OHCHR: Eritrea: Peace deal could offer hope for reforms, including three key steps, says UN expert – 18 September

  • The OHCHR issued a press release about the peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia on the 17th anniversary of Eritrea’s clampdown on its free press.
  • Sheila B. Keetharuth, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, welcomed the agreement but said reports of the arrest of former Finance Minister Berhane Abrehe on the eve of the anniversary of the 2001 clampdown “would add to the apprehension that improvements in Eritrea’s external relations are not mirrored inside”.
  • Keetharuth said that the Eritrean government could “take immediate action in three concrete areas, where urgent rectification is most needed”: to inform the families of those disappeared in Eritrean prisons of their loved ones’ whereabouts, and to bring before law courts the unknown number of people arrested or detained; implement the Constitution which has been pending since 1997; and elaborate a demobilisation plan, especially for long-serving conscripts.

AfricaExPress: The day the light was turned off in Eritrea – 18 September

  • Italian website Africa ExPress published an English-language article to mark 17 years since Eritrean officials advocating for democracy were imprisoned by Isaias Afwerki’s government.
  • The article author, Noel Joseph, is the nephew of Petros Solomon, one of the officials detained on 18 September 2001.
  • Noel Joseph writes about his uncle’s capture and the disappearance of his colleagues, noting that their whereabouts have never officially been confirmed.

Swissinfo.ch: Call to speed up deportation of Eritreans rejected – 19 September

  • Swissinfo reports on the Swiss Senate’s overturning of a decision by the House of Representatives to open talks with the Eritrean authorities on a repatriation deal.
  • The Senate also dismissed a petition to ease restrictions on asylum seekers from Eritrea, overruling the House of Representatives. Speakers said the situation in Eritrea had not improved despite a peace accord with neighbouring Ethiopia.
  • Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga pointed out that the Eritrean government was not willing to take back rejected asylum seekers, despite repeated attempts by Switzerland for dialogue.

Bloomberg: Eritrea Must Free Ex-Minister Critical of President, Group Says – 19 September

  • Bloomberg reports that Amnesty International has called on the Eritrean government to release Berhane Abrehe, the former finance Minister arrested this week after publishing a book critical of President Isaias Afwerki.
  • The book, published in two volumes and titled ‘Eritrea My Country’, criticised the nation’s political system and called on Eritreans to use peaceful means to achieve democracy.
  • Amnesty International has called the Eritrean government to release Abrehe immediately and unconditionally, as well as his wife, who has been jailed for a year because she allowed their son to leave the country without the government’s permission.

Africanews: Eritrea must begin respecting press freedom – CPJ, Amnesty – 19 September

  • Africanews reports on rights organizations’ continuing calls for Eritrea to respect the work of journalists and to guarantee press freedom.
  • Amnesty International’s East Africa wing and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) joined their editorial voices to advocate for a free press in Eritrea, 17 years after the country banned all private media as part of a crackdown on dissent.

Harnnet: Three Eritrean Organizations Send Memo to UN Human Rights Chief – 19 September

  • Three Eritrean organisations have issued an open letter to UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, according to the website of the Eritrean People’s Democratic Party (EPDP).
  • The letter is signed by the EPDP, United Eritreans for Justice (UEJ), and The Eritrean National Salvation (ENS-Hidri).
  • The organisations welcome Bachelet’s appointment and her comments on the peace initiative, but said they “expected [her] to say more than just reminding the repressive Eritrean regime to act on its indefinite military conscription.”
  • The letter said that no “‘under the table deals’ between the unrepresentative regime in Eritrea and Ethiopia will be acceptable to the Eritrean people.”


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