Eritrea: Press Briefing note on Attacks/threats by States against UN Human Rights Experts (21.11.2017)
I write what I like.
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)
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.
There aren’t only murders and mysteries on the telly, its real life and not fiction as the Syrian civil war continues rapidly without whomever force and whomever ally around Aleppo or other check-points where the Presidents force, rebels or ISIS are shooting. The bullets don’t have names, but the men and woman on the side-line and at the battle who dies does; the men and woman who loses their life for themselves or a Nobel-cause.
As much as there are forces battling inside the Iraq nation as Government Forces are attacking together with American soldiers ISIS stronghold around Mosul. There are continued fighting inside of Afghanistan. Still battles between civilians and the Indian Army inside the Kashmir state that has issues there and on the Pakistan side of Kashmir. The long battle for freedom or justice, as the Kurds are battling for in Syria, Turkey and in Iraq; being the minority in the middle of the civil war in Syria and Iraq.
That is just some places, as the deteriorating state of affairs are attacking all sort of freedoms inside Ethiopia, as the army and Aghazi squad are killing and harassing the people’s in Amhara and Oromia states. Together with the arrests of bloggers, silencing media outlets, and detaining demonstrators, burning the homes of people and inflicting violence on the citizens. This state of emergency is used as a useful tool to oppress, silence and make sure the violence and killings doesn’t get out; while the Central Government works to find reasons and solutions to ways of total control of minds and bodies in the states of demonstrations against the Addis Ababa regime.
In Burundi the central government are using the Police and army, together with the Imbonerakure that are detaining, harassing, killing and torturing civilians, silencing the opposition and the ones not loyal to the President Pierre Nkurunziza narrative of keeping power by any means. The Burundian Government has claimed that the Rwandan Government has created armies and guerrillas that wished for a coup d’état against the Nkurunziza regime. Therefore the fleeing civilians are in the wind as the Rwandan government has been wonder for a spell, if they would banish the Burundian refugees a place in the country.
While in the Democratic Republic of Congo, several guerrillas are still running wild, burning and killing villagers in the States of North and South Kivu, Katanga and so on. Where the foreign based groups that have been started in Rwanda and Uganda, continues to battle the locals for the valuable minerals; as even today a former M23 Commander Sultani Makenga who been in Uganda has crossed with a militarized group, surely from Kisoro as before to cause more havoc in the Kivu’s. The ADF-NALU, Mayi-Mayi and others doesn’t create enough death and crimes against humanity already, as the MONUSCO and FARDC haven’t the ability or will to silence them.
In South Sudan, the internal battle that started in July 2016, the resurgence of skirmishes between the SPLA/M and the SPLM/A-IO who are the TGNU and the Opposition party, which is the armies for President Salva Kiir and his former First Vice-President Riek Machar. That has since July battled each other with forces, in Western Bahr El Ghazal State, Equatoria State and Upper Nile State. There been fighting between the two in other states, but just show how big and powerful the forces are. The South Sudanese civilians are the losers who flees to Ethiopia, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, even in Congo because the Opposition we’re there has been asked to leave to other destinations. Therefore the internal power-struggle those fear of genocide, as still creating implications inside other nations.
In Somalia the Al-Shabab, the different state continues to have infighting together with the AMISOM mission. The running battles for land between Galdumug Interim Administration and the Puntland Government inside the Federal Republic of Somalia. Doesn’t really help for a peaceful session and making dialogue in the war-torn nation where Piracy and Khat been the ways of securing funds for ammunition and AKs, not for building a state and security.
Eritrea is closed and the continuation of the flow of refugees, as the internal controlling central government that forces the freedoms and liberties, as the men and woman does what they can to even enter Ethiopia, where they are badly treated. Eritrean reports are staggering as they are even supporting internal guerrillas in Ethiopia and Djibouti to unsettle their neighbours.
There are wars and running battles between government forces and rebels in Central African Republic, Mali, Mozambique and so on. This is happening in silence and without little flash, even as the ones are guerrillas like Boko Haram that are going in between Nigeria and Cameroon, to stop the Government from functioning and spreading fear of locals.
What is worrying how these actions continues, and how there are other I could mention, the issues in Libya, the Algerian complex and the Western Sahara colony of the Kingdom of Morocco.
The death that dies in silence, in the midst of homes, villages where their families have been living for decades, while big-men fight like two elephants; the grass get hurt, but the big-men be fine. The same is with all of these civil wars, the civilians are dying, the societies are deteriorating, the central government are controlled by little amount of people instead of procedure and rule of law.
The worry is how it becomes pro-longed, how the innocent dies and the power-hungry survive and the lucky get refugee somewhere else in uncertainty, like for how long can they stay, as been seen with the Kenyan Government work to get rid of Somali refugees in Dadaab Refugee camp during this calendar year, while the Somalian Federation if far from peaceful. Even as the Ethiopian troops has went home again surely to use their knowledge to chop heads in Amhara and Oromia. That is what they do now, they just doesn’t want people to know about it.
We shouldn’t allow this actions to happen, this killings, this violence and the silence of freedom, liberty and justice to our fellow peers, we should act upon it, question our power-to-be and the men who rules over these armies, the ones creating the havoc and the ones who are behind the crimes against humanity. Those are the ones that earning money on the wars and the ones that doesn’t want the words on the acts; those are the worst ones in it all as they are accomplices to destruction of lives and societies as we speak. Peace.
I had to write about this today, for the simple reason apologists who has defended Eritrea and attacked the Monitoring Report from the United Nations Security Council Monitoring Team for the UN following the resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009). This is after the proof before of violations on Human Rights and crimes against Humanity in the Republic of Eritrea. Together with controlled Centralized Government under the President Isias Afweki, who has showed he doesn’t care about accountability and transparency as he controls all economy. There are reports of no-budget for the state for years.
So the Asmara Government and their apologist, if you want my support at all; please drop something worthwhile, your silence and attacks on multi-national institutions make you sound whiny and not smart. Just like the ones fighting against the sanctions because of no-connections over the last three monitoring periods between Eritrea and Al-Shabaab, but still… they are supporting other military groups, who are training and getting help in Eritrean territory. That should silence the ones who wants to defend the Asmara regime. Here are the important pieces of the UNSC Monitoring Report of 31st October 2016!
Arms to Eritrea countering the Arms Embargo:
“Military equipment has also been transferred onto Eritrean territory. The Monitoring Group analysed satellite imagery captured between April and May 2016, which shows the presence of tanks and artillery, including what appear to be AMX Leclerc main battle tanks, G6 self-propelled howitzers and BMP-3 amphibious infantry fighting vehicles (see annex 4). By September 2016, according to satellite data analysis, most of the vehicles appeared to have vacated the airport compound” (…) “If the range of support provided by Eritrea to the regional coalition, including as described above, constitutes either a direct or an indirect transfer of prohibited material to or from Eritrea or an exchange of military assistance, it would be a violation of the arms embargo. It could be reasonably determined, for example, that Member State support for the construction of permanent military installations in Eritrea constitutes the provision of technical assistance, training, financial and other assistance relating to military activities” (…) “It was claimed that the trainers had been housed at government villas near the Alla Scala Hotel in Asmara. It was also asserted that this was the second team of Ukrainian experts to arrive in Eritrea during the year; the first group, according to the article, had arrived in Asmara in February 2016 and been given training on the maintenance of old — and the installation of new — radar equipment” (UNSC, P: 11, 13, 2016).
Supporting Military Groups:
“For its third concurrent mandate, the Monitoring Group has found no firm evidence of Eritrean support for the Somali Islamist group Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujaahidiin. The Group has, however, continued to find consistent evidence of Eritrean support for armed groups operating in both Ethiopia and Djibouti. It is clear that Eritrea continues to harbour anti-Ethiopian armed groups, including the newly remodelled Patriotic Ginbot” (UNSC, P: 3, 2016).
Tigray People’s Democratic Movement:
“The defection of the former Chair of TPDM, Mola Asgedom, along with an unconfirmed number of fighters loyal to him, had a significant impact on the capacity of TPDM fighters remaining in Eritrea to conduct attacks against Ethiopian interests. Reports received by the Group indicate that TPDM is growing increasingly fragmented. On 6 August 2016, the Group interviewed Mola Asgedom in Addis Ababa” (…) “He said that he had been promoted to Chair of TPDM in 2008 and since conducted attacks against the Ethiopian armed forces in the Tigray and Afar regions of northern Ethiopia. He discussed the support provided by Colonel Fitsum Yishak, also known as “Lenin”, including the planning of operations, the monthly provision of ERN 450,000 (approximately $30,000 at the official exchange rate as at September 2016) and the supply of weapons. He also claimed to have engaged with Brigadier General Abraha Kassa during his tenure as Chair. He claimed that, while he was Chair, TPDM had had offices in Asmara, Dekemhare, Massawa and Teseney and units in most border towns” (UNSC P: 15-16, 2016).
“Ginbot Sebat has since merged with the Patriotic Front to establish the Patriotic Ginbot , with Berhanu Nega as its Chair, and on 11 August 2016 was understood to have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Oromo Democratic Front” (…) “Ginbot Sebat claimed responsibility for an attack in which 20 Ethiopian soldiers were killed in Arba Minch, southern Ethiopia, in May 2016, demonstrating the group’s ability to conduct attacks well beyond the contested border regions. The Ethiopian authorities were swift to discredit the claims, however, announcing that their counter-terrorism units had foiled the attack and captured those who surrendered” (UNSC, P:17-18, 2016).
Peoples’ Alliance for Freedom and Democracy:
“On 25 March 2016, multiple media agencies published a resolution following the first congress of the Peoples’ Alliance for Freedom and Democracy, held in Asmara, incorporating the Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement, the Gambela People’s Liberation Movement, the Ogaden National Liberation Front, the Oromo Liberation Front and the Sidama National Liberation Front. According to the resolution, “the alliance is determined to uproot the current oppressive minority regime in order to safeguard and advance peoples’ rights to exercising genuine self-determination” (UNSC, P: 19, 2016).
Front pour la restauration de l’unité et de la démocratie:
“the Group asserted that Eritrea had offered bases, training, arms and equipment to an armed group associated with elements of the splintered Djiboutian opposition Front pour la restauration de l’unité et de la démocratie (FRUD), FRUD-Combattant (FRUD-C) or FRUD-Armé, since 2008” (…) “FRUD has publicly claimed responsibility for attacks on Djiboutian soil during the current mandate. On 6 February, two Djiboutian gendarmes, Zakaria Ismail and Mossa Bahdon Farah, were killed in a shoot-out on Lake Assal with armed elements who, according to a press release from the Ministry of the Interior, had come from across the border in Eritrea” (…) “On 1 October 2015, the leader of FRUD, Mohamed Kadamy, issued a press statement from Geneva in which he announced the group’s responsibility for the burning of three vehicles at Marawaleh in Tadjourah on 30 September 2015. The vehicles belonged to the construction company building the Tadjourah/Randa/Balho road. He claimed that the vehicles had been used to provide logistical support for an “offensive by the government army” between 11 and 13 September 2015 that had seen attacks on civilians, but that FRUD had repulsed. He sent a message to the company stating that FRUD would not permit the company to assist the army in the future” (UNSC, P: 20-21, 2016).
My 2 Cents:
If this wasn’t interesting, wasn’t giving you insights into structures that Eritrea supports and how they deal with neighbours, show with the support of military groups that creates havoc in Ethiopia and Djibouti. Something that apparently is wished from the Asmara Government… So the Eritrean if they harbour these sorts of military groups that attacks neighbour countries and oppose their regimes.
Eritrea cannot run away from this and also the apologist who tries to defend the Asmara Government… and at this point that is vicious with their track-record, little or non-existing accountability, transparency and massive overload of human rights violations and crimes against humanity. That has come out before and showed by the evidence and records of the diaspora as the Eritrean doesn’t want internal interference. Something they fear. Peace.
United Nations Security Council – ‘Letter dated 7 October 2016 from the Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea addressed to the President of the Security Council’ (31.10.2016) – S/2016/920