US, Ethiopia Behind COI Report on Eritrea: Yemane Gebreab

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By ESAT News,

Eritrea said on Thursday that the United States and the Ethiopian regime were behind the damning report on human rights by the Commission of Inquiry (COI) which the East African country strongly believe was politically motivated.

In an exclusive interview with Sisay Agena of ESAT, Presidential advisor and head of political affairs, Yemane Gebreab said there is no legal basis to the accusations of crimes against humanity and that the report was purely a political plot to undermine the State of Eritrea.

The COI said in a report on Wednesday that it “has reasonable grounds to believe [not a verifiable proof] that crimes against humanity have been committed in Eritrea since 1991.” The COI said in its report that crimes against humanity, enslavement, torture, rape and other inhuman act were committed in Eritrea.

“The COI report describes the national service by Eritreans to their country as slavery. According to the report, all Eritreans are slaves,” said Mr. Gebreab.

Mr. Gebreab further said that UN agencies, diplomats and others who are on the ground in Eritrea reject COI claims of crimes against humanity and other accusations in the report. The report was aimed at coercing Eritrea to change its stance on matters of regional and international political dynamics.

Mr. Gebreab said the UN has never made any report when the minority regime in Ethiopian perpetrated crimes against humanity in the Ogaden, Oromo, Gambella and other regions in the country. “The COI report would be more appropriate to the minority regime in Ethiopia,” Gebreab adds.

Mr. Gebreab went on to say that the COI report is also aimed at undermining Ethiopian opposition groups that are supported by Eritrea in their struggle to free their country from tyranny. He called on those who struggle for Ethiopia’s freedom to join hands with Eritrea to fend off the politically motivated campaign.

Regarding US policy in the region, Mr. Gebreab said the problem in the Horn of Africa is a result of America’s erroneous policy as well as the shortsightedness of the minority regime in Ethiopia.


Human rights issue was in the agenda of the U.S. State Department for quite some time as an alternative to bring about change in Eritrea. Its systematic use of the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution condemning Eritrea for human rights violations before any verification took place was the beginning this latest destructive agenda. It then mandated a Special Rapporteur to verify and justify the measures taken.

Long before that, the U.S. through its State Department funded Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to instigate a mass uprising inside Eritrea.

According to a 2011 leaked Amnesty International memo (also see below), the State Department (through Secretary Hilary Clinton) financed these two political right groups to facilitate regime change, same way they did in other African and Arab countries.

The leaked memo outlines how the secret mission must be executed starting from buying out local journalists and internet cafes in Asmara to help sensitized the Eritrean public with propaganda.

“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as a combined force of Human Rights defenders, we have received a “reasonable grant” from the U.S. State Department to work with the oppressed Eritrean people to assist and act on behalf of those unable to make their voices heard.”

The letter goes on to say “… the main aim therefore of this Mission to Eritrea is to provide funding and to help in setting up websites and computer centers…”

The secret internal letter warns about the need for absolute secrecy, “Do not operate, at any time in groups of more than two in the day time…” and “Do not take any photos with normal cameras, except the micro cameras that will be provided for you…”

“Our intended goal is that by December [2011], the regime of Issayas Afwerki should be shaking and ready to fall, and we are working on the final details now of an ICC Warrant for crimes against humanity for the President.”

Unfortunately, that secret plan foiled long before it started as Eritrea got intelligence ahead of time and dismantled the network of agents in the country effectively. However, the secret plan of accusing the Eritrean President with crime against humanity following the intended mass uprising was forced to be shelved until another opportune moment avails itself.

Here comes the time and the UN Human Rights Council forced to mandate a Special Rapporteur on the politically motivated issue of human right abuses in Eritrea. Amnesty and HRW do their bidding best with the help of the U.S. and Ethiopia as Sponsors to successfully appoint Sheila B. Keetharuth, a former Amnesty International staff member, as the Special Rapporteur.

What followed thereafter including with the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry is simply a continuation of that failed regime change policy of the United States.