Eritrea: The Working Method of the Human Rights Council Must be Respected

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Ambassador Girma Asmerom
Ambassador Girma Asmerom, Eritrea’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations

By TesfaNews,

ERITREA’S Permanent Representative to the United Nations today criticized a briefing on Eritrea delivered by the President of the Human Rights Council to G77 and China in New York.

Ambassador Girma Asmerom in his remark to the Council said that the President’s report was not only procedurally wrong but opinionated and judgmental.

“As Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Germany,” reads Ambassador Girma Asmerom’s remark, “he is the president of the Human Rights Council, no less no more; [as] he is neither the Special Rapporteur (SR) nor the Commission of Inquiry (COI).”

He also underline that no body, not the SR or the three COI members, have authority to speak on behalf of the Eritrean people other than the people it self.

Underling Eritrea’s commitment to international human rights values and principles, Ambassador Girma said Eritrea is diligently working to implement and achieve the highest form of human rights standard.

The full text of Ambassador Girma’s remark during the briefing was as follows:


Thank you Mr. Chairman,

Eritrea reiterates its principled opposition to country specific resolutions, as they are politically motivated and confrontational resolutions that do not serve the promotion and protection of human rights.

Eritrea strongly believes that human rights can only be addressed through dialogue and cooperation. The UPR is the appropriate mechanism through which any concern for Human Rights can be addressed without distinction.

Eritrea also unequivocally rejects the adoption of another country specific resolution by the Human Rights Council on the bases of unfounded allegations. Renewing the mandate of Special Rapporteur (SR) and Commission of Inquiry (COI) is unwarranted and unnecessary.

It is waste of UN resources that take away funds from programs aimed at building and strengthening the capacity of states in the promotion and protection of human rights as well as eradication of poverty. The allocation of millions of dollars for two similar and redundant country specific mandate holders is unacceptable and inefficient use of funds. Using the Presidents own words I say “saving costs in the medium term to invest on core activities as well as enhancing efficiency and working method of Human Rights Council must be diligently implemented and practiced”.

It must be underlined that the SR mandate holder is also a member of the COI mandate holders; this is the highest form of inefficiencies and inappropriate method of working.

Mr. Chairman,

I would, therefore, like to ask the President of the Human Rights Council the rational for the established of two bodies, who will practically and substantively be doing the same thing i.e. investigating and compiling reports on the human rights situation in Eritrea.

Mr. Chairman,

Overstepping his mandate, wittingly or unwittingly the President of the Human Rights Council in his written statement in the third and fifth committee meeting yesterday on 7 July 2015, he has commented on substantive issues concerning my country Eritrea. Therefore, I have no choice but respond and to appeal to him to follow the working method of the Human Rights Council and to stick to his mandate of reporting its activities.

It is crystal clear that the reports of the Special Rapporteur and Commission of Inquiry will be presented by the mandate holders and substantially discussed by the Third Committee in October or November 2015 in New York. Then and only then Eritrea will rebut and dissect it in detail. The baseless accusations and allegations are simply a continuation of the escalation of politically motivated campaign to undermine the political, economic and social progress the country is making including in the area of human rights. They are an attack not so much on the government but on resilient people and society that cherish human values and dignity.

The President’s report concerning Eritrea is not only procedurally wrong it is opinionated and judgmental. As Ambassador and Permanent Representative (PR) of sovereign state Germany he is entitled to his opinion but not under the mandate he is currently holding. It must be underlined he is the president of the Human Rights Council, no less no more; he is neither the SR nor the COI. Furthermore, as if he is a newspaper reporter from some media outlet he said “in Geneva we saw demonstrations of thousands of Eritreans who gathered to protest the widespread human rights abuses in their home country and called for accountability” but he failed to mention the more than 10,000 Eritreans who on 22 June 2015 converged in Geneva from all over Europe and rejected the SR and COI baseless report. Also injecting his judgment and opinion he said, “it is important to continue addressing this issue within the Human Rights Council but also through the UN as a whole”.

Moreover, I don’t even understand, unless it is meant to sensational the issue why he said, “..the grave concern at this session was the fact that members of the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea were subjected to threats and intimidation during their stay in Geneva, this is unacceptable”. This is a matter that he should have left for the concerned individuals to handle it through the Swiss legal system.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion, the people of Eritrea and only the people of Eritrea are the determinant of their destiny. The three SR and COI members or any other body do not have a mandate or authority to speak on their behalf. The Eritrean people are resilient; they know where they came from, where they are, and where they are going.

Finally, I want to underline that Eritrea is not only committed to international human rights values and principles, but is diligently working to implement and achieve the highest form of human rights standard.

Thank You Mr. Chairman