UN HRC 29: Statement Delivered During Individual Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea


Oral Intervention
East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP)
Delivered by Mr. Hassan Shire

Thank you Mr. President,

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project welcomes the report of the detailed findings of the Commission of Inquiry on the human rights situation in Eritrea and reiterates the recommendations made to the Government of Eritrea.

Mr. President, our organisation whose mandate includes Eritrea is deeply concerned by the ongoing widespread and systematic human rights violations that have resulted in thousands of Eritreans fleeing the country for a safer environment in neighbouring countries and furtherafeild.The absence of civil society in the country is of also great concern. Eritrea has failed to live up to the international human rights standards despite having ratified many regional and international human rights instruments.

We are distressed by the restrictions to the freedoms of expression and opinion and of peaceful assembly and association, the impact of which has been heavily felt by press freedom workers. No independent media exists in the country and the government silences journalists through detention and torture. Mr. Dawit Isaak, like many other journalists has been held incommunicado detention since 2001.

We are further concerned by Eritrea’s lack of cooperation not only with the Commission of Inquiry but also Special procedures of this Council, despite the repeated calls for access and information on the human rights situation. The limited access to the country has affected regional and international non-governmental organisations including our organisation. We cannot reach human rights defenders in the country who need our support.

Finally Mr President, the total disregard of the rule of law is worrisome and we re- echo the call of the Commission of Inquiry to implement the 1997 Constitution. Eritrea should respect regional and international human rights obligations to which it is party including respect of freedoms of expression and opinion and of peaceful assembly and association. Human Rights Council should continue to engage on Eritrea and continue to demand its full cooperation.

I thank you.


Human Rights Defender of the month: Alex Njenga John

Alex Njenga has always believed in egalitarianism both as a principle and as a tool for justice. As a result, he has always been suspicious of, and at times hostile to social prejudices that treat some people as “more equal than others,” – to use a line from George Orwell’s famed political fable, Animal Farm.

Some of the experiences that have shaped his social and political outlook have been personal. As an adolescent in Kenya’s Uasin Gishu County, Alex was stigmatised and denied healthcare after he identified himself as belonging to Kenya’s sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) community.