A Dead COI Report Destined to a Landfill as Refuse

A Dead COI Report Destined to a Landfill as Refuse

Dawit G. Habte

The Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea (COI) was established by the United Nations Human Rights Council in order “to investigate systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights in Eritrea.” By its own admission, the COI received letters and emails from “500 individuals from 16 countries” in support of the commission and “44,267 submissions from 39 countries” that were critical of the commission and opposing the United Nations imposed sanctions. In July 1, 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council reviewed the COI report and passed a resolution for the “African Union to follow up on the [COI] report". Case was closed in Geneva. Right? Not to Ethiopia, an archenemy of Eritrea. Ethiopia through its surrogate, Djibouti, would like to reopen the baseless accusations, this time in NY, through the UN 3rd Committee. As one source quoted by Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press put it, “how can a dead man be allowed to testify?” This could only happen in the United Nations and it is happening.

We could go to each page and detail the level of ignorance and disinformation infested throughout the COI report, but focusing on red herring will always throw us off the right track. If there are problems in the Horn of Africa they are all stemming from Ethiopia’s refusal to accept and implement the final and binding decision rendered by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) in 2002 and Ethiopia’s insistence on occupying sovereign Eritrean territory. Any commission that does not consider this flagrant violation of international laws and norms as a basic premise for their investigation cannot reach any rational or logical conclusion.

As the newest member of the international community, Eritrea decided to take its boarder issue with Ethiopia to The Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague and accepted the court’s decision, consistent with the agreement it signed with Ethiopia, as a final and binding. Ethiopia on the other hand continues to reject the decision.

There are those who think Ethiopia’s ills can be cured by sacrificing Eritrea. However, those who have chosen to prop up the criminal government of Ethiopia are only pushing Ethiopia into a precipice with the poor people of Ethiopia left alone to pick up the pieces. What we are witnessing in Ethiopia is the proverbial “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Over the past 25 years, a single minority ethnic group (representing less than 5% of the country) in the helm of power in Ethiopia had a complete control of the country’s political discourse and economic development. In the name of “ethnic federalism,” the minority government in Ethiopia has been promoting ethnic-based politics in its ugliest form. Contrary to commonsense a minority is ruling Ethiopia by oppressing the majority. This is only possible because the western powers, primarily the USA and UK are enabling the criminal regime of Ethiopia by providing a diplomatic, financial and military aid. What we are witnessing these days in Ethiopia is the majority saying “enough is enough” and taking matters into its own hands. Sacrificing Eritrea will not move the pendulum an inch and definitely will not save the minority regime in Ethiopia from its demise.

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva had declared the COI report on human rights situation in Eritrea dead and had recommended a proper burial at the African Union and it needs to rest in peace there. A dead report should not be allowed to see day-light but be buried 9-ft under a refuse in a landfill.