Eritrea: the UN Human Rights Council should ensure continued scrutiny

In a paper released today, DefendDefenders calls on the UN Human Rights Council to ensure follow-up to its action on the human rights situation in Eritrea to date. We outline reasons why a resolution on the country is needed and elements that should be part of a resolution at the Council’s 41st session (HRC41, 24 June-12 July 2019).

Since the signing of a peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, no progress in Eritrea’s domestic human rights situation has been reported. Impunity for past and ongoing human rights violations remain widespread, and grave violations, including arbitrary and incommunicado detentions, violations of the right to a fair trial, lack of information on the fate of disappeared persons, the use of indefinite national service, and severe restrictions on civil and political rights and civic space, continue unabated.

The situation, which remains one of the most serious on the African continent and has been addressed by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) as well as the UN, calls for a high level of attention.

Eritrea became a member of the Human Rights Council in January 2019. In line with Council membership standards, the government has an obligation to cooperate with the Council and its mechanisms with a view to improving its human rights record. The Council should urge the government to do so, and states should join efforts to ensure both that avenues are open for dialogue and cooperation with Eritrea – the onus being on the Government to change course and engage – and that scrutiny of the country’s situation remains high.


Read the paper.


Human Rights Defender of the month: Kasale Maleton Mwaana

Kasale’s human rights activism precedes his years. The son of pastoralist parents from Ngorongoro district in northern Tanzania, he grew up seeing his parents and entire community having to defend their land and way of life against authorities who thought their lands could be put to better use. Now, at 25, Kasale is already one of the most recognizable advocates of his people’s cause, much to the ire of Tanzanian authorities.
“Our people’s struggle goes back many generations. It started with the pushing out of our forefathers from Serengeti to gazette Serengeti National Park in 1959, and then further evictions from the Ngorongoro crater to gazette the Ngorongoro conservation area in 1975. Since then, every generation has had to resist further evictions. It’s now my generation’s turn,” he says.