Geneva, Switzerland, (3 July 2015): Human Rights Concern -Eritrea (HRCE) welcomes the renewal of the mandates of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) and the Special Rapporteur (SR) on the situation of human rights in Eritrea for a period of one year.
Elsa Chyrum, Director of HRCE who attended the twenty-ninth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and who was present when resolution A/HRC/29/L.23 was adopted by consensus, said, “the renewal of both mandates will give the mandate holders more time to investigate the systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in Eritrea to ensure full accountability, in particular for violations which may amount to crimes against humanity”.
The resolution was sponsored by Croatia, Cyprus, Djibouti, France, Montenegro, New Zealand and Somalia, and co-sponsored by 16 countries. The video can be found here:
The COI was established by the UNHRC on 27 June 2014 to investigate the widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Eritrea. The COI reported the findings from its yearlong investigation on June 23nd, 2015 at the Twenty-ninth session of the UNHRC in an extensive report of testimonies from victims, witnesses and family members of those victimized by the Eritrean government. The full report can be found here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/CoIEritrea/Pages/ReportCoIEritrea.aspx
The resolution outlined a summary of the COI findings and made several recommendations to the Eritrean government. Amongst other things, it called on the government to: “ensure free and fair access to an independent judicial system for those detained, and to improve prison conditions, including by prohibiting the use of underground cells and shipping containers to hold prisoners, ending the use of secret detention centers and secret courts and the practice of incommunicado detention, allowing regular access to prisoners for relatives, legal advocates and other competent and legally authorized authorities and institutions, and to grant unhindered access to medical care;
To put an end to the system of indefinite national service by demobilizing the national service conscripts who have completed their mandatory 18 months of service, as announced by the Government of Eritrea, and by effectively ending the practice of engaging them in forced labour after such a period, to provide for conscientious objection to military service, and to end the compulsory practice of all children undertaking the final year of schooling in a military training camp; and to respect everyone’s right to freedom of expression and to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, and the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.”
The full statement can be found here: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fap.ohchr.org%2Fdocuments%2FE%2FHRC%2Fd_res_dec%2FA_HRC_29_L23.docx
The SR is expected to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-first session and a written report to the General Assembly at its seventieth session. The COI is also expected to present an oral update to the General Assembly at its seventy-first session, and a written report to the Human Rights council at its thirty-second session.
Elsa Chyrum stated that “while the SR continues documenting the human rights violations, the COI is expected to provide detailed legal analysis of the information that has already been gathered in order to ascertain whether any constitute crimes against humanity and ensure full accountability to Afewerki’s leadership and individual perpetrators”.
HRCE reaffirms its commitment to support the mandate holders by encouraging victims, victim’s families and witnesses to engage and speak out.
Contact: Members of the press, who wish to interview Human Rights Concern-Eritrea, kindly email:
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