UN Human Rights Council Extends Mandate Regarding Eritrea

Last week, the United Nations Human Rights Council ratified thirteen resolutions regarding the extension of mandates on various topics including human rights- extrajudicial killing, human trafficking, poverty- and other important areas in education, people with disabilities, and more. Jubilee Campaign, along with many other organizations, welcomes the Council’s decision adopted by a vote of 24 in favour, 10 against, to extend the mandate for the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea for another year. Human Rights Concern Eritrea writes of the landmark decision:

The decision to renew the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Eritrea, Ms. Daniela Kravetz, was hugely significant because it illustrated that the majority of states in the world are aware of Eritrea’s extremely severe infringements of human rights and do not wish them to be hidden and disregarded. 

Human Rights Concern Eritrea

The resolution also requested that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its forty-sixth session, “on progress made in the cooperation between Eritrea and the Office of the High Commissioner, and its impact on the situation of human rights in Eritrea.” Human Rights Concern expressed the importance of this:

This is a key issue, because Eritrea has never allowed the Special Rapporteur to access its territory, and has never cooperated with UN special procedures, despite becoming a member of the Council.

Human Rights Concern Eritrea

The hope is that the monitoring of the OHCHR will allow for greater implementation on the part of Eritrea.

Moreover, the resolution shows that the UN Human Rights Council is not discouraged by Eritrea’s tendency to refuse conformity with UN reporting and standards. Rather, the Council is taking a stronger stance to pressure the nation which is referred to by many as “the North Korea of Africa” to fully comply with its obligations as a member of the Council, and hold the Eritrean government accountable for its egregious violations of human rights. Especially during the period of COVID-19, when Eritrea is receiving aid from both the World Bank and the African Development Bank, it is imperative that we continue to keep a watchful eye on the government to ensure that aid is being distributed to the people of Eritrea.

For decades, the world has known of the authoritarian regime of Eritrea that, by promoting a one-party system and preventing elections, has been able to exert its power over the people since 1993. According to the US State Department, human rights are virtually nonexistent in Eritrea: journalists and activists are disappeared and imprisoned; there is no independent and unbiased judiciary; citizens are unable to exercise their rights to religion, expression, and assembly; citizens of all ages and genders are compulsorily conscripted into military service and labor; men, women, and children are trafficked for labor and sexual services; the list is never-ending.

Regardless of the Eritrean government’s historic violations of human rights and inalienable freedoms of its citizens, we hope that the government- especially during the devastating pandemic- will come to realize the importance of protecting its people and providing them with the freedoms and rights that are expected under international standards and commitments.

Read the resolution in full here

Picture by pKral on Pixabay.