At the UN Human Rights Council, an ‘enhanced interactive dialogue’ on human rights in Eritrea took place on 12 March. It included an update from the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea, Sheila Keetharuth, multiple countries and human rights organisations. Eritrea itself was not there to take the floor.
The Special Rapporteur stated that her observations were that the human rights violations in Eritrea continue. She put specific emphasis on the intensification of human rights abuses following the protest in Asmara in October 2017, after which elder Haji Musa Mohamednur was arrested. It was reported last week that further uprising took place in Asmara after the death of Mr. Mohamednur.
Several human rights experts and organisations took the floor, asking for international support in action against the human rights abuses. Attention was also called to the plight of Eritreans outside the country, who are often victims of torture and extortion – having to pay large amounts of ransom in exchange for their lives. They called for international protection of these refugees. Attention was also called to the continued imprisonment without trial of political opposition, journalists and other members of the public.
The European Union called upon Eritrea to implement institutional and legal reforms in order to ensure respect for human rights. Many of the countries that took the floor urged Eritrea to cooperate with the United Nations and to provide access for the Special Rapporteur.