OHCHR: Eritrea: Human rights central to brighter future, says expert – 24 October

  • Sheila B Keetharuth, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea, has said that the people of Eritrea “have seen little improvement in their human rights” since the Ethiopia-Eritrea peace initiative was begun in July.
  • In a press release issued by the OHCHR, Keetharuth said that the Eritrean Government “continues to lock up or forcibly disappear dissenting voices, thus silencing analytical discussions and critical debates”, and that “without any space for the Eritrean people to participate in shaping the country’s future, there is little scope for progress.”
  • The Special Rapporteur said Eritrea should implement its 1997 Constitution to build a solid national legal framework and a society governed by the rule of law, in line with the responsibilities of its new membership of the Human Rights Council.
  • “The impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of crimes against humanity and human rights violations must be addressed through effective measures, the more so at this particular moment in time, for lasting and sustainable peace,” she said.

EEPA: Dutch to host EU talks on human rights sanctions – 25 October

  • European External Policy Advisors (EEPA) reported in their weekly newsletter that the European Parliament has backed the Netherlands’ initiative to bring together EU diplomats to discuss the creation of a new sanctions regime against human rights abusers worldwide.
  • The idea behind the initiative, as described by EUobserver, is “to target individuals, via EU visa bans and asset freezes, to discourage them and others from violations, potentially saving lives,” and would apply to state and non-state actors.
  • Eritrea Focus has drafted a submission to the meeting outlining the applicability of an EU sanctions regime to Eritrea, based on evidence from UN reports from the years 2011-2016.

Eritrea Hub: Pastor deplores human rights situation in Eritrea – 26 October

  • Eritrea Hub publishes a translation of an article that appeared in German outlet Weltkirche Katholisch, about an open letter from Eritrean priest Mussie Zerai on the situation of human rights in Eritrea and the crisis of refugees fleeing the country.
  • As first reported by Vatican press agency Fides, Pastor Zerai writes that the regime in Asmara is “a dictatorship that suppressed all forms of liberty” and has “elected terror, making its own people slaves”.
  • He says that the bodies of those Eritreans who fled the country and died crossing the Mediterranean, including in the Lampedusa shipwreck of 2013 which claimed more than 300 lives, should be returned and buried in Eritrea “to give families a place to pray for their loved ones.” He also highlights the suppression of religious groups and their activities.

Africanews.com: Eritrea-Ethiopia deal did not require any mediation – FM Saleh – 26 October

  • Africa News reports on Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh’s claim that Ethiopia and Eritrea were the only actors involved in the July peace agreement, rejecting the suggestion that a third party interfered.
  • Many have speculated about the involvement of the United States and Gulf nations including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who are said to have interests in trade and security along the Red Sea.
  • Saleh was speaking in Rome during the second Italy-Africa Forum, held from 24-26 October. Yemane G Meskel, Eritrean Minister of Information, tweeted that the Foreign Ministers of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Italy held tripartite meetings to discuss “enhanced economic cooperation; joint work for stabilization of Somalia; as well as lifting of UNSC sanctions on Eritrea.”


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