UN Expert Urges Eritrea for Decisive Human Rights Improvements


The situation of human rights in Eritrea remains dire, a UN expert warned today.

In his fourth report to the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, Mohamed Babiker, pointed to the continued use of arbitrary and incommunicado detention, ongoing enforced disappearances, indefinite military or national service that amounts to forced labour and is linked to torture, and the systemic repression of fundamental freedoms in the country.

Babiker expressed deep concern that patterns of grave human rights violations identified by himself and his predecessors, as well as the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea, persist unabated.

"The authorities of Eritrea have shown little willingness to address ongoing violations. They maintain policies and practices that perpetuate the human rights crisis in the country," he said. "If these persistent violations are not addressed, including by ensuring redress for victims, the cycle of suffering and repression will continue, stifling Eritrea's potential for peace and development."

The Special Rapporteur pointed to evolving patterns of transnational repression, noting increased efforts by the Eritrean authorities to supress critical voices and counter the work of activists, journalists, and human rights defenders in the diaspora through violence, intimidation, threats, surveillance, social isolation, and the refusal of consular services. "An escalation of violence and polarisation in the diaspora, is hurting Eritrean communities and society at large," Babiker said.

He also expressed concern about the situation of Eritrean refugees and asylum-seekers and called on States to exercise solidarity and ensure their protection.

Babiker reported that Eritrean forces remain present and continue to be involved in the commission of human rights violations in parts of the Tigray region of Ethiopia. He called on Ethiopia and Eritrea to respect the terms of the 2002 decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission and ensure the rights of residents and original peoples from contested areas.

The Special Rapporteur called on the international community to maintain scrutiny of Eritrea. "The international community must not forsake Eritrean victims of human rights violations. A brighter future for Eritrea hinges on ensuring justice for victims, this requires sustained international pressure to hold perpetrators accountable."

Babiker urged the Eritrean government to take immediate action to improve its human rights record: "By taking meaningful steps towards reform, Eritrea can pave the way for a society where human rights are respected, and every individual can thrive."

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