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Eritrean Mission to the UN: Statement by H.E. Girma Asmerom at the World Humanitarian Summit

H.E. Girma Asmerom (R), Special Envoy of the President and Permanent Representative of Eritrea to the UN


Istanbul, Turkey, 23-24 May 2016 

Mr. Chair, 
Ladies and Gentlemen 

My delegation wishes to extend its appreciation to the Government of Turkey for the warm welcome and for hosting this important event. I wish also to thank the United Nations SecretaryGeneral, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for his initiative to convene the World Humanitarian Summit to address current and future humanitarian needs and the Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for all the important preparations towards this end. 

The current global humanitarian crisis cannot be properly understood and effectively addressed in isolation from the violent conflicts, recurring and unjustified armed interventions, widening global socio-economic inequality, and the failure of nation building on the basis of the dignity, equality and fundamental rights of citizens.

For example when we talk about migration, the concept and definition of regular, irregular, illegal migrants as well as asylum seekers and refugees must be clearly differentiated in an open and frank discussions. There is a need for better coordination between the countries of origin, transit and destination with the objective of tackling the root causes of migration, including properly addressing its pull factors. This policy of giving preferential treatment to illegal migrants from some countries, including Eritreans, is encouraging human traffickers to use all types of tricks to lure people for financial gains. Today, Eritreans are given automatic asylum status once they reach the shores of Europe, America and Australia. This preferential treatment of Eritreans is encouraging significant number of illegal African migrants to claim Eritrean identity and citizenship. This has to stop. The Danish and the UK immigration offices have already revised this preferential treatment of Eritrean illegal migrants; we hope others to do the same. I wish to stress that the President of Eritrea, H.E Isaias Afewerki, has formally requested the UN Secretary General and members of the UN Security Council to establish a body that will investigate crimes perpetrated by human traffickers and smugglers against its nationals and other victims. The President has also expressed its readiness to fully cooperate with such body and to provide it with all relevant information in its possession. 

Mr. Chair, 
Ladies and Gentlemen 

Eritrea’s foreign policy is anchored on securing peace, stability, development and cooperation in the wider Horn of Africa and the Red Sea regions. Eritrea, with 50% Christian and 50% Muslim population as well as 1200 km coastline and more than 350 islands strategically located in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region, is a land of harmony and is working diligently to transform the volatile neighborhood into economically integrated and peaceful region. In the face of external hostilities and pressures, and the continued occupation of its sovereign territory, including the town of Badme, by Ethiopia in violation of the UN Charter and EEBC’s final and binding delimitation and demarcation decision as well as the unjust sanction imposed on its people, Eritrea continues to enjoy peace, stability, security and social harmony. It has kept at bay radicalism and terrorism. Political expidencies and diplomatic maneuvers must stop and Ethiopia must be demanded to withdraw from the sovereign Eritrean territory and the unjust sanction must be lifted. Both issues have humanitarian implications. They need urgent attention. Prevention is the way forward. 

Mr. Chair, 
Ladies and Gentlemen  

In conclusion, my delegation would like to inform the participants of this historic Summit that Eritrea has presented and expressed its commitments to most of the five core responsibilities. Eritrea has further advocated the need for humanitarian and development actions to be viewed in an integrated manner with focus on women and girls. The motto “No one should be left behind” must be diligently practices by all of us. 

Thank you!
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