The Government of Eritrea has already given an elaborate and clear response to the report of the Special Rapporteur.
But when we observed the basic tenets of the rules of procedure of the Council being violated and abused by the Rapporteur and the very Council that is supposed to protect and respect the rule of law, we felt that we should write something on the issue.
1) Any testimony collected from any person or group under duress or blackmail etc … cannot be admitted as bonafide evidence. It is automatically dismissed and rejected.
The report of the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea is full of baseless allegations and unsubstantiated claims. Even though the Rapporteur presents them as “refugees” “victim” or “witness” the information contained in the report is gathered from faceless and nameless individuals residing in Ethiopia and Djibouti.
These faceless and nameless individuals are economic refugees who crossed to Ethiopia and Djibouti with the hope of being resettled in Europe, America or Australia. Most of them are incarcerated in “refugee camps” that are located in remote areas. They are fully monitored, controlled and guarded by the Ethiopian and Djiboutian military and security institutions. They are also frequently visited by Ethiopian Government financed and trained armed Eritrean terrorist groups as well as mercenaries who are openly deployed all over Ethiopia and the world with an agenda of effecting regime change in Eritrea.
Their testimonies are systematically coached by the Ethiopian and Djiboutian military and security institutions. In these circumstances, one can never expect these individuals to give the Rapporteur information that will disappoint their Ethiopian and Djiboutian handlers and jeopardise their chances of being resettled in Europe, America or Australia. Therefore, hostages and individuals with conflicts of interest can never be taken and should never be presented as witnesses.
The presence of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the camps is only symbolic and restricted mainly to the provision of humanitarian assistance.
2) The accuser cannot be the prosecutor, witness and judge
The format of deliberations in the UNHRC is virtually similar to that of a trial by a jury. It is, therefore, a travesty and miscarriage of justice to allow Ethiopia and Djibouti, the accusers of Eritrea to sit in the Council’s meeting and deliberate about Eritrea.
It should be understood that Ethiopia and Djibouti have problems with Eritrea. They both have an axe to grind against Eritrea. Ethiopia has militarily occupied sovereign Eritrean territory including the town of Badme. The Djibouti/Eritrea issue is being handled through the mediation of the Emir of Qatar.
3) The appointment of the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea was not requested by the African Group
The sponsors of the draft resolution on Eritrea, i.e. the representatives of Djibouti, Somalia and Nigeria are not mandated to speak on behalf of Africa. They can only speak on behalf of their Governments. No African Government of African Group is mandated to speak on behalf of Africa unless it is so decided by the AU Assembly. The ‘African Group’ terminology was injected for political expediency and to give the process an ‘African face’. The request was cooked and pushed by the U.S and imposed on Djibouti and Somalia by Ethiopia.
As to the involvement of Nigeria, we don’t have an explanation. The country is so far away from Eritrea and the Horn of Africa. It might have easily been taken for a ride by the U.S or Ethiopia, for luck of information. It is however public knowledge that Nigeria as a victim of terrorism is legitimately fighting the scourge tooth and nail in order to protect its citizens and national security. It is, however, constantly demonized and criticized by the so-called NGOs, C.S.Os, human rights organizations and Western Governments for human rights violations.
It must be underlined that be it Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Nigeria, or the Western Governments, who are today using different types of sophisticated weapons, methods, instruments and technologies, to fight local and global terrorism do not have the moral authority to accuse Eritrea for taking all necessary measures at its disposal to protect its citizens and secure its sovereignty. As the saying goes, “He who lives in a glass house should not be the first one to throw stones”.
4) Apart from the fabricated, much-hyped sound bites and sweeping allegations such as “shoot to kill order, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, incommunicado detentions, arbitrary arrests and torture” etc the Rapporteur did not present to the Council a single documented evidence or a credible witness.
Where is the document that reads “shoot to kill?” Who gave the “shoot-to-kill” order? Who killed or shot whom? When and who was killed? Who was extra-judicially killed? When, where and by whom was Mr. X or Mrs Y tortured? etc.. Nobody, including the Rapporteur, should be allowed to make baseless, politically motivated, manufactured and sweeping statements and allegations and violate the basic principle of the law, “everybody is innocent until proven guilty.”
5) Almost all information and allegations contained in the report are compiled and collected through a cut-and-paste mechanism from Western Governments’ annual human rights reports and hostile websites and social media outlets.
Most Western Governments and their lucratively-financed internal and external hostile groups and agents have, for the last 12 years, systematically and deliberately targeted the Eritrean President and its Defense Forces. Their primary mission and objectives are regime change, the disintegration of the Eritrean Army and dismemberment of the Eritrean nation. If this does not work they have plan B: to create crisis and to manage it or to weaken the defensive and offensive capability of the Eritrean People and Army.
No wonder when the objectives and missions and activities of the Eritrean National Service Programme are similar to that of Israel, Turkey, Switzerland, and many other countries that practice mandatory military service, the Rapporteur and its political backers and financial sponsors are defining the Eritrean National Service Programme as “an indefinite forced conscription and forced or slave labour programme.”
While in the name of fighting terrorism and protecting the security of their respective citizens and countries they are expanding their nuclear development programmes, deploying all types of modern and advanced military hardware and all types of electronic surveillance instruments, the Western countries their puppet government and front organization, such as Amnesty International and H.R.W, have the audacity to call on the Eritrean Government to suspend its National Military Service Programme.
Attacking and demonizing the Eritrean President and the National Service Programme and calling the Eritrean Government to suspend the Programme has no motive other than creating a power vacuum and weakening the Eritrean Army and People so that their strategic ally, the 2nd most populous nation in Africa, Ethiopia, and their loyal puppet, the Ethiopia Government, can if possible re-annex Eritrea, and if not possible indefinitely occupy sovereign Eritrean territory including the town of Badme.
This misguided U.S policy in the Horn of Africa did not work yesterday and is not working today and will not work tomorrow. Think again, small or big, rich or poor, ally not ally, Surrender is Not an Option for the People and Government of Eritrea.
The way forward and the most viable option that will serve the interest of Eritrea and Ethiopia, the countries of the Horn and the international community including the U.S is simple and clear. We should not waste time, energy and resources; we must urge Ethiopia to withdraw from sovereign Eritrean territory including the town of Badme. The Horn of Africa is big and rich that can accommodate the interests of countries of the region and other international partners. We should all be committed and ready to work for mutual interest prosperity, collective peace and security.
It is about time for the big as well as small countries to unconditionally stop all types of manoeuvres and machinations to use the UNHRC as a political chase board. The spirit and letter of impartiality and integrity must be fully respected. Decisions must be taken on the bases of information collected from reliable and credible sources. It must also be beyond any reasonable doubt.
We hope the UNHRC which in violation of its own rules of procedure has taken a political stance against Eritrea will consider our humble observation and reflection and rectify its mistake by dismissing and rejecting the Special Rapporteur’s report on Eritrea.