Sheila B. Keetharuth : there is a large-scale violations of human rights in Eritrea

Geneva ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Amid forced conscription, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, the human rights situation in Eritrea continues to remain “dire,” a United Nations independent expert warned, adding that a new Commission of Inquiry would help “pave the way” to accountability.

“The creation of my Special Rapporteur’s mandate has increased international awareness about the large-scale violations of human rights in Eritrea,” said Sheila B. Keetharuth, adding that “concrete steps are urgently needed to address such violations.”

Her comments followed a five-day mission to Italy, where she visited Eritrean refugees and migrants and collected their first-hand accounts.

The widespread abuses allegedly faced by many in the Horn of Africa nation have prompted hundreds of Eritreans to flee their home country in search of asylum in Europe. According to the latest estimates produced by Italian authorities, 32,000 Eritreans were rescued in 2014 as they attempted to traverse the Mediterranean – the majority of all migrants rescued by Italy’s comprehensive Mare Nostrum operation.

“Eritreans are escaping systematic and widespread human rights violations,” Ms. Keetharuth said in a news release, citing indefinite forced conscription, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and inhumane prison conditions, as well as political repression.

Last Friday, the UN Human Rights Council appointed Mike Smith of Australia and Victor Dankwa of Ghana to join Ms. Keetharuth on a Commission of Inquiry to investigate all reports of human rights abuses in Eritrea in what the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has described as a “historic moment” for the thousands of possible victims.

As part of its mandate, the Commission will investigate “the most egregious human rights violations,” including cases of extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearance and incommunicado detention, torture, and lack of freedom of expression and opinion, assembly, association, religious belief and movement.

The Special Rapporteur urged the Government and people of Eritrea, as well as the international community, to cooperate with the Commission’s inquiry.

“I hope the Commission of Inquiry would pave the way to establish accountability for these violations,” said Ms. Keetharuth, “especially in view of the continued non-cooperation of Eritrea with my mandate and other UN mechanisms.”

Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.



An Official Invitation Letter By Coordinators of PEN Eritrea

The founding members of the PEN Eritrea are committed to excellence in its participative approach to promote freedom of expression in Eritrea. The historic organization will officially be formed in Bishkek- Kirgisistan between Sept. 29 – Oct. 2, 2014 with the following intended objectives:

PDF: An_Official_Invitation_Letter_to_all_Media_Outlets-1

EU : “Eritrea continues to violate its international and domestic obligations regarding human rights”

Brussels (DIPLOMAT.SO)- The European Union On Friday expressed concerns over continued human rights violations in Eritrea, especially arbitrary detentions and lack of religious freedom and freedom of expression.

“We remain deeply concerned that the State of Eritrea continues to violate its international and domestic obligations regarding human rights,” the European bloc said in a statement.

EU expressed particular concerns over the continued detention of a charge, trial or legal counsel of eleven 11 prominent politicians, including three former cabinet ministers, since September 18, 2001.

The bloc also expressed concerns over the continued detention of ten independent journalists, including the Eritrean-EU citizen Dawit Isaak, since September 23, 2011. They are also being held without charges or trial.

“Despite repeated appeals by the international community, including the UN Human Rights Council and the EU, these people have been detained incommunicado for the last thirteen years, with all their rights suspended,” the EU statement read.

The statement stressed that this conduct of the Eritrean government is in “clear violation of obligations established in the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), ratified by Eritrea, such as the prohibition against arbitrary detention.”

The European bloc urged the Government of Eritrea to release these prisoners immediately and unconditionally, along with other prisoners detained for their political views. The bloc also requested the Eritrean government to release information on the whereabouts of these prisoners, and to ensure that they are given access to their families and lawyers.

Further, the EU called on the Government of Eritrea to honor its international human rights obligations and to urgently improve its human rights situation.

“The EU also calls on the Government to fully co-operate with the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea as well as to implement the recommendations made by the UN Human Rights Council during the Universal Periodic Review of the State of Eritrea in 2014,” the note said.


2014 Annual Community Event – Family Picnic

While we are here we would like to take this opportunity to invite you to our upcoming Family Picnic to be held on Sept. 27, 2014. We encourage you to come with your family and friends to enjoy this day.





Cycling in Eritrea: Five Photos That Capture a National Obsession

Eritrea has one of Africa’s most unique sporting crazes.

Cycling is immensely popular in Eritrea. Every weekend, thousands of amateurs speed along isolated roads, over mountain passes and across deserts. Between them, the country’s 6 million people own some 500,000 bicycles.

keulen-eritrea-1The sport’s event of the year is the “Giro dell’Eritrea,” a 700-mile, 10-stage event, that is Africa’s oldest cycle race. It was first organized in 1946 by the country’s Italian expatriate community, but with local people barred from entering.

Political unrest led to the race being cancelled the following year, and it was only resurrected 54 years later in 2001, ten years after Eritrea had secured its independence.

The race has been run every year since then – always along roads packed with spectators. The event is a huge celebration in the country, followed by some one-third of the country’s population.

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