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Eritrea: vital international scrutiny is extended

By adopting a new resolution on Eritrea, the UN Human Rights Coun­cil extends its scrutiny of the country’s human rights situation, a vital move to address both Eritrea’s domestic human rights violations and atrocities Eritrean forces are commit­ting in Ethio­pia’s Tigray region. 

“The violations Eritrean au­thorities com­­mit at home and the violations Eritrean forces com­mit in Tigray demand international scrutiny,said Has­san Shire, Exe­cu­tive Direc­tor, Def­end­­Defen­ders.By ensuring the extension of UN scrutiny, the Council did the right thing.” 

The resolution adopted today extends the mandate of the UN Special Rappor­teur on the coun­try’s human rights situation for one year. It ensures continued reporting and public discussions of Eritrea’s human rights record. 

These discussions will cover Eritrean forces’ role in Tigray, after they enter­ed Ethio­pian territory as armed conflict erupted in Tigray in November 2020. Reports of atrocities they have committed have emerged. They inclu­de abuses against Tigrayan civilians and Eritrean refugees, some of whom have been killed, raped, or for­cibly re­turned to Eritrea. 

Despite being a Council mem­ber, Eritrea refuses to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and to implement recommendations UN human rights bodies have formulated. 

Ahead of the Council’s 47th session (21 June-13 July 2021), DefendDefenders coordinated the de­ve­lopment of a joint civil society letter,1 which called on states to support the adoption of a re­so­lution extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea for a further year. 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, DefendDefenders; [email protected] or +256 772 753 753 (English and Somali)

Estella Kabachwezi

Advocacy, Research and Communications Manager, DefendDefenders; [email protected] or +256 782 360 460 (English)

Nicolas Agostini

Representative to the United Nations, DefendDefenders; [email protected] or +41 79 813 49 91 (English and French) 



1 DefendDefenders et al., “Eritrea: renew vital mandate of UN Special Rapporteur,” 10 May 2021, (accessed 9 July 2021).


Human Rights Defender of the month: Joseph Oleshangay

As a human rights lawyer and advocate with the High Court of the United Republic of Tanzania, Joseph Moses Oleshangay spends most of his time crossing from one court to another, litigating human rights cases, some with life-altering implications for ordinary people. It is a monumental responsibility, one he never envisaged growing up.

As a young boy born into a Maasai household in northern Tanzania, his entire childhood revolved around cattle: “Our entire livelihood revolved around cattle. As a child, the main preoccupation was to tend to cows, and my formative years were spent grazing cattle around Endulen. It a simple lifestyle,” he says.