The newly published second report of the UN Commission of Inquiry lists ‘crimes against humanity’ committed by the Eritrean regime. Human right groups now demand consequences for European policies on the country.
Today, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea (COIE) published its second report, accusing the Eritrean regime of ‘crimes against humanity’ such as the ‘acts of enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, reprisals as other inhumane acts, persecution, rape and murder.’
One year ago, COIE has already published a 500-page report stating that inhumane treatment, abuse, forced labour and extortion even of diaspora groups were business as usual in Eritrea.
Before the second report’s publication, the credibility of COIE has been attacked by the Eritrean government and by some Western diplomats. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, however, agree with COIE’s analysis about systematic human rights abuses in Eritrea. Eritrea is further ranked the worst country in the freedom of press index of Reporters without Borders.
The European parliament has passed a resolution on 10 March 2016 in which human rights abuses in Eritrea are noted ‘with great concern’ and it is referred to ‘the scale and seriousness of the human rights violations committed by the Eritrean regime, the lack of reliability of this regime as a development cooperation partner, the pervasive corruption and the virtually total absence of transparency in public financial management in the country, and the risk of misusing EDF funds for migration management’.
At the same time, the European Commission says that it wants to improve diplomatic relations with Eritrea, in order to “address the root causes of migration”. However, Eritreans often cite the indefinite national service as the main reason for fleeing.
EEPA has published a resolution supporting the work of COIE, stating that ‘the UN Commission’s findings require an immediate and unequivocal response from the European Union, European Commission and its members’ Governments.’ It is further urged that the report must be a spur to further action on and not the end of a process.