Statement Delivered by the Foreign Minister of Eritrea on Human Rights Day 2016

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Foreign Minister of Eritrea, HE Osman Saleh

By Foreign Minister Osman Saleh,

Honorable Ministers
Ladies and Gentlemen

The UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to set out common standards which every country should strive to achieve. The essence of this is promotion of the ideals of humanity. Human Rights Day is thus an opportunity to reflect on the human right situation globally and its implications to Eritrea.

As a country that emanated from the struggle for human right, Eritrea has mainstreamed it in nation building. Hence, equal rights and opportunities sanctioned by national laws are promoted. Dignified livelihood targeting poverty elimination is evolving and the equitable distribution of resources ensured. Above all the responsible participation of the people has prevailed.

In this vein, the rule of law is also instituted but fast tracking the political process to strengthen the infrastructure that enhances human rights is a vital goal. Revised national codes have been declared and writing a new constitution is on course. The initiative to reorganize government institutions and administrations is also ongoing to consolidate guidance and effective services.

The above are home grown pragmatic efforts driven by an independent political stance. They embody national ownership and priorities. They are based on Eritrea’s context, needs and human betterment ideals. Peace and stability thus prevails, as an achievement earned by the effort and sacrifice of all the citizens.

The ongoing plan now is to redouble the efforts and create a qualitative leap in the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, Eritrea still faces existential external threats i.e. occupation, illegal sanctions and belligerent stances. Neither has these threats succeeded to roll back Eritrea’s progress, nor have they subdued the resilience of the people and government. Even so, they all constitute a violation of the human and peoples’ rights and depict the failure of the international system.

Besides, Eritrea has been targeted under the politically motivated, country specific resolutions and mechanisms of the Human Rights Council. This futile attempt is perpetuated to subdue the nation under the pretext of human rights. Nevertheless, Eritrea continues to strengthen its bilateral, regional and international level engagement and cooperation including on human rights. The [Universal Periodic Review] UPR in particular serves as a vital entry point and the evolving cooperation partnerships with the UN and EU are considered important in this respect.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Humanity is faced with the challenges of global injustices aggravated by geopolitical agendas and interests. The prevailing level of underdevelopment and global poverty also poses challenges to human and peoples’ rights.

Every nation faces human right challenges. However, the politicization of human right by the powers of domination to vilify and destabilize nations is unlawful and constitutes a grave danger. The human right architecture is already suffering from the emerging polarization as a result of this situation.

In the above context, the all-round development basis of rights including the right to development is negated. Dichotomy in the handling of rights, the focus being on political and civil rights, has become symptomatic. The pressure on developing countries to leap frog political rights at the expense of economic, social and cultural rights is also being used as a means of coercion.

In the event, the Human Right Council as a body formed out of the failure of its predecessor seems to be at the crossroads and is falling prey to the above situation. The Human Right Day is thus a solid reminder of the need to rectify the looming functional crisis in the international system.

On this occasion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates the Eritrean Government commitment and responsibility to advance human rights to its people. It will also strengthen its engagement and cooperation as well as join the collective effort to address the emerging crisis in the global human architecture.

I thank you Ladies and Gentlemen!