means”. Because of that he was forced to: “The Special Rapporteur conducted remote monitoring and held meetings with a broad range of actors, such as diplomats, human rights defenders, civil society representatives and academics. In addition, the Special Rapporteur collected first-hand information from Eritrean refugees residing in other countries, with a view to informing his assessment of the situation of human rights in Eritrea”.
In this regard, the Eritrean government gave him no choice but do things remotely. Still, they are saying this in their rebuttal about the method: “As with previous SR reports on Eritrea, the lack of reliable data, heavy dependence on biased sources, non-verifiable approach, and ignorance of Eritrea’s ground realities renders the methodology and the essence of the allegations tenuous and unacceptable”.
What is funny about this… the government says they want a reliable and another methodology, but dismiss and doesn’t make it possible for the Special Rapporteur to investigate in the first place. So, if you close the borders and doesn’t cooperate. How is he supposed to get the information in the first place? You cannot close the doors and also claim whatever information he collects as wrong. With this sort of look into it. It seems like the objective of Eritrea is to call everything bogus and lies, while not allowing people to look into their works. This is the United Nations and not just a random organization having a mission of some sorts. Therefore, this is just making things more suspicious in the end of Eritrea. That they don’t want information out in the first place…
When things gets really tricky, is when the Special Rapporteur says this: “The Special Rapporteur highlights that, as a member of the Human Rights Council, Eritrea should strengthen its cooperation with all human rights mechanisms. In particular, the Special Rapporteur encourages the Government to strengthen its cooperation with his mandate and engage constructively, and to enhance its engagement and technical cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which remains ready to assist Eritrea in the three priority human rights areas identified by the authorities, as well as in the implementation of the recommendations from human rights mechanisms, including those emanating from the universal periodic review”.
While Shabait says this: “Like every other country in the world, Eritrea faces challenges. However, the GoSE continuously works to address these challenges and improve human rights standards in the country. Accordingly, there is no “crisis” that warrants the targeting of the nation through HRC agendas and mandates”. When Eritrea answers the UN Special Rapporteur like this. You know the whole thing is bound to fail. The UN Special Rapporteur is there, because the UN appointed him. Not because his job is to undermine Eritrea. That’s just a fact and the government in Asmara clearly don’t want that. However, their hostility and lack of cooperation. Only opens up the questions… why are they hiding and not just giving way, if they have a perfect Human Rights record? Why are they not inviting and showing the greatness of the Republic?
Well… you go figure… right?
Then, you have this one, which is on the origin of the Tigray conflict. The Special Rapporteur says this: “On 4 November 2020, tensions escalated in the region and an armed conflict erupted in Tigray when the Ethiopian National Defence Forces launched a military offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in response to reported attacks against the Ethiopian National Defence Forces’ military bases in Tigray by Tigrayan forces. The Ethiopian National Defence Forces were allegedly supported by Amhara regional forces and the Amhara Fano militia in western Tigray, and in particular by the Eritrean Defence Forces in northern and central Tigray”. While Shabait answers with this: “Emboldened by some governments, the Western media, and NGOs, the TPLF, by its own admission, unleashed an insurrectionist war in November 2020 after it was ousted from power in 2018 after 27 years of despotic rule in Ethiopia. The objective of this massive, premeditated and unprovoked attack that the TPLF launched on all the contingents of the Ethiopian army in the north was to totally neutralize the Northern Command which possessed around 80% of the EDF’s total arsenal. The TPLF killed several hundred non-Tigrayan soldiers within the Northern Command and its overall plan was to topple the central government once it had pacified the Northern Command”. As Shabait continues: “Subsequent plans included military action against Eritrea to advance its avowed “regime change” agenda as well as incorporation of Eritrean sovereign territories for its long-term, multi-layered, aims and aspirations”.
Here you see that Eritrea isn’t looking into their own actions or as a part of the tripartite alliance in Tigray region. No, they are shifting everything at the TPLF. That is an deliberate act. While the Special Rapporteur is looking at it objectively. That’s why the wording is so careful. The Shabait is going after the TPLF and their actions, but not stating anything about their own. Also, giving a history lesson of the misdeeds of the TPLF. While it is not saying it is currently involved any of it itself. Implying it is all justified and there is no reason to doubt that… While all three parties was preparing and launching the attacks on Tigray. So, they could easily blame the TPLF no matter what it did… and the rest is history and a conflict living on to this day.
What is further striking is this one, where the Special Rapporteur says this: “The Special Rapporteur welcomes the decision adopted on 22 March 2021 by the Council of the European Union, under the European Union’s global human rights sanctions regime, imposing sanctions on Eritrea for serious violations of human rights, including acts of torture, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and killings in Eritrea. The Council imposed restrictive measures on eleven individuals and four entities responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses in China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Eritrea, Libya, the Russian Federation and South Sudan”. When Shabait retorts with this: “Mention has also been made regarding EU sanctions on Eritrea amid the ongoing discussion to withhold development support in particular in the pretext of the unwarranted and worn-out allegations surrounding National Service and forced labor (paragraph 24) as well as other baseless human rights allegations. Any such pre-condition on development cooperation is unacceptable. Eritrea remains committed to the effective mobilization, higher organization, and creation of national capacity in the implementation of its development programmes. It is, however, equally committed to cooperation predicated on partnership, involving mutual respect and understanding. Thus, it rejects any attempts at intimidation, coercion, or harassment under the veil of human rights and development cooperation”.
Here we are seeing a stark contrast again. What is really significant. That Eritrea is against the sanctions. That’s to be expected, because who wants to be sanctioned and getting retribution. However, instead of letting people in and see that these things doesn’t happen. The Eritrean state is just retaliating. The UN Special Rapporteur only verifies the reports and the surrounding misgivings of the Eritrean state. Something the Eritrean doesn’t prove to be wrong. They just call it baseless, but doesn’t prove anything or say anything in significant in consideration with the alleged human rights violations. Which is the reason of the sanctions in the first place. The EU will have mechanisms where there is a need for burden of proof and evidence before sanctioning a nation. Which in effect has been enacted. Eritrea furthers the victimhood by calling it harassment and intimidation. That just shows they have no intent in changing its behaviour or try to prove their innocence.
The UN Special Rapporteur says: “The Special Rapporteur is concerned that the indefinite duration of military and civil service reportedly remains one of the main causes for the departure of Eritreans from their country. With the end of the state of war with Ethiopia, the Special Rapporteur encourages the Government to outline a timetable for reforms to its national service”. The Shabait answers with: “The causality inference (paragraph 40) suggested in the present report between national service and migration from Eritrea is unjustified and unacceptable. In line with the new development drive, as well as the emerging prospects of viable peace and cooperation in the Horn of Africa, efforts will gradually be made to return National Service to its original duration. Moreover, a significant number of national service members have been integrated into the new remuneration system which improved the salary scale of the civil service”.
This here shows the trouble with it here. As the Special Rapporteur states an issue with the military and civil service in Eritrea. While the Shabait tries to dismiss that. However, there is no way this is explaining the Eritreans fleeing from these state programs, which is causing this. The Eritrean government is downplaying it. This just shows how things are… and therefore, we just know the ideals will not be answered. That was a proof of the beginning.
They are both ending with this, which is interesting. The Special Rapporteur states this: “The Special Rapporteur calls upon the Government to acknowledge the persistence of human rights violations and abuses in Eritrea, and to allow him and other human rights mandate holders effective access to visit all areas of the country and meet with relevant stakeholders, with a view to addressing the human rights challenges that it faces”. While Shabait says this: “It is time for the HRC to break with its 8-years long unproductive approach by terminating the mandate imposed on Eritrea. On its part, Eritrea will continue to expand and consolidate dignified engagement and international cooperation based on partnership and will continue its modest contribution to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Council, while working together with other members to depoliticize the Council and its agendas”.
This is how two worlds are colliding. A nation and a sovereign like Eritrea who is saying everything is baseless. While Eritrea isn’t opening up for the UN Special Rapporteur. Therefore, the allegations and the reported breaches of human rights violations aren’t investigated directly, but only proven by eyewitnesses in the diaspora.
The Eritrean state should consider another path, because this sort of retort isn’t safeguarding it. It is just opening up a plethora of questions. As it is not willing to open up. Shabait is just throwing shade. This sort of answer isn’t making any good grounds, but make you further questions the actions of Eritrea.
The UN Special Rapporteur is appointed and gotten a mandate from someone else. Shabait is only defending its state, but its not doing a good job. It is a hit-job, but not hitting the target. Unless, it was to make headlines in local news. Where they can look like they did something, which isn’t true. It did nothing… Peace.
Again and again, the state is picking-up and arresting opposition leaders. Today the newest victim of this is Baytona leader Kibrom Sibhat. He was arrested and taken away by federal security officers. The Federal Police took him away and he haven’t been seen. Neither is there any clear report where his detained and what charges he has.
We don’t know what “crime” he has done. Neither what reason there is for his arrest. The only reason it seems… is that his a leader of an opposition party and part of the Tigray National Political Parties Forum, which Baytona is a part off. Which have issued stern press releases and information about the warfare in the Tigray region since early November 2020.
This is political persecution and taking away their liberty, freedom and justice because of their association. The state have done this to other parties too and this is nothing new. However, this is a continuation and is the modus operandi of the regime in Addis Ababa.
This is the reform Abiy have delivered to the Nation and must be his most valuable asset ahead of the election. Since that cannot be dialogue, reforms or even policies worth a damn. I am saying that.. because he rather arrest, detain and keep his political enemies behind bars. Than actually meet them in a free and fair election. His worried he cannot win or have the ability to overcome his opponents.
That’s why its easier to use the monopoly of violence the state has and issues orders of their demise. Therefore, Sibhat of Baytona is just a part of a long list of political prisoners. Who is just happening to be in the opposition. That is just the way it is and the state continues to use it machinery to get its foes behind bars. Peace.
This is news is coming as the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) have cancelled the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The NEBE have rescinded the political party license of the TPLF. Meaning the TPLF isn’t a party in their registrars anymore.
However, just as the Law Enforcement Operation in the Tigray region continues. The Prosperity Party have an Interim Government appointed by Addis Ababa. The PP plans to further their powers in the region. Not only crush the armed paramilitary group affiliated with the TPLF. They are also planning to takeover the masses of members too.
The Prosperity Party is planning to take the members, the cadres and the ones who are participating in the party. In the party that it has deemed as “terrorist”. This means the PP seem to be into the idea of boosting its membership by taking away the members of TPLF. That is clearly in ambition to ensure the PP have grounds and popularity in Mekelle.
The PP needs the public on its side. Even if they have been doing warfare since 3rd November 2020 in the region. They still need support and friendly faces. That is now a mission to convert TPLF cadres to the PP: From the same government that has killed former Ministers and civilians for 3 months in the area.
The PP has a hard cause. The ones who does switch allegiance now is betraying the Tigray and their cause. That is just what happens. They are either traitors at home or heroes in Addis. In a conflict like this. The ones switching will be marked and be moles. This is why the initial drive to do is will only cause more damage to the TPLF. Which in the end is a victory for PP:
However, the PP seems to be ideologically bankrupt, if they are willing to convert and let TPLF cadres become members. This means the ones who is the sole reason for this Operation Law Enforce is apparently good enough to get assimiliated into the party. Which means they couldn’t be as evil or dangerous as they said. Even though the PP will by this order use all neccessary means. What does that mean? Does that mean arrest, detention or execution? So does that mean, that if they are vetted and suddenly not following the orders. Then they are fair game and practically get hurt. Hurt in manner, which isn’t stated directly in the letter.
That shows the sinister side of the PP. They have already come out last year with a selective recruitment process. This is a continuation of that, but on in the Tigray region. Where they are accepting the TPLF cadres are either “welcome” or possibly “Dead Men Walking”. Seems like a horrific method of adding new members to a political party. Especially, if this party is supposed to reform and come in peace. Peace.
The Prosperity Party have launched their strategies ahead. It is an insightful prospect in the months ahead. As the ruling regime have a three month scope ahead, which was released the Finfinne Intercept.
The PP are intending to invite the ministers, state ministers, commissioners and directors. Who are yet to become members of the party. They are also planning recruitment of scholars and those who are primly qualified for senior management. The party plans to have people from all zones, districts (woreda) and wards (kebele).
They are not planning to get the visionaries, but only the people who will follow the future and realize the national prosperity. Where the party is avoiding getting the resilient ones who want to change the world order. That follows the party program and constitution, but not the ones whose willing to chance to change it.
The PP continues that they don’t want to recruit people from the primly ideologically biased from the 60 generations of the oppressed. Where there will be an independent training of the recruits and paper, which will be developed by the Office of Prosperity.
This shows that the PP plans to have the ones that are only working for their cause and not the voices of dissident. The PP doesn’t want the ones whose oppressed. The party doesn’t want the writers and scholars who stand for the oppressed.
The PP is afraid of the educated and the scholars, who becomes members and would expose their misdeeds. For the oppressed and the ones who will tell. The PP just want members who are blind followers and who follows protocol.
This is all clearly another method of the party to ensure they have no dissent. Another step showing the rebranding of PP and the whole government of Prime Minister Ahmed Ali Abiy.
We can take that as a sign of the leadership, as the PP has a significant plan for their recruitment. If this is how its going forward. It is a clear warning of how they will behave and as a one-party state. It is evident that dissidents will suffer and the party will shield the oppression.
That is the sort of behaviour, which is clearly a thing now. I’m just awaiting the time for the PP to denounce this report and say its isn’t what they meant. Because, this is really showing their true character and it’s not looking good. Peace.