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: Veronica Almedom

Veronica Almedom is a poster child of successful immigration. A duo Eritrean and Swiss citizen, she was born in Italy, and grew up in Switzerland where she permanently resides. Her parents are some of the earliest victims of Eritrea’s cycles of violence. When Eritrea’s war of independence peaked in the early 1980s, they escaped the country as unaccompanied minors, wandering through Sudan, Saudi Arabia, before making the hazard journey across the Mediterranean into Europe. There, they crossed first to Italy, and finally, to Switzerland, where they settled first as refugees, and later, as permanent residents.