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Eritrea: Extend UN Rapporteur mandate through a substantive resolution

Ahead of the UN Human Rights Council’s 56th session (HRC56, 18 June-12 July 2024), a group of NGOs urge states to support a resolution that extends the mandate of the Special Rap­por­teur on hu­man rights in Eritrea. 

By calling for a substantive resolution that clearly con­demns the grave human rights viola­tions committed by Eri­trean authorities, signatories suggest going beyond the current approach, which rests upon an annual resolution that is short and “procedural” (that is, that simply extends the Rapporteur’s mandate and refrains from outlining Eritrea’s human rights situation). 

As Eritrea is in its final year as a Council member, signatories also stress the gap between Eritrea’s behaviour and membership standards and obligations. In particular, the Eritrean government refuses to engage in a serious dialogue with the inter­national com­mu­­ni­ty. Signatories outline a long list of human rights issues, including arbi­trary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, conscription into Eritrea’s na­tional ser­vi­ce system, severe restrictions on civic space, and widespread impunity for past and on­going vio­la­tions. 

“Resolutions on Eritrea should fully and accurately reflect the country’s human rights situation,” the signatories write. “They should provide a framework for discussion about human rights in Eritrea, including the domestic situation and its impact abroad,” including extra­territorial attacks against the Eritrean diaspora.

In the letter, signatory NGOs make a number of suggestions, including to request the Special Rapporteur to assess, in his next report, the evolution of Eri­trea’s human rights situation during the time of its Council membership and in the context of the 10th anniversary of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Eritrea.