More than 10,000 Eritreans and their friends from across Europe inundated Geneva on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, to protest against the politically driven agenda of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights and to condemn the COI-Eritrea for its preposterous conclusion that “crimes against humanity have been committed in Eritrea since 1991.”
This finding flies against the reality on the ground in Eritrea and is a total fabrication. Equating Eritrea’s National Service with enslavement not only is disgraceful, but it also adds insult to injury to the millions of men and women of African origin that were and continue to be victimized by the crimes of slavery in the Americas.
The protestors also submitted more than 200,000 petitions from 81 countries across the globe to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Delegates of the protestors also submitted a memorandum supported with a petition of more than 200,000 Eritreans and friends from around the globe. The petitions were collected through the effort of ordinary Eritreans young and old from all walks of life at the grassroots level. The petitions were collected through paper and online drive. These petitions came from 6 continents, 81 countries, and over a thousand cities and localities. These are in addition to the nearly 46,000 testimonies that were submitted to the Commission in January 2016. Sadly, the Commission, through its own admission, had received about 45,000 submissions but it only read a sample of 5%, ignoring the 95% submissions amounting to hundreds of pages of testimonies in four languages.
The Memorandum underscored that
“Eritrea, like all other developing countries, has many challenges and limitation, however, none that can even remotely amount to ‘crimes against humanity’. There is neither credible evidence nor ‘reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Eritrea since 1991.’ Moreover, there is no individual or institution in Eritrea that ‘persistently, or ‘systematically’ attacks the civilian population. At the same time Eritrea doesn’t have ‘crimes of enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, other inhumane acts, persecution, rape and murder as the Commission tells the world it found.”
Dismayed by the Commission’s action of not reading over 42,000 testimonies, the memorandum stated that it was not only the voice of Eritreans that was neglected but according to the Atlantic Council’s Bronwyn Bruton, the Commission had also “refused to consider the academic literature on Eritrea; refused to use press reports; refused to speak with experts who’d traveled recently to the country; refused to speak to UN staff and Western diplomats inside the country.”
Dr. Tanja R. Müller of the University of Manchester adds that many people
“who live, have lived or continue to visit Eritrea, have multiple connections within the country and could have contributed to the COI’s understanding. They were deliberately ignored, and the result is a document that describes a country many Eritreans do not recognize.”
Furthermore Müller exposes that the lies against Eritrea was the work of western lobbying companies who “recruited by human rights activists who have their own means of advocacy and persistence, and for example hire public lobbying companies in order to spread their narrative of Eritrea (I was for a while bombarded by emails from such a company with sensational news until I contacted them and asked to be removed from their list). … What is harder to justify and exemplifies the flaws in the COI report is the fact that all additional experts that were consulted came from the spectrum of human rights advocates in a broad sense, and included hardly anybody with recent first-hand experience of Eritrea.”
The Memorandum underlined that the two-pronged (COI + Special Rapporteur) assault against Eritrea under the cover of human rights is actually part of an insidious two-step design launched seven years ago to:
i) disarm the country ii) delegitimize its institution of national defense, iii) demoralize its defense forces, and iv) for a good measure, depopulate the nation of its fighting-age children to change the balance forces in the Horn of Africa in favor of the Ethiopian minority regime. The ultimate goal of this anti-Eritrea campaign is to reverse Eritrea’s sovereignty.
The appointment of the Special Rapporteur and establishment of the COI-Eritrea are thus a continuation of an orchestrated 18-year long political campaign that seeks to demonize and delegitimize Eritrea in the international arena, and erode the final and binding Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission’s delimitation and demarcation decisions.
The Memorandum concludes by pointing that “fundamental failures characterized the Reports and are based on false premises and allegations made by dubious individuals and groups, asylum seekers and coerced refugees” and “any support to a fraudulent COI-Eritrea findings reached through a fraudulent methodology is a disservice to the Eritrean people’s attempt to live in dignity and liberty and is ultimately against the very human rights the UN Human Rights Council is trying to promote. Adding, it said, the Council should not allow itself to be “influenced by people and countries that have an axe to grind against Eritrea” and urged its members to reject the biased findings of the COI-Eritrea and to terminate its politically-motivated mandate.