By Bereket Kidane,
If you ever needed any proof that the UN Commission led by Mike Smith was directly challenging Eritrea’s sovereignty, you can find it in the date that he picked for his bogus investigation. The UN Commission announced to the world that they were only interested in crimes against humanity committed in Eritrea since 1991. One might ask why 1991? What’s the significance of 1991? Where there crimes against humanity committed on the Eritrean people before 1991?
It just so happens that 1991 is when Eritrea’s sovereignty begins. Before 1991, there were unspeakable atrocities committed on the Eritrean people that would qualify not only for crimes against humanity but also war crimes. And yes they were widespread and systematic. What did the United Nations do when those crimes against humanity and war crimes were being perpetrated on the Eritrean people in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!
The UN was completely oblivious and uninterested in the suffering of the Eritrean people.
When Eritreans were being lynched in public squares in towns like Agordat and Keren in the 1960s and 1970s by successive Ethiopian governments, how many commissions did the United Nations set-up to look into “human rights abuses” that were being perpetrated on the Eritrean people? None!
When Eritrea’s civilian populations in towns like Sheeb were rounded up in mosques and summarily executed before driving over their bodies with tanks, how many commissions did the United Nations set-up to investigate human rights abuses? None!
When the Ethiopian Air Force was wiping out entire villages in the lowlands and highlands of Eritrea by targeting civilian populations using the banned Napalm bombs, how many commissions did the United Nations set-up to investigate those crimes of war? None!
When the banned cluster bombs rained on Massawa shredding Eritrean civilians into pieces, how many commissions did the UN set-up to investigate the war crimes that were being committed on the Eritrean civilian population? None!
When Eritrean mothers were having their breasts torn-off causing the floor to be awash in blood allegedly because their wombs were producing offspring to fight for Eritrea’s independence, how many commissions did the United Nations set-up to investigate the widespread and systematic human rights abuses? None!
And when the Ethiopian government sent its troops to dissolve the Eritrean Parliament on November 14, 1962 and illegally annex Eritrea, how many commissions did the United Nations set-up to investigate the illegal annexation of Eritrea in direct contravention of UN Resolution 390-A(V)? The answer is None! Nada! Zilch!
In the years following the illegal annexation of Eritrea, countless pleas were made to the United Nations by the liberation fronts, friends of Eritrea and global organizations for the United Nations to assume its duty, reverse the illegal annexation of Eritrea and bring an end to the suffering of the Eritrean population. They all fell on deaf ears.
Since Eritrea became a sovereign state, however, the United Nations has been busy setting-up bogus commission after commission to try to undermine, demonize and delegitimize the State of Eritrea with the ultimate aim of stripping Eritrea’s right to defend itself.
And now we are told the United Nations is only interested in human rights abuses beginning with the year 1991. Again, the question becomes why 1991? Where was the UN before 1991? Where was the UN in 1990 for God’s sake when civilian populations of Massawa were being shredded to pieces with the banned cluster bombs? The answer is obvious.
1991 is when Eritrea’s sovereignty begins. First, there was the SEMG, which despite coming to the conclusion that Eritrea is not providing any support to Alshabab is continuing unabated. Then there were sanctions passed on Christmas Eve without due process accorded to Eritrea and are continuing despite there being no evidentiary support for the claims made by the Sanctions Committee. Sanctions are supposed to be an extreme measure and yet the UNSC refuses to lift the unfair and unjust sanctions even though there is no legitimate reason to continue to impose them on Eritrea. Now the COI has produced an unprofessional report, which lacks rigor and verifiability, in addition to being riddled with elementary methodology problems that a fifth grader can pick apart. For this witch hunt, the COI is telling us that its starting point is going to be 1991. By this point you may have noticed a pattern and might be asking yourself: “What is this 1991 business all about? Is this the latest UN plot to undermine and reverse Eritrea’ s sovereignty one UN commission at a time?” Hey, is the Pope Catholic? The answer is yes.
Crimes Since 1991?
The COI’s incredible, and really laughable, claim that “crimes against humanity” were committed in Eritrea since 1991 reveals its unabashed political stance and is symptomatic of its entire report.
Eritrea’s hard-won and universally acclaimed independence in 1991 came after three decades of popular struggle for freedom and human rights. Two years later, in a referendum observed by the United Nations and many countries and organisations, and which they described as a national festival, 99.8% of Eritreans, inside and outside the country voted freely for independence.
The following years saw impressive progress in all areas-political, economic, social and cultural, including the drafting and ratification of a national constitution in a widely consultative popular process.
The COI denies this well-known and undisputed history and makes the outlandish claim that Eritrean “officials have engaged in a persistent, widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population of Eritrea since May 1991.” It goes on to say that these officials “have relied extensively on the commission of crimes to establish and consolidate total control over the Eritrean population.”
This accusation, which forms the crucial rational, for the charge of “crimes against humanity” flies in the face of the reality already described. There was no need to resort to force to establish control, as the population was fully supportive-indeed the backbone – of the liberation movement and there is no shred of evidence for a persistent, widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population,”- the same movement that paid so much sacrifice to defend and protect the population. Twenty-five years on this same population vividly demonstrated strong support for the independence of the country and the government during the Silver Jubilee Independence celebrations. (Source: H.E. Yemane Gebreab)