ERITREA: Angry Response to a Friendly Nation from the newest Member of the Human Rights Council questions about Eritrea’s Suitability as a Council Member

The government of Eritrea reacted most angrily to what it termed Germany’s “meddling in Eritrea’s affairs”, and “the hostile stance that the German Government has held against Eritrea”, and accused the German Government of being “Cynical about progress made in the peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia”. The German comments were described as a “distorted narrative” (–press-release)

Earlier last month, the Germany parliament criticized Eritrea for a lack of human rights reforms in the country following the signing of peace agreement with Ethiopia. (

The critical scrutiny of Eritrea’s human rights record by other friendly countries is apparently totally unwelcome as far as the Eritrean government is concerned!

What these comments from the Eritrean Government clearly reveal is the intolerant and aggressive nature of the government.  The Eritrean government does not believe in the founding principle of the Human Rights Council, that one country’s human rights record should be reviewed by friendly governments and improvements in the maintenance of human rights standards will result from such positive analysis. Eritrea regards such comments, review and positive analysis as no better than “meddling in its internal affairs.”

Despite its horrendous human rights record and its failure to comply with any UN requests and recommendations, Eritrea was recently elected a member of the UN Human Rights Council, to the astonishment of many who care about human rights. As a member of the Council, Eritrea is expected to be particularly concerned about human rights and zealous in maintaining international human right principles. Indeed, the UN Resolution which set up the Council requires members States to ‘uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.’ Since Eritrea has consistently refused to cooperate with the UN human rights system, has denied access to independent experts and investigators, boycotted debates on its human rights situation, launched attacks against human rights defenders, and ignored nearly all Recommendations made at its 4-yearly Universal Periodic Reviews, it was most surprising that it should have been nominated and elected to membership.

But perhaps Eritrea might change its attitude and behaviour once a member of the Council, and co-operate with the fundamental principles by which the Council operates? That is, Eritrea would now welcome open analysis of its human rights record and give careful attention to recommendations from other countries as to how to improve its human rights. Not a bit of it!

Of all the European countries, Germany has been the most pro-active in making overtures of friendship to Eritrea. The 75,000 Eritrean refugees living in Germany perhaps makes it natural for Germany to have an interest in events in Eritrea. Germany has donated $200,000 to humanitarian assistance in the region, and over €4,000.000 to development aid. It is Germany which has led the EU programme against people trafficking in the region, with financial and equipment support for so-called “border protection”, to help the border forces of countries such as Eritrea. The German government has invited high level Eritrean Government officials to visit Germany for confidential talks.


 There could be no clearer demonstration that the newest member of the Human Rights Council has no respect for its principles and will not in any way co-operate positively with the Council’s processes and purposes. Indeed, Eritrea has just demonstrated its outright contempt for such principles and the international co-operation which upholds them.


Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE)

9 November 2018

Related articles:

Unlike Ethiopia, Eritrea stagnant on human rights: Asmara jabs Germany
No evidence of human rights reforms in Eritrea – UK