More than 10,000 Eritreans and their friends from across Europe inundated Geneva on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, to protest against the politically driven agenda of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights and to condemn the COI-Eritrea for its preposterous conclusion that “crimes against humanity have been committed in Eritrea since 1991.” This finding flies against the reality on the ground in Eritrea and is a total fabrication. Equating Eritrea’s National Service with enslavement not only is disgraceful, but it also adds insult to injury to the millions of men and women of African origin that were and continue to be victimized by the crimes of slavery in the Americas. The protestors also submitted more than 200,000 petitions from 81 countries across the globe to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
We are submitting this memorandum to appeal for your support to categorically and unequivocally reject the politically motivated report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea (COI-Eritrea) of June 8, 2016 that is now before the UN Human Rights Council.
In its preliminary response of June 8, 2016, Eritrea has answered to these charges point by point. It has shown that the Commission has not presented solid evidence to support its grave and extreme accusations. Eritrea has also presented facts and figures that reveal that the methodology the Commission followed was so fundamentally flawed and lacked rigor and balance as to compromise its findings. The Commission has ignored all positive developments in Eritrea, including, but not limited to, any consideration of economic, social and cultural rights, violating the principle of indivisibility and complementarity of human rights. More crucially, the Commission’s case against Eritrea is legally indefensible as it fails to prove that the “crimes” it alleges were committed were indeed “persistent, widespread and systematic.”
The National Council of Eritrean Americans (NCEA) in strongest terms deplores the recent statement issued by the US Department of State on the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Human Rights Situation in Eritrea. As Americans of Eritrean origin we expect a fair and balanced response than what we read. Neither the politically motivated mandate of the Commission of inquiry nor the US lead campaign to isolate Eritrea serves the cause of human right in Eritrea; in fact we believe it is a prescription for yet another war in the Horn of Africa, as Ethiopia, sensing it got a green light from Washington, has embarked on another path of aggression by attacking Eritrea a mere hours after the Department of State’s wholesale “endorsement” of the COI's faulty findings.
The “Commission of Inquiry” (COI), is campaigning to take yet another African country, this time Eritrea, to the International Criminal Court. The COI claims that it “has reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Eritrea since 1991.” Yet it has no solid evidence or firm legal basis to support its extreme and unfounded charges. The report of the COI fails to meet the principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity as laid out in the guidelines of the United Nations. It also lacks the minimum standards of rigor and professionalism.
Press Statement by H.E. Mr. Yemane Gebreab
Presidential Adviser, The State of Eritrea
Geneva, 8 June 2016