Eritrean Delegation's Statement of the report presented by Special Rapporteur on Eritrea
THE OCCASION OF THE REPORT PRESENTED BY THE SPECIAL
RAPPORTUER ON ERITREA to the 26th Session.
Geneva, 18 June 2014
My delegation expresses its best wishes for the successful conclusion of the 26th Session under your able leadership. Eritrea is encouraged by the support rendered and the acknowledgement of its prevailing situation by a number of Member States during its UPR Presentation.
In the last 70 years Eritrea has been a victim of the geopolitical agenda. As a pattern of that behaviour, the continued occupation of its territories, the unwarranted hostilities and the unjust sanction imposed on Eritrea are aspects of the reality that need to be considered as obstacles in its efforts to establish a life of prosperity and dignity for everyone.
Politically motivated allegations disguised as human right issues have also constituted another front, posing challenges to my country. Eritrea readily acknowledges, like all countries, that it faces human rights challenges which the government constantly fights and seeks to address. The categorization applied of gross violation of human rights in Eritrea is, however, totally unacceptable.
In the last few years Eritrea has worked to clarify the country’s situation and has responded to all allegations. I will not also respond directly to the current report with its sensational appeals which cannot mislead members in this house and which we totally reject. In this statement, my delegation will share with the Council the following issues which depict our principled positions rather than respond tin detail to the current report which is totally rejected:
- Strengthening Cooperation and engagement at international and regional levels has been the major focus of Eritrea in the last three years. The partnership with the UN has been consolidated through the signing of a strategic Framework of Cooperation. Cooperation with the HRC and High Commissioner has also been stepped up at various levels. Regular engagements and interactions with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and political dialogue with the EU resident representative and missions in Eritrea are also ongoing, within the framework of the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement. It has also been meeting its reporting obligations to the UN bodies.
- Eritrea’s commitment to the UPR process is a reflection of the internal dynamics that drives development in general and human rights in particular.In this context, the Government has accepted a broad range of recommendations that touch upon the civil and political as well as the economic, social, and cultural rights.
- The political process constituted a significant dimension of the development course of our nation building. The Constitution, the National Charter and the pertinent laws have served as the basis of this course. Hence, participatory political system at home and abroad has been evolving. To further enhance the political process and safeguard the well being of Eritreans in the full enjoyment of the bill of rights, as well as considering the progresses, experiences and challenges of the last two decades, H.E. the President of the State of Eritrea on May 24, 2014 has declared that a new constitution drafting process will belaunched to chart out the political road map for the future governmental structure in Eritrea.
- In the Development agenda, revitalization of the economy and the integrated social sector transformations are manifested in the promising economic growth rate and in the improvement of living conditions by providing equitable and quality social services, including by focusing on the disadvantaged. The MDG achievements also have been nothing less than remarkable. But vicious attacks have been going on in order to undermine the growth of the economy, stifle the new mining sector and negate the development successes.
- The National Service system has been very critical to consolidate the hard won peace and defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation, which is the legitimate right of every nation. Its role to accelerate the rehabilitation and development of a country that suffered from decades of war has been significant. Furthermore, it is contributing to the socialization, upbringing and development participation of a new generation. It must be born in mind, however, that the implementation of the programme is dictated by the prevailing reality, and allegations brought on the system are thus illegitimate. Furthermore, the accusation of children’s involvement in military service is totally unfounded.
- Fighting against the tragic phenomenon of Trafficking in persons and smuggling has also been a major task affecting the social fabrics of our society. The pull factor dimension is crucial and evident. There are involvements at various levels, including individuals, groups who claim themselves as human right defenders, and some governments with political agenda. The preferential treatment to Eritrean migrants in countries of destination is also an additional incentive and a pull factor. Given the seriousness of the issue, the President of Eritrea has called for an independent investigation in his letter to the UN Secretary-General.
Despite all these challenges, the Government, with its limited capacity, has been making every effort to address the issue through public awareness campaigns, punishing perpetrators and enhancing cooperation with countries of the region, the UN system and other relevant bodies. Such measures including the AU led initiative held in Khartoum in May 2014 with the participation of Eritrea will help the coordinated effort to prevent Horn of Africa youth from being lured to criminal networks of human trafficking and smuggling.
Having elaborated some of the essential issues let me now turn to the Special Rapportuer (SR) and her current Report. The Government has all along expressed its serious concerns about politically motivated country specific resolutions that undermine constructive engagement. Eritrea, therefore, reiterates its rejection of the resolutions that have established and renewed the mandate of the SR as well as her current report. The concerns of my delegation are:
- The SR has continued to deny the actual realities in Eritrea by involving herself in a campaign trail to influence public opinion and act as an activist rather than a mandate holder. Her behaviour and position has been opposed, including through official communications of my delegation to the Council and the High Commissioner,
- The selective and biased collection of information has continued as a pattern of compiling her report and has failed to accommodate diverse views which compromised her neutrality, and
- Although the SR met a number of Eritrean Government officials since her appointment, she has not included the information she was provided with in her reports nor did she refer to the official responses of the government. This is a violation of Article 13 of HRC/RES/5/2.
Allow me now to give the following concluding remarks for consideration by the
- Eritrea urges the Council to drop the Resolutions.
- My delegation reiterates its call to address the continued occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories as a violation of the human rights of the Eritrean people in the relevant agenda item of the HRC
- My delegation also urges the Council to refrain from accepting abusive languages of the kind, “forced conscriptions”, “forced labour”, “shoot to kill policy” and “guilty by association” in its documents that denigrate and undermine the national laws of a UN member state.
I thank you Mr President
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