Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur
Presented by Ambassador Tesfamicael Gerahtu
Geneva, 26 June 2018
In the last six years, Eritrea has been subjected to harassment under the country-specific resolutions and mandates of the Human Right Council. As pointed out on many occasions, this is not driven by concerns of "grave human rights violations". The over-arching political objective of the principal architects has always been to villify, destabilize and isolate Eritrea and human right mechanisms have been misused as an extension of regional conflict.
It is unfortunate that the Council is discussing the final but unwarranted and recycled report of the SR. The lack of objectivity and professionalism is again manifested in the unsubstantiated allegations, denial of Eritrea's achievements and the myths of "no tangible progress, continued concern, lack of genuine commitment, etc.". Once again, the goal is to recommend unwarranted extreme measures or at least sustain the harassment and confrontation by extending the counterproductive mandate.
Consequently, Eritrea's ground reality continues to be negated in the Report at hand in violation of the UN principle of interlink between peace and security and human right and development. The mandate deliberately fails to appraise the Council on concrete progress that includes the promotion of equal rights and opportunities sanctioned by national law, equitable distribution of resources and wealth, responsible popular participation in governance, and unity and diversity reflected in societal harmony. The attendant exemplary peace and stability earned through sustained effort, resilience and sacrifice that endure advances in human dignity, betterment and development of all Eritreans is again misjudged in the Report.
Eritrea recognizes that it still faces, like many other nations, institutional challenges in consolidating a robust framework of human rights. In this respect, it has both reviewed its domestic legal architecture of laws and regulations (enshrined in the revised Civil, Penal and Commercial Codes) and also signed and implements almost all core regional and international conventions on human rights.
Stemming from its holistic approach on the indivisibility and universality of human rights, it has gone further to incorporate and implements basic social human rights in its laws and strategic developmental plans. This has accelerated socio-economic progress, consolidated the rule of law and strengthened national institutions. The commendable achievements, including in most of the MDGs parameters, widely recognized by United Nations and other development partners offer a glimpse of the true narrative on progress in spite of considerable economic and national security challenges that it has been facing for almost 20 years now.
Eritrea has and continues to undertake tangible action to engage with its regional and international partners. It is indeed engaged, in good faith, in the Universal Periodic Review and is preparing the third cycle National report. It maintains that this is a fair and viable mechanism for experience sharing, emulation of best practices, as well as an appropriate mechanism for engagement. The initial and Combined Report on African Charter for Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) was also discussed in the 62nd Session of ACHPR.
As the mandate ends in the present 38th session, the Council knows well that the aforesaid confrontational approach of the last six years has not created any dividend. The destructive intentions harbored under the rubric of "human rights violations" are also exposed. In this vein, my delegation once again reminds the Council of its obligation to adhere to the UN principles of objectivity, non-selectivity and impartiality.
In conclusion, my delegation rejects the Report and makes the following appeals to the Council;
1. bring to an end the unfair and counterproductive process and experience
2. adhere to the meaningful and constructive approach that eschews confrontation and double standards and focuses on engagement and cooperation through the Universal Period Review process to which Eritrea is committed
3. ensure that engagement is dignified, fair and befits the common ideals and shared responsibilities
4. objectively consider the recent dynamics and prospects of peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa Region
At precisely the time when a senior Eritrean delegation is arriving in Ethiopia to promote enduring peace between the two countries, it behooves on the Council to act in tune with the unfolding reality. The Council should not, indeed, lag behind. It must act for a viable future instead of dwelling on a fabricated Report.
I thank you Mr. President!