Joint Press Release by Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE) & Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)

HumanRightsTo: Members of the Human Rights Council, Geneva
London, 28 February 2014
Your Excellency,

Re: Mr. Osman Saleh Mohammed’s speech during the High Level Segment at theHuman Rights Council (HRC)

We have been made aware that Mr. Osman Saleh Mohammed, Eritrea’s Minster of Foreign Affairs, will be speaking during the High Level Segment of the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva on Monday, 3 March 2014, at 12:00p.m.

While it is the right of every member state to be heard at Council Sessions, there are several salient points that render the presence of a high-level Eritrean official of particular concern.

Firstly, by refusing to engage with the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea and withholding permission for country visits to five other UN Special Rapporteurs (thematic mandate holders), including on freedom of religion and belief, the Government of Eritrea has illustrated a disregard for requests from the Council.

Moreover, four years after its first review, Eritrea has so far failed to comply with any recommendations made at that time, claiming instead that all human rights statutes recommended for adoption are in the process of being adopted; a process that is yet to conclude years later.

Finally, Eritrea has illustrated a disregard for the rulings of the African Commission, which has called for the release and compensation of journalists and politicians, who remain in incommunicado detention without charge or trial and in inhumane conditions since September 2001.

Since its second UPR the Eritrean Government has been working hard to win international support, presumably in an effort to side-step its human rights obligations by swaying votes at the Council. We urge you to continue to hold Eritrea to account for violations of the rights of its people and to ensure the imposition of a timeline with regard to UPR recommendations.

Eritrea must be encouraged to comply with international rulings and recommendations. This is the only way to ensure justice, rule of law and a lasting improvement in the human rights climate of the nation.

Yours faithfully

Elizabeth Chyrum
Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE)

Khataza Gondwe
Team Leader, Africa and Middle East
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)