Ms. Beedwantee Keetharuth, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea, has again urged "the Eritrean authorities to cooperate with my mandate, as required by the UN Human Rights Council". This followed an ad-hoc meeting with the Eritrean delegation at the 53rd session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) in Banjul, The Gambia. In the absence of a visit to Eritrea, she will be visiting neighboring countries to hear the evidence of those who have fled from Eritrea.
Ms. Keetharuth said, "I will engage with all others concerned by human rights in Eritrea, including those who consider themselves to be victims of alleged human rights violations, human rights defenders and other civil society actors." The Special Rapporteur will present her first report on the human rights situation in Eritrea to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2013.
At a meeting of the NGO Forum, preceding the session, Ms. Keetharuth welcomed the call for the Government of Eritrea to cooperate fully with international and regional mechanisms and to implement previous decisions by the African Commission. Ms. Keetharuth said "I reiterate my hope that the Eritrean Government will consider the mandate of the Special Rapporteur as an opportunity to start a fresh and constructive dialogue on human rights issues that have been raised by the international community and other stakeholders."