The days of muzzling Eritrea’s voice are long gone.
BY SOPHIA TESFAMARIAM | SHABAIT
When President Isaias Afwerki said it was #GameOver for the TPLF regime last year, his prescient analysis had both literal and figurative dimensions. Indeed, the “Black Swan” event in the Horn of Africa sent shock waves that brought with it far reaching consequences.
The developments following the ignominious fall of the minority regime in Ethiopia, once touted as the “darling of the west”, exposed the corruption that plagued the international system. The 9-year old illegal, unfair and unjust sanctions regime against the State of Eritrea was lifted. The Eritrea-Ethiopia peace brought the tail wagging at the UN to a screeching halt…the elaborately woven narratives and manufactured evidences against Eritrea proved untenable.
But there are still some groups that have taken to cyberspace to protest the unprotestable, i.e. Eritrea’s inalienable rights under the UN Charter, and the sovereign equality of all its Members. Eritrea has been chosen to Chair the Khartoum Process in 2019 and to be part of the UN Human Rights Council for the next three years.
These two decisions have some groups frothing in desperation; as they too are feeling the squeeze, their coffers drying. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the handful foreigners who are leading the wailing (Mirjam Van Reisen, et al) are precisely those who have been working closely with the ousted minority regime in Ethiopia, and its surrogates in the Eritrean Quislings League (EQL). These elements have invariably been at the forefront of the various campaigns against Eritrea at the United Nations.
The Tigrinya saying “m?q?WA men aqWaxirka” comes to mind as I read the tantrums coming from this woman and her coterie. Allow me to explain this apt adage. “M?q?WA” is a broad leaf or grass weed found in Teff and other grains; it grows big but unlike other weeds, it has shallow roots, so it does not require much effort to uproot.
The allegations against Eritrea were based on “faulty intelligence”, unscientific methodology and used dubious or compromised individuals and groups for sources…the allegations stood on questionable and shaky foundation from the get go…hence easily weeded out.
Highly politicized NGOs, such as Amnesty International, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Reporters San Frontiers, Human Rights Watch, UN Watch etc., employing self-serving surrogates to do their bidding, established an image of Eritrea in the mainstream media, and then urged states to act accordingly.
No one contributed to the degradation of the UN system than the fake NGOs and the politically motivated reports by regime change activists. Some of these NGOs have “consultative status” with the United Nations. According to the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC):
“…There are 141 organizations in general consultative status, 3,129 in special consultative status and 971 on the Roster…”
Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is the highest status granted by the United Nations to non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), thereby allowing them to participate in the work of the United Nations. This status gives NGOs access to all of the UN bodies that are open to NGOs, including the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.
Unfortunately, many have abused this privilege to advance illicit political agendas. A cursory look at the list shows that the representation of Africa by indigenous African NGOs is negligible. Africans are represented by foreign NGOs and if the founders are African, they are living in, and are funded by foreign entities.
Eritrean “human rights” NGOs that mushroomed in cyberspace in the last two decades are funded by American and European agencies. The thousands of un-elected special-interest NGOs and the tentacled networks that buoy their activities are responsible for clogging the system, and preventing the voice of the peoples from being heard. These politicized NGOs, and Amnesty International in particular, played a major role in the creation of the Special Rapporteur and the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea.
The reports produced by these groups were the basis for the so-called “UN Reports” on Eritrea. Investigators with the Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG), the Special Rapporteur (SP) and Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea (COIE) relied exclusively on the minority regime in Ethiopia, and these anti-Eritrea groups and individuals to populate the many ugly reports on Eritrea. The role of CSW and UN Watch, and their sponsorship of virulent quislings engaged in the vilification and defamation of Eritrea and its leadership, is well documented. These individuals and groups are political activists, not “experts” and their funded organizations promote “regime change” agendas, using “human rights and democracy” as pre-texts.
UN Watch, is an agency with consultative status at the UNHCR and has repeatedly presented, and given forum to, Eritrean quislings, whilst undermining the people and government of Eritrea. Coming off as an arrogant haughty self-appointed judge, this entity that has clearly abused its status at the UN by maligning countries and governments it knows nothing about, is one of the agencies frothing over Eritrea’s election to the Human Rights Council. The UN belongs to all peoples; it is not indeed a preserve for certain countries and the thousands of NGOs established and funded by certain governments. These NGOs amplify the voices of those who pay the bill, while muffling those of the peoples. The days of muzzling Eritrea’s voice are long gone.
The Special Rapporteur on Eritrea relied on reports produced by the “Eritrean Clinic” at the University of Pretoria where anti-Eritrea political activists funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Reporters San Frontiers (NED) and some European states, served as its “researchers”.
Then there were several reports about “human trafficking”, which were also produced by individuals working with the NGO, External European Policy Advisors (EEPA). The very same individuals that were implicated in the human trafficking of Eritreans across the Mediterranean and Sinai, were presented as researchers, human rights activists etc. by EEPA and its partners in the NGO networks.
It should be recalled that the Director of EEPA is also the founder of the Eritrea Expertise Center (EEC) at Tilburg University and George Soros’s Open Society is one of the many funders of her lucrative NGOs. According to the EEC site, it “coordinates research advice and consultancy in relation to the professional support to issues of refugees, migration and diaspora of Eritrean origin”. Agreed-upon narratives about Eritrea were developed and advanced through the NGO and media networks. EEPA abused its relationship with the European Parliament to disseminate many erroneous reports about Eritrea.
The Special Rapporteur on Eritrea was long affiliated with Amnesty International, where she served as its Director in East Africa, and worked closely with EEPA and several other anti-Eritrea groups, who have been heavily referenced in her reports, and it is the very EEPA researchers that helped populate the SP and COIE reports on Eritrea. These NGOs have created and benefited from the narratives on Eritrea.
Is it merely a coincidence that EEPA and its Eritrean cohorts have now established several “refugee assistance” NGOs, just as the “migration crisis” exploded in Europe? Let us take a look at some of them:
• The International Centre for Eritrean Refugees (ICERAS)
• Human Rights Concern Eritrea
• The America Team For Displaced Eritreans
• Eritrean Initiative on Refugee Rights
• Agenzia Habeshia
These are also the NGOs that are today crying foul because Eritrea has been elected to the Human Rights Council and will Chair the Khartoum Process on migration. Judging from the votes Eritrea received at the UN, 160 states out of 193, it should be abundantly clear to all that, the decades long manufactured lies and distortions were also categorically rejected by majority of humanity.
Not only were the reports accusing Eritrea of “supporting terrorism in Somalia” summarily rejected, but the elaborate scheme at the UN Human Rights Council to charge Eritrea with “crimes against humanity”, also failed miserably.
The people’s voice rendered the politically motivated NGOs irrelevant. Notwithstanding the fact that Eritrea has every right to be included in forums that address the national interests of the nation and its people, it should also be noted here that manufactured reports never had a leg to stand on…were easily weeded out.
NGO Monitor in its June 2018 Report, “Radicalization of Human Rights”, stated the following:
“…The banner of human rights provides non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the world with a halo of credibility and impartiality, enhancing their access to funding and to decision making processes. Unfortunately, many NGOs routinely exploit the rhetoric of universal human rights and international law to promote narrow ideological and political campaigns…By exploiting the language of human rights and by working together in a tight network, these groups are able to amplify their claims, garner undue exposure, and gain legitimacy for their radical ideologies…”
In Eritrea’s case, the above mentioned politically motivated NGOs have produced volumes on Eritrea, its people and leadership…but in the end, they were unable to substantiate their outlandish allegations.
Hopefully, the US and European governments will take a second look at these repeat offenders and prevent them from taking advantage of loopholes in the system that end up marginalizing the genuine human rights activists, while giving prominence to scalawags and carpetbaggers….