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Eritrea: the UN extends scrutiny as no human rights progress can be reported

As despite the peace process and diplo­matic breakthroughs in the Horn of Africa, no human rights progress can be reported in Eri­trea, the United Nations’ (UN) top human rights body, the Hu­man Rights Council, has extended the mandate of the Special Rappor­teur on the country. Eritrea’s human rights situation will con­tinue to be scrutinised. 

“The dividends of peace remain elusive for the Eritrean people, as their rights continue to be violated,said Has­san Shire, Exe­cu­tive Director, Def­end­­Defen­ders.The govern­ment should meaningfully engage, including on the Special Rapporteur’s ‘benchmarks for progress,’ which form a road map for human rights reform in Eritrea.” 

The resolution adopted today extends the Special Rappor­teur’s mandate for one year, in line with civil society’s recommendations. We welcome the fact that the resolution was adopted with a broa­der margin than in 2019 and we are encouraged that through their statements and inter­ventions, a number of African States pushed Eritrea to engage with the UN human rights system. Breaching its obligations as a Human Rights Council member, Eritrea has so far refused to coope­rate with the Special Rapporteur and invite her to visit the country. 

Ahead of the Council’s 44th session (30 June-17 July 2020), DefendDefenders coordinated the de­ve­lopment of a joint civil society letter,[1] which called on all States to support the adoption of a re­solution extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea for a further year and ur­ged Eritrea to fully cooperate with the Council. The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert tasked with assessing the human rights situation in the country, reporting to the Human rights Council, and formulating recommendations to improve the situation. 


For more information, please contact: 

Hassan Shire 

Executive Director, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, on [email protected] or +256 772 753 753 (English and Somali)

Nicolas Agostini 

Representative to the United Nations, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, on [email protected] or +41 79 813 49 91 (English and French) 


[1] DefendDefenders et al., “Extend the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea,” 5 May 2020,, accessed 16 July 2020.