The Eritrean foreign ministry has issued a scathing attack on the report of a United Nations inquiry into human rights in the country.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the ministry referred to the allegations as:
- "vile slanders and false accusations"
- "wild allegations" which were "totally unfounded and devoid of all merit",
- "extreme charges and indecent hyperbole", and
- "a cynical political travesty that undermines human rights."
In the report, published on Monday, a UN Commission of Enquiry found that Eritrea was committing "systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations" on "a scope and scale seldom witnessed elsewhere".
Saying that Eritrea was not ruled by law, but by fear, the commission said extra-judicial executions, torture (including sexual torture), extended periods of national service and forced labour "may constitute crimes against humanity".
The Eritrean statement protested against the singling out of "peaceful, stable, harmonious, human development-focused Eritrea".
The accusations of crimes against humanity, it said, were intended to "rush matters and force the issue before fairness and justice can prevail".
It said there were forces which would "hide behind these outrageous claims" and use them to seek pretexts to destabilise the country.
"These accusations and the despicable attempts to silence those who have anything positive to say about Eritrea are a transparent attempt to race against time to impede the increasing and increasingly productive international engagement with Eritrea," the foreign ministry added.