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Is the UNCOI on Eritrea reliable?

Sheila B. Keetharuth, the head of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea, pictured with Eritrean "opposition" members who seek regime change in Eritrea. 

Is the UNCOI on Eritrea reliable?

Much has been said about the recent UNCOI report on Eritrea. The legitimacy and other issues have been eloquently raised by others more versed in these matters than I.

However, on reading the report’s methodology and sections of the report, it became quite evident that the report was staggering on very shaky ground. I therefore felt a more thorough examination of the methods or lack of methods, as the case maybe, employed by the Commission was warranted.

Seeing that the members of the Commission have little or no appetite for any information that contradicts their version of events, I set out to show the flaws and fallacies of the report based on their own words and statements.

Most main stream media and those that wish to inflict a deadly blow on the Government of Eritrea seem not too have gone beyond the summary of the report. Rather than choose to look at the report in depth, they have rather conveniently opted to refer to selective unfounded sensational claims,  much in the same way of the courtiers of the Emperor who had commissioned new clothes and who ended up walking down the street stark naked. His nakedness was only exposed when a child questioned the status quo and lifted the mass mental blindness

The lengthy report makes numerous outlandish claims with no real evidence presented. The lack of evidence is attributed to the fact that the Commission was not allowed to visit Eritrea and the lack of engagement of the Government of Eritrea.

These things on their own should not really be held as reasons for not presenting evidence. Recent convictions in what have come to be referred to as Historical child abuse cases, have shown that by employing recognized and proper methodologies, the truth can be found out despite the passage of time.

The main method employed in these matters is to ensure that the witness that are coming forward have had no prior communication before hand and the information they give is not in the public domain. For example if a person in Leeds makes an accusation against a certain person and another person makes a more or less identical accusation in London against the same person, and the accusations are very similar in detail, then the chances are the accusations are true as two or more people who do not know each other supplying similar details is very remote. It is therefore imperative that witnesses are kept apart and not given a chance to ‘compare notes’.

Coming back to the report we are told that 160 submissions were made relating to 254 individual cases. As the number of submissions is considerably less than the individual cases, it can only mean that some of submissions were group submissions. Bearing in mind that some Eritreans prided themselves in helping compile these written submissions; it is quite easy to see that there was a possibility of ensuring that the stories matched. This in my view meant that any conclusion drawn from these submissions could not be relied upon.

What is somewhat extraordinary about the report is the lack of meaningful statistics, its one thing blaming the Government of Eritrea denying entry and accesses, another to deliberately withhold statistics that should have been gathered by the Commission. Instead of providing meaningful statistics, the report resorts to saying ‘many’ where ‘many’ has not been defined. In some instances, they say one person said this and that and based on the testimony of one person they then go on to make sensational unfounded claims.

On its website the UNCOI claimed that due to a high number of submissions, the deadline date for submitting was extended by a month to the end of February 2015, by the end of which only 160 submissions were made. We are not told how many submissions were made before the initial deadline. In what is a common theme throughout the report, the authors tend to be vague with their numbers. On the one hand we are told many submissions were made and on the other we are told only 160 submissions were made. Perhaps 160 is many for some but in the context of the number of Eritreans we are told are fleeing, this is a miniscule figure. It is the authors of this very report that have been telling us that up to 2,000, 3,000 and even 5,000 have been leaving Eritrea per month for the last few years. So, if this figure of thousands is to be believed, how come there are only 160 submissions, even this after the deadline was extended by no less than a month.

Sticking on the subject of statistics, we are told that 550 confidential interviews were conducted. What we are not told is whether this meant that 550 individuals were interviewed or 250 were interviewed two or more times or some other combination. As the commission is ‘investigating’ a complex subject, one would imagine that some people would require more than one interview, especially when the alleged harrowing tales of abuse are taken into consideration.

The main flaw of the report is its sample size. The report’s ambitious aim was to investigate twenty odd years of ‘abuse’. With this in mind, it would be hard to imagine that abuses over such a prolonged period could be thoroughly investigated by way of 550 interviews of an unspecified number of individuals. As it turns out these 550 interviews were with three groups of people, victims, witnesses and sources. The latter two groups’ evidence is merely conjecture and hearsay. Characteristically the report does not give a breakdown of the number of interviews conducted with each group. As the sample size was not sufficient and the make up of the sample is not disclosed, it is reasonable to assume that the Commission’s conclusion can not be substantiated and seem simply to be drawn from thin air or most likely from the poisoned minds of the detractors of Eritrea.

Whilst the Commission set out what would outwardly seem to be an impressive stall, on closer examination it would appear that it had over extended it self. The mandate of the Commission was a year. In this year, it was expected to investigate all instances of alleged abuse as identified by the UN Representative, committed over a period of 20 odd years. In this solitary year, the commission had to identify the victims, travel to where the victims and other stakeholders were, investigate the accounts, and compile a report to be presented all in one short year. It seems to be a far fetched idea and an over ambitious aim, unless of course it is a case of ‘here is one I prepared earlier’ as they say on TV. It is also worthy of note that according to the report the members of the Commission received no remuneration for their work, it would be interesting to see if they can actually show that they received no payment from any organisation during this period for the work they have done, that would include travel allowances etc. 

The interviews were carried out in several countries. The countries were chosen according to the report, by the size of the Eritrean population and the time they left Eritrea. One would think judging by recent reports that there would be a considerable number of Eritreans in Ethiopia and Sudan. The report states that it had requested to visit Sudan but does not say whether or not the Sudanese government was willing to accommodate them. What is quite clear though is that the Ethiopians were more than willing to accommodate the members of the commission.

What is strange is that whereas the commission spent 9 days in Switzerland it only spent 3 days in Ethiopia. These 3 days were taken up with presentations, interviews and the mundane tasks associated with travelling. So when did the commission find time to investigate the alleged abuses? The interviews were conducted with all probability with the help of an interpreter, which would naturally lengthen the interview. It would therefore be highly improbable for the commission to carry out any meaningful investigation into any allegation. The commission travelled to several countries spending a maximum of 9 days in Switzerland. I can only presume it went to the USA to investigate historic allegations. How it managed to do so in just 4 days is truly astounding.

Another aspect of the report which casts doubt on its validity is the manner in which alleged victims and witnesses were identified. The reports states ‘The Commission has benefited from the invaluable support of a number of individuals and non-governmental organizations who have helped to identify and contact Eritrean victims and witnesses of alleged human rights violations.’ In typical fashion, these organisations and individuals are not identified, without any form of identification how can their objectivity be ascertained? Do these groups and individuals have an ulterior motive? Are they ones that have stated their desire to oust the Government of Eritrea? None of these questions can be answered as their identity is shrouded in mystery.

Information on who conducted the translation (both verbal and written) is absent. There is no description as to how the commission ensured that the translation was accurate and in fact if the story being told was actually of the person being interviewed and not one prepared earlier by the translator. This is especially poignant in Ethiopia, where the government there has a vested interest in portraying Eritrea in a negative light. There is also no information as to how the Commission knew those that it was presented with were actually Eritrean, especially those who claimed that they did not have identification papers for whatever reason.

For a report that claims to be uncovering the secrets of the Government of Eritrea it is surprisingly vague about its claims.  In the report it is claimed that the Commission actually witnessed the Government of Eritrea spying on participants. Unsurprisingly details were not given about this incident that is supposed to have happened right under the nose of members of the Commission.

At times the report taxes our intelligence. In the section where it outlines the issues it faced with regards to women participants, the report states When communicating to men the Commission’s desire to speak with their wives or other female family members, the Commission was often told that it would be possible, but that the women would be unable to travel or leave their homes as they could not navigate their new surroundings. Are we to believe that women who navigated deserts and other difficult terrain to reach their new ‘home’ found it difficult to reach the commission in the very city they now lived in? If the men can do it, why not the women, or are women inferior in someway?

The commission claimed to have referred to a wide range of publications when gathering information. On checking Appendix VIII, it becomes apparent that the selection is not as wide as it was made out, with one author, Dan Connell citied five times. A check of the twitter profile of those who have been citied will reveal that this was not a collection of scholars on Eritrea but a roll call of those who wish to see the removal of the Government of Eritrea; however, in their infinite wisdom and unabashed bias, we are told that the report was objective. What is auspicious through its absence is the Danish Report of November 2014. It would seem that the Commission had no use for it, further undermining their claim to be objective and impartial.

This is by far not a comprehensive list of reasons as to why the report is fundamentally flawed. It is quite clear that this report was written and complied by those who wish to see the destruction of Eritrea.

Those ‘Eritreans’ that think that by collaborating with the enemies of Eritrea will somehow fulfil their ambition and in some cases lust for power and vengeance, should think twice and learn from history as collaboration has a bad habit of coming back to bite.

If our history has taught us anything, it is that there were, are and there will be Eritreans who will fight against Eritrea for motives of their own. The fate of those who helped in dissolving the Eritrean parliament and the annulment of the Federation should be a stark reminder to those who wish to fill their shoes.

My fellow Eritreans, let us not be down hearted but steadfast and let us fight the good fight.

Yacob Zecharias

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Is the UNCOI on Eritrea reliable? Reviewed by Admin on 1:21 PM Rating: 5


  1. this bitch is on the payroll of George Soros (George Soros = a zionist jew and New World Order advocate who turns sovereign nations and their people into slaves). this Sheila whore deserves gang r^pe and mutilation.

  2. Dr Boyce Watkins (finance professor) has it right on how the west peruses human rights double standard:
    5:40 to 6:50

  3. No human being deserves that man calm down. Because someone else is inhuman doesn't give you leeway to act inhuman also. That would defeat the whole purpose.

  4. Yacob zecharias u make me proud thank u ..goood Job

  5. Truth hurts!! If memory serves me well, Hailesellasie denied the presence of any famine, Gadaffi denied the presence of anyone against him, Mengistu denied losing the war...etc. Issayas and his click are not different..May the truth set you free! Thanks

  6. 'His click'? What the hell does that mean?

    World politics is way out of your pay-grade, Mekelle Boy. Focus on your priorities like learning how to spell simple words. Illiterate!

  7. You fvck with Eritrea're fvcking with me and with the fathers and mothers of our martyrs, that's all. tyrants don't believe on peace or respect or sovereignty or humanity, they only understand the sound that comes out from a barrel of a gun and that is what should be unleashed upon them. Remember, Eritrean/Eritreans did not honeymoon with tyrants from 1961-1991, rather kicked tyrants asss to the max and that is the only medicine that suits those degenerate feces of lucifer.

  8. The UN has lost its credibility since its inception.
    What do you expect when the world is ruled by 5 Pimps (permanent members), 10 bitches (non-permanent members) and 181 cheer leaders.
    Isn't this the office that has (lets forget the case of Eritrea for now):
    -- No-balls to condemn Israel of war crimes against Palestine and Lebanon.
    -- Looked the other way when George W Bush invaded Iraq in the name of WMD
    -- Showered Obama with Peace award for droning the whole Islamic world
    -- Approved the destruction of Libya by 3 of the 5 pimps (France, UK, USA)
    -- Could not condemn Saudi (for acting like Israel and USA) against Yemen, except begging asking them to pause the bombardment during the month of Romodan

  9. hawi55,
    I understand your point. I think we have to be politically correct in this fucking world. That does not mean these bastards don't deserve the worst evil possible against them. I would not even feel sorry if they hand all the bastards (crooked UN, Human traffickers, any person or organization who has intentionally screwed the people of Eritrea in which we have lost amazing amount of freedom fighters and civilians) to ISIS for video training.

  10. Hi madote, sheila bk is not reliable. Well the photo you posted claiming opposition is photo of elsa chrum, salh yonus, petros solomon doughter, son & mother. Thanks for your lies you proved it yourself dont play with eritrean lives. Eritrean nationality is different than justice. "Haki bresa tekeberkaya b egra tiwetsie" lomi neay tsibah abaka, lomi neana tsibah abakum, eta resan moklo minister, ambassaderat, artist, abalat hagerawi tseta, kota kulu mis andedeto kihadim hiji win eti terifu zelo kolay nisikum sigab tendidekum kof belu? Thanks tezaribna zeynifelit dea azaribkmuna

  11. Also 'Duru's brother. The bottom line is not that they are here just because they claim opposition. On their point of view their dears are in the prison they need to see justice. But I say this is blackmailing the sovernighty and unity of Eritrea exposing the Eritrean people into problem with collaboration of anti-Eritreans like Sheila and her likes. Some of them were political activist in the past they know very well the consequence. I believe they know more each other and it is good if they come together and solve their differences. When I see the picture it reminds me the good old days after independence until the 1998 war. We need only to soften our hearts to make things straighten.

  12. Relax man, it is time to pray not to curse. Is the report reliable? It depends whom you ask. For UN it is reliable for Eritrea regime it is not reliable. At the end of the day, if UN pushes this investigation so far, it is going to consider its own investigation credible and the people who did it reliable. In the future UN will expand this investigation to find out if crime against humanity has been committed by the regime. Eritrean government, however needs to do a better job of explaining what is going in Eritrea instead of creating a tug of war with UN. UN has nothing to prove the Eritrean government does but the regime is not going to escape scrutiny by just denying what is going on in Eritrea. If Eritrean government continues this smear campaign against UN and its staff to discredit the report it will come back to bite the regime in Asmara. The commission had very clear mandate and clear guide lines to do its investigation. In order for UN to accept Eritrea's argument as it is framed by regime UN has to go against its own principles. The report is reliable for most reasonable people as well as to UN

  13. "The report is reliable for most reasonable people as well as to UN"

    Can you even say that with a strait face? Mr tigray/ethiopia comes here and tells us this shit is reliable... when ever a story or document is released by aljzeera/cnn/statedeparment, you will be here calling it a smear attack. For god sake please be a little unbias and/or just keep your opinion to yourself man.

  14. UN is NGO. Its members are different states. Eritrea is one of its members. UN has nothing against its own members. But one of UN members is investigated for human rights violations and crime against humanities. UN should be conducting its investigation as clean as possible. If that is not done the whole UN mandate becomes under a lot of scrutiny. UN has a lot to lose if its investigation is not reliable after it is said and done. That is why reliability can't be questioned when it comes to UN investigation of Eritrea. Reasonable people weigh in motive to question a process. UN has no conflict of interest in the process but Eritrea has conflict of interest on the outcome of the investigation. If reliability is questioned of the investigation by Eritrea, its motive for questioning the investigation is going to be on the spot light.

  15. Dear GUESTT I like the respectfull of talking the same us you. Me my self i dont want to see or hear bad about eritrea a country were we almost all of us contributed our life even if its one single day during war or peace. Shila's report is exajurated more than whats on the ground including me when we are away from the country claims to be pentecost, johova or being impreisoned in container even though it really happened to few ppl and also we eritreans dont expect the UN to stand for our rights coz it did'nt stand for its duties in our country but also we have big problem if you take two steps for ward for trouble why not take a single step for peace i dont understand and i bleive the solution is with us including the gov. The gov can release all prisnors and make reconcilation day & forgiveness where we celebrate it like may 24, 20 june where every eritrean who left the country longtime ago & short time ago is forgiven and declared all eritreans are equal under the umbrella of the country which will let us get stronger & stronger for me this how i see things can be sloved once and for all, i bleive is the best option out of the choice thanks!

  16. That is a photo shop. Don't the face value of any picture nowadays. A picture does not tell any story. I think if a picture is not original, anyone posting it should put PS for photo shop at the bottom of the picture.

  17. Your claim of 'UN has no conflict of intrest in the process' is indicitive of your ignorance. Next you will be telling us that Western powers are working night and day to alleviate poverty in Africa.

  18. Good news

    Ethiopian Started Flights to Dublin and Los Angeles – The First Service Linking the Two Cities with Africa, 19 June 2015.

  19. Search in youtube Eritrea: In the vocies of the victims on sahara tv. You will see the reality of this photo and where is taken Dont deny things while they are real.

  20. ዝኸበርካ Yacob Zecharias

    ነቲ 400ን ገለመለን ገጻት ጸብጻበ- ሽፍጣኖም፣ ብዝርዝር ኣንቢብና ምስ ደቓይቑ ንክንርድኦ ዓቕሚ ዀን ግዜ ንይዘብልና፣ ኣዝዩ ኣገዳሲ ዳህሳሲ ገምጋም ገርካ፣ ነዚ ክስታት ጠቐነ ከፈሽልዎ ዝኽእሉ ረጐድቲ ነጥብታት ስለ ዝሓበርካና የቐንየለይ።

    ንዓኻ ዝመስሉ ካልኦት ተበዓት ክኢላታት´ውን ኣብ እዘን ዝስዕባ ውሑዳት መዓልትታት፣ ብቕልጡፍ ነቲ ሕመረት ግዕዙይ ትሕዝቶታት እዚ ሰይጥናዊ ጸብጻብ፣ ከቃልዕዎ ብኣንክሮ እጽውዕ።

    ወረ´ቲ ቀንድስ ነቶም ብሃታ ሃታ፣ "ኣንቢቦም" (ብግለይ ብዓይኒ ዳኛ ጸጽዮም ኣይምርምሩን ኢለ ስለ ዝግምት)፣ ነቶም ኣብ´ቲ መንበረ- ውሳኔ ተራ ኣለዎም ዝበሃሉ ብፍላይ ነቶም ቀጥታውያን ተለኣኣኽቲ ገባጢት ኣሜሪካ ንዘይኰኑ ኣካላት፣ ምርምራዊ ጽሑፋትኩም ክበጽሖም ተዝግበርስ፣ የዒንቲ ገለ "ተዋሳእያን" ብእዋኑ ኣይምኸፈተን ዶ ትብሉ?

  21. Let us cross our fingers The Lord Almighty fulfill our desire to come together!

  22. Is the UN reliable? Do pigs fly? Does Ethiopia have access to the sea? Is the US a corrupt imperial power? Does Israel occupy palestine?

  23. Ayte Erty,
    Welcome back to your old name Erty.
    I will read your "comments" a little latter ... aftee work.

  24. Be fair hawi55, asking erty to be unbias is impossible. He is here telling you that woyane are the once feeding misinformation to Sheila. You like it or not, he is forcing you to swallow his words by hook or crook. How about that?

  25. Aye Simon, discussing Eritrean issues with enemies, to what extent?

  26. Former Permanent rep. of the united states of america to the UN can reply to you :

  27. isay that be fore SHEILA B.KEETHARUTH & her frinds are working for GEORGE SEROSE an AMERICAN MILIONER who was CIA member so GEORGE SEROSE pay them so they job is POSING as UN & talk with ACTIVISTS & gather information in this case ELSA SHIROM is their information person the frist time they plan to go to ERITREA then they travel to ETHIOPIA after stay in ETHIOPIA they ask permision to enter ERITREA the ERITREAN gov dinied them visa then they give their report to UN ERITREA gov refiuse to allow us to ERITREA so after ERITREA start fixing its releshinship with EU UK NORWAY DENMARK FINLAND this was anight mare to the CIA& USA so they have to cook some propoganda let me explain somthing MS SHEILA is not UN HUMAN RIGHT is when UN is trying to send deligation to eny caountry it informs the ambassy frist in this case the ERITREAN EMBASSY IN UN GRIMA ASMEROM dont even know her no body inform him abaout the investigation of HUMAN RIGHT in ERITREA so she & her frinds work for CIA posing as UN trying to fool the world


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