Eritrea’s Statement at the 35th Session of the Human Rights Council

Statement of H.E. Ambassador Tesfamicael Gerahtu, Head of the Eritrean Delegation to the 35th Session of the Human Rights Council, Geneva, 13 June 2017

Mr. President,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen

In May last month, the Eritrean people celebrated their 26th Independence Anniversary. The celebrations were held throughout the breadth and length of the country, as well as in the Diaspora, with spectacular public events amid undiminished enthusiasm that has few parallels elsewhere. Asmara’s Liberation and Martyr’s Avenues were thronged with tens of thousands of residents during the Carnival Show on May 22nd and the overnight street party on the eve of Independence Day. This was invariably the case in all the cities, towns and villages all over the country. For a country that had to wage Africa’s longest and most difficult armed struggle for liberation, the honeymoon of independence could not but be still vibrant, still mesmerizing 26 years on.

To read, against this backdrop, Sheila’s surreal report to this august body on a country she avidly hates but knows little to nothing about, can only evoke indignation and outrage.

As it was the case in the past, Sheila B. Keetharuth has culled her latest ignominious report from several trips to Ethiopia and/or from notorious quislings who harbour malicious agendas against the country. It must be remembered that Ethiopia does not only have a belligerent stance against Eritrea but it is also a country seething under a State of Emergency and that has killed over 800 civilians while detaining over 26,000 others in the protests last year.

Sheila laments that the Government of Eritrea has “continued to refuse to cooperate with the mandate for the fifth consecutive year”. What she does not tell this house is that, last year 43,000 Eritreans in the Diaspora wrote her letters of protest at her outrageous reports; more than 1,000 others volunteered to travel to Geneva to meet her and the other COI members; over 220,000 Eritreans in the Diaspora and 32 civil society groups in Eritrea sent her petitions.

She ignored all these viewpoints and rejected all the requests for meetings. Resident Ambassadors and Asmara-based UN officials who have attempted to meet and discuss with her invariably express disquiet at her abrasive demeanor; her utter incapacity to brook or contemplate dissenting opinion to the outlandish narrative she feels she has to propagate with messianic zeal.

Prolonged National Service, which she desecrates as “forced and slave labour”, remains the hue and cry in her assiduous attempts to criminalize the government. She does not probe why National Service was introduced in the first place; why it has been prolonged and what latitudes are available to the government in the context of the war of aggression and existential threat that it continues to face. She stupidly dismisses the hefty salary increments introduced in 2015 as “mere stipends“.

A cursory examination of the announced measures – rather than wholesale recycling of the false information that Eritrea’s detractors have apparently fed her – would have revealed that this is part and parcel of a comprehensive Civil Service Salary increase that the Government has launched after 18 years of austerity and salary freeze.

The phased programme has started with National Service members with Diplomas and First Degrees. Currently a fresh 1st degree graduate in any field, employed in the public sector while in the National Service, earns bigger pay than the unadjusted salary of senior Civil Service staff, including Ministers.

Sheila foolishly ventures into complex defense issues to state:

“the failure to implement the Boundary Commission’s decision cannot serve as justification for the open-ended and arbitrary nature of the National Service… the illegal occupation of the village cannot justify …violation of human rights”.

Sheila is evidently oblivious to the fact that the border war claimed more than 120,000 lives. A book in Amharic published last year on the war quotes senior Ethiopian Military officers both on the objectives of the war and the losses that the regime suffered. And these are: 98,700 Ethiopian soldiers killed; and 194,300 wounded. Eritrea, which adopted a defensive posture in chains of well-dug trenches, lost over 19,000 lives and sustained a greater number of injuries.

Sheila is not apparently mindful of the nature and consequences of border wars in our region. More broadly, border wars are a reality between nations all over the world with devastating consequences: the Falklands War; the periodic tension between the United Kingdom and Spain on Gibraltar; the brewing tensions in South China seas remind us the menace inherent in border disputes. The panacea does not lie in ignoring or underrating them, as Sheila seems to advocate, but in resolving them fully and comprehensively on the basis of international law.

For Eritrea, past history and Ethiopia’s incessant saber rattling leave her with no other choice other than preparing for the worst so as to deter another war. If prolongation of National Service is an onerous price that must be paid, – with pragmatic and temporary adjustments on its duration if need be – this will have to be done.

The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, stated last week in the wake of the terrorist attacks in London Bridge that Westminster will not hesitate from altering human rights laws if these undermine its capacity to fight terrorism. France has declared a State of Emergency for more than six months now in the aftermath of the heinous terrorist attacks in Paris. For Sheila to offer unsolicited advice to Eritrea on how to organize its defense architecture, when she has no credentials on the matter whatsoever, is audacious and silly, to say the least.

The Special Rapporteur devotes several paragraphs of her report into the plight of Eritrean migrants; which she dubs them “political refugees” indiscriminately and on a wholesale basis. Here again, her knowledge of the actual reality is poor; mostly constituting, as it does, a rehash of one-man/woman obscure associations that we know well and who are themselves embroiled in human trafficking.

What are the facts:

  • Migration is a global phenomenon spurred by complex and intertwined pull and push factors. It is not, also, confined to Eritrea. Indeed, over 100,000 Ethiopians take the risky sea-route to Yemen, in spite of war and turmoil in that country, annually. From 40 – 60% of those who seek asylum in Europe posing as Eritreans are reportedly Ethiopians. Ethiopian economic migrants in the Sudan are above 2 million. This is discounting the millions more that migrate to the Gulf States, South Africa etc on a seasonal basis.
  • In the case of Eritrea, organized and politicized human trafficking coupled with misguided EU – UNHCR policies of granting “automatic asylum” to Eritrean economic migrants remain the most critical variables that have contributed to relatively higher numbers;
  • Most of those who seek asylum actually return home for family visits and periodic vacations to the country.

What Sheila does not know or does not wish to report to this house is that, in 2016 for instance, 112,000 Eritreans visited their homeland prompting Immigration Ministers in Norway, Switzerland and other European countries to issue warnings against them of pending decisions to rescind their residence permits.

Sheila accuses Eritrea of attempts “to conceal the real food security situation in Eritrea” alluding to “drought and hidden famine“. This outrageous allegation illustrates the extent to which she is prepared to go to demonize the government.

The UNICEF generic report that she quotes for malnutrition was in fact wrongly issued by the New York Branch of the organization, not the country representative, and duly corrected in time.

FAO Asmara has equally dissociated itself from Sheila’s report although we have no information at this stage on specific steps taken to rectify it.

In any case, the harvest in Eritrea in 2015 was not bad due to positive effects of El-Nino while 2016 was a year of plentiful rains and almost bumper harvest. And in spite of ecological fragility and agriculture output that relies mainly on rains, Government policies of food security, water harvesting, preposition of food imports and other coping mechanisms have enabled the country to weather localized and cyclical droughts.

The litany of Sheila’s unsubstantiated and recycled accusations are endless indeed. She accuses the government of extra-judicial killings without tangible evidence. She disparages the Government’s clemency measures to extend consular services and full citizenship rights to those who defect from the army or leave the country illegally once they fill forms acknowledging the offenses they had committed and that are explicitly prohibited by law.

She accuses the secular government and country of exemplary religious and ethnic harmony, of perpetrating ethnic/religious persecution in a region that is woefully racked by ethnic cleavages and religious strife. And as if journalists and certain officials are saints from another planet or above the law, she wrongly indicts the government for the measures that it has taken against the ring of former politicians and some journalists who were involved in acts of treason and/or sedition.

The Special Rapporteur even attributes measures against apostasy taken by the Synod of the Eritrean Orthodox Church against the former Patriarch to whimsical Presidential wrath. The ludicrous list of allegations is long…


The Special Rapporteur has been found wanting, time and again, in terms of minimum standards of neutrality, objectivity, and professionalism in carrying out the mandate that was entrusted to her. She was an activist committed to regime change from the outset. Sadly, the misplaced mandate given to her did not temper her wayward conduct but emboldened her to pursue her crusade against Eritrea without any bounds.

As we stressed last year, she has even exceeded her mandate to unilaterally determine the cut-off date for her investigation to start in 1991; from the very year of the independence of Eritrea. This is a huge insult to the people of Eritrea who have celebrated their hard-won independence last month but will also honour, in unison, next week on June 20th, the over 80,000 martyrs who paid the ultimate price for the independence of their country.

Sheila has no inkling about the enormous pain the people of Eritrea have gone through. She has no clue about the existential threat they are facing. She has no clue about the threats to regional peace and security. Her singular mission is to indict the Government of Eritrea. Blinded by this singular mission, she has put forth in her current recommendations, various unorthodox methods to implement the witch-hunting of Eritrean officials she desperately craves for and to appropriate to herself the powers of a Viceroy over Eritrea that she apparently dreams of at this modern age.

In the event, Eritrea urges this house to end this charade once and for all. Most people in this room realize that the ‘Empress is naked; she has no closes’. Let us rectify a process that has been derailed for long.

In this context, let us also note that Eritrea has its own several shortcomings and challenges as a young nation that has gone through war and that continues to face existential threats. The pace and momentum of its nation-and-institution building processes, that it has begun in earnest immediately after independence, have been adversely affected by the second war and its sequel.

These hurdles notwithstanding, Eritrea has been willing and is engaged in the UPR process with all its development partners. It has recently conducted a fruitful mid-term review.

Eritrea firmly maintains that this is the only appropriate and constructive route. As such, Eritrea requests this assembly to end Sheila’s toxic tenure and focus on the normative procedures that will yield dividends to Eritrea and the cause of human rights.

I thank you.

42 thoughts on “Eritrea’s Statement at the 35th Session of the Human Rights Council

  1. Tell that bitch that denigrating Eritrea, by describing here what she is not, caries a hefty political penalty she would live to regret.

    1. Petros Weldehawariat · Edit

      Our beef should not be with Sheila nor the other two man, this are dogs got unleashed on Eritrea to perform their duty for U-N=S due to our nation refusal to kneel down to the masters.

      1. I agree with you, however, if a dog with rabies is attacking me, I will quarantine the dog before I deal with it’s master.

    1. Eritreans should give her a nickname “Dolos” (Greek god of lie and deception). Fill her tweeter account with Dolos nickname. That should send big message to whomever is concerned.

      1. I have one concern, how do you know what her deceptions and lies are? Aren’t you the same one who asked about Abedela Jabir? Maybe you should open a “tweeter” account to get more info on Eritrea before supporting the lifetime king. Way gud

          1. Brother
            Sentiko and et al have not precious time, if he is not hanging on here in TN where he and his criminal cohorts learn a lot for life time, every day, he would have end up either i Koshe or in Dedebit to searching for ” three meal a day”.

        1. “Maybe you should open a “tweeter” account to get more info on Eritrea” lol. So is tweeter the place to get unbiased 100% factual news on Eritrea. Your concern on how do we know what her deceptions and lies are? Firstly her sources are, the government of Ethiopia and migrants who must give negative reports or their asylum application gets rejected. Her first attempt to convince the security Council on her report was laughed at for being unprofessional by her own handlers. So Ballance keep listening to tweeter for “your unfiltered factual news source.”

  2. Sheila feshila in her previous report she has denigrated everything Eritrean be it politics, way of life, culture; to appease her handlers at Addis and her motley crew good for nothing followers she has sold everything she owns!! I have never seen like this political prostitution from a gatekeeper in the 21st century!!!!

  3. Look, 43000 eritreans sent her letters and 1000, wanted to meet her. All rejected, yet, “eritreans” living in weyaneland and those who call themselves the opposition in the diaspora and their testimony is considered the truth? This is, nothing but deception.

    The border impasse, she says, is just an excuse the govt uses, to repress people, instead of calling for its implementation. Etc

      1. Look at it this way, if you are accused of some crime but you didn’t do it, you don’t just show up to court and yell what kind of lier the state it, do you? They will put you in some kind of mental institution. But if you have facts on your side, let them see it for themselves. It’s no shame to accommodate the court when they have serious crimes such as rape, torture etc… not to mention it can help the future Eritrea to get ahead by getting out of the dark. My point, the six million is worth more than protecting one leader or party but have it your way.

        1. I expect your woyane to do the same by letting the UN Human Right office and its Rapportuers to the country and allow them do their investigation for the unlawful killing of over a thousand Oromo and Amhara protesters. Watch your behind.

          1. 41 degrees Celsius is at least 3 degrees Celsius above the normal temperature. 41 degrees Celsius is equal to 105.8 degrees Farenheits. Normally, a person would be dead or in a comma not reading a book at this level of fever! This is a typical Weyane lie. We know they have been trying to cultivate a Meles personality cult!

        2. That is one difference between us and you Weyanes! You live to impress others; so, you pretend. We live our own lives. That explains how you expect people to appear at your kangaroo courts on trumped up accusations! We have no time for her kind (and yours) of shenanigans. Those who think Sheila is doing a good job should have their own sanity examined should they need being institutionalized.

          Sheila is desecrating an international institution that should have been a means to better human lots. Instead, she is being an instrument for those who actually cause human suffering by using human rights to violate the rights of others. She doesn’t even appear to be concerned about her own reputation. She shouldn’t expect anything but to be a laughing stock at international levels.

  4. She is the same as Weyane and they use her low Sentik IQ 63,as you know her grandfather has come from Indian to lick White A””””,so what’s neww to her if she goes the same way?She’s slaves and she is free condom.

  5. In truth, Eritrea’s best defense is simply to admit that the Eritrea is desperately poor and that it is on a constant war footing because of the aggressive tendencies of the minority regime in Eritrea’s neighbor to the South. The Pronged National Service and the refugees are the outgrowth of these two realities.

  6. Ash wedi Gerahtu… bela gerka desikaya aleka… while the government is busy doing what it believes is good for the country; it is good to come out like this and not only respond but also question the ability of the people like shelle. I salute you ambassador….

  7. Our militray national services will contine and are very important and are due to self-sufficiency and are future to Eritrea.We will never abolish it.To handle conflicts inside and outside this must be in Place,so I Think becouse of this,Eritrea is a quiet country.
    I can give you a comic exmple of Weyane,the time Before the war came Weyane leaders to Eritrea and told our leaders “Why did you send the kids to Sawa?can not they beneifit from freedom,let them dance and party hard and who can come now?Mr Isaias easily laughed and responded like this”no we do not mean war should come but as you know these kids are spoiled and lazy under Dergue so we send them to SAWA to teach them how to work and to get well at school and General GebreTsadiq G/Tensaie Believes in.

  8. I think it is ok if sheila’s mandate is prolonged and our government which has nothing to hide gives her acces to visit eritrea freely. what do we lose? I mean eritrea is free and peaceful country. There are absolutly no political prisoners ( except the G-15 and few wannabe journalist who are in custody for collaborating with the CIA). Prolonging her mandate is also good so that the world could see that she was badmouthing eritrea and its dear president.

    1. You are very naive. All the major powers have embassies and consulates in Eritrea. They know exactly what is going on in Eritrea more than you and I and the average Eritrean residing in Eritrea knows. They are there and they have money and means (favors to spies, like visas to their relatives) for knowing exactly what is going on in Eritrea.
      Therefore, the creation of Sheila B. Keetharuth is a charade (ሽታራ). Her task is to FABRICATE LIES that the USA with its cronies and puppets can use as UN sponsored facts on the ground in order to legitimize the HARASSMENT and DEMONIZING of the Government of Eritrea. In other words, these evil elements are not seeking the truth (which they already know) but COVER. And Ms. Keetharuth, who is not European or American by design and works for the UN, provides. In short, she is a professional FABRICATOR OF LIES.

    2. Why allow her to visit our country and people when she has already badmouthed us? She has already found Eritrea GUILTY of things that are NOT TRUE. If someone called you a thief, when you may not be, would you agree if he/she said “I have to frisk you to ascertain that you are not a thief”? If you do, them I would say that you do not have much of a self confidence in yourself and you are basically the type that utters “How high”, when some one orders you to “Jump”!

  9. Hello Miss Sentiko/sheger addis/ Ethio/Balance/ TPLF cadre/ I don’t know what kind of nick name you’ll get tomorrow .Anyways!!! This is for you “ የገንዘብ ድህነትን በማግኘት ይላቀቁታል፤ የአስተሳሰብን ድህነት ግን በምን ይገላገሉታል? ችግር ነው፡፡ዛሬ ተንደላቅቆ የሚኖረው ዘረኛና ደንቆሮ ወያኔ ብቻ ነው – ወይም እነሱን ተጠግቶ የሀገርንና የሕዝብን ሀብት የሚቦጠቡጥ አጫፋሪ፡፡ አኗኗሪዎች ደግሞ አንት ነን፡፡
    ከሆድ ባላለፈ አስተሳሰብ ደግሞ የሀገር ልዕልናና የሕዝብ ንቃተ ኅሊና ከእንፉቅቅ ወጥተው ከፍ ወዳለ ደረጃ ሊደርሱ አይችሉም፡፡

    ለዚህም ነው የምቀኝነትና መሰል የክፋት መድብሎች ዋሻ ሆነህ የቀረክው፡፡ “

  10. I will not tell Sheila a bitch or hooker . But I will call her, ignorant about Eritrea, Manipulative for self gain or manipulated by the Woyanes, or knowingly to destruct the image of Eritrea, or she is doing it to gain something for need and handing them their will , or servicing the Woyanes to gain from them in lieu of by destroying the name of Eritrea and Eritreans
    God bless Eritrea ,and reveal her nakedness.

  11. This is to the guy who goes by the nic of Ballance

    You think you are talking some smart stuff, but you are not. Pay attention now.

    1. Eritrea is not preventing any one who want to come and see. Actually there is a “Come & see” campaign going on for a while. What Eritrea doesn’t allow is a politically motivated visit and is absolutely not willing to give legitimacy to an already predetermined/pre written report defaming, degrading Eritrea on non existing and fabricating issues

    2. What that means is, those individuals/groups have already set up their mind before they visit Eritrea, the report already written using all the fancy words you can possibly use to demonize a country. Meaning, it doesn’t matter whether you let them in Eritrea or not. The verdict is already set. A predetermined verdict. They might as well leave the already written report here before they set out to Eritrea

    3.So, allowing them to come in to Eritrea means giving legitimacy to their already written fictitious report, accepting the predetermined ridiculous verdict. It adds no value to Eritrea and it adds no value to truth & justice. It only hides/covers up the hideous agenda of the group

    4. How do we know all these? Easy:

    a) We already know the report, we have read it many time before, because it is a straight copy and paste from what Woyanie and its stooges, anti Eritrean elements, lost souls, & grudge driven sold outs write day in and day out in their campaign to break Eritrea. We know this is an extension of the bigger campaign along with the no war no peace, unjustified sanction to render Eritrea a failed state and at the submission or mercy of Ethiopia.

    b) We know non of the source she uses or cites to represent Eritrea have Eritrea at heart. The least of their intention is regime change and the biggest, as mentioned above to render Eritrea a failed state. Now you may say, I know this guy and that woman etc. but remember, the majority are quislings with a an agenda, despite hidden/covered, while others damage Eritrea unknowingly, kind of stupidity or mislead

    c) Every body knows for sure new asylum seekers can never ever be good witnesses, as they have their case at stake. This is a no brainier. Every single Eritrean knows he/she doesn’t have a legitimate case. Each know there is absolutely no such crime in Eritrea to warrant this much hype to drag Eritrea through UN. But temporarily every Eritrean asylum seeker temporarily lie. Now, this being the fact, the rapporteur did not even feel shame to use, testimonies of anonymous (or fake) asylum seekers in Ethiopia (imagine that!) to mislead the world who doesn’t understand or care how it is done to get asylum. That pisses any self respecting Eritrean. It is an insult to the whole Eritrea

    d) The fact that she ignored or did not incorporate the calls from thousands Eritreans who sent her letters, show willingness to testify and what not – is a clear indication that letting her in Eritrea and showing her the truth is not going to change her ways either.

    e) You might still think you are smart and ask: “but if we have the truth on our side, it still doesn’t hurt to let her in and ask for evidence later”. The answer is no, you are not smart and no there is no way beat her even if we have the truth on our side. Why? well, context my friend, context. Meaning, you can present ANY action as a crime by just hiding the context or not bothering to mention the context. For example. If you tell to any non suspecting person who has no clue about Eritrea that the national service is limitless and the people don’t get paid on its own with out adding a context, he will definitely agree with you it is a crime. But it you specify the context and tell him how Eritrea came to be, why the National Service was introduced to begin with and why it is extended and went on and explain the violated sovereignty, the contentious aggression from Ethiopia supported by superpowers to the extent of threatening Eritrea’s very existence, and therefore Eritrea has to do what it got to do to protect/defend itself, then that person will definitely see the justification and may be will work do his share to remove the threat and not punish the victim.

    So, no it is easy for an already deformed individual or group who has already set up its mind to go around and change EVERYTHING it sees in Eritrea as a crime. So you don’t allow any person or group unless it comes with unbiased and open heart/mind and a blank sheet

    5. Not only her report is a straight copy and paste from a recycled waste, but also her copy and paste is crappy too 🙂 She is not even good at “Copy & Paste” . Meaning she is not fit for anything 🙂

    1. I guess it was too long or broke some house rule or something. Or it just got lost.

      Oh, well, moving on to another one…

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