World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Rights Group Welcomes 'Landmark' UN Vote Creating Inquiry

Rights Group Welcomes 'Landmark' UN Vote Creating Inquiry on Eritrea Abuses

Eritrean delegation interrupted testimony by Eritrean human rights dissident brought by UN Watch

June 27 2014

GENEVA– Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch welcomed the Human Rights Council's "landmark" creation of a commission of inquiry into human rights abuses in Eritrea, in a resolution that was adopted by consensus today at the 47-nation body.

The resolution “strongly condemns” the Eritrean authorities for perpetrating “widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
“It speaks volumes that thousands of Eritreans are fleeing every month to escape their country’s grave abuses,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.
“Today's resolution sends the message that the time has arrived to seek minimal human rights accountability from the Eritrean government.”

“Let’s not forget that Eritrea is one of the few countries without any reporting on the human rights situation from within, and a complete lack of access by international human rights observers, rendering monitoring of human rights conditions on the ground extremely challenging,” said Neuer.

“It is unacceptable that Eritrea refuses to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur, that none of the UN rights council’s thematic mandate-holders have been allowed to visit, and that the government has still not responded to the request by High Commissioner Navi Pillay to dispatch a mission with access to places of detention.”

During the UN’s recent quadrennial review of Eritrea’s human rights record, the country was unable to document any tangible improvements.
Eritrean asylum seekers and refugees undertake perilous journeys to Europe and are now one third of the overall arrivals in Italy—above Syrians.

“The human rights crisis in Eritrea has been forgotten for too long,” said Neuer. “This inquiry is a vital step because there’s an urgent need for the international community to increase efforts to explore additional means to tackle the situation effectively, at a time when Eritrean authorities continue to perpetrate human rights violations without any accountability.”

Eritrea Interrupts UNHRC Testimony by Dissident Brought by UN Watch

UN Watch was a leading voice in this UNHRC session urging accountability in Eritrea, taking the floor twice to condemn Eritrea’s abuses. During last Friday’s review of Eritrea’s rights record, Eritrea interrupted the testimony of journalist and rights activist Meron Estafanos, who on behalf of UN Watch gave eyewitness testimony of the cruelty suffered by Eritrean refugees. (See UN Watch’s testimonies on Eritrea here and here).

Ms. Estafanos, a contributor to the leading Eritrean diaspora news site Asmarino, detailed the horrific abuses endured by the Eritrean refugee community in Egypt’s Sinai, where they are trafficked, extorted, and held for ransom.
Halfway through her speech, the Eritrean delegate interrupted to question her credentials and right to speak on behalf of UN Watch. The Council President responded in favor of Ms. Estafanos saying, “The speaker was accredited to this session under UN Watch. The speaker seems to be taking an example of a situation that she has experienced, and we should let her continue. I will once again give her the floor.”

With the Council President's support, Ms. Estafanos went on to say: “Many of those fleeing the country are young people escaping the indefinite national service or underage children fleeing before they reach conscription age…I call upon the Council to urge Eritrea to assume its responsibilities under international law and to safeguard the welfare of its youth and respect their human rights.”

UN Watch, a rights group that gives human rights victims an international platform to influence action, was privileged to give Ms. Estafanos its spot to address the Council.

“Ms. Estafanos’ eye-witness testimony reaffirms the findings of the UN expert on Eritrea, whose report exposes the country’s gross human rights violations,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. “Her experience importantly underscores the need for the newly-created investigation into Eritrea’s human rights abuses.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN Health Agency Responds To Ebola Spike

UN health agency responds to Ebola spike by deploying team on border of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau More>>

UN Casts Israel As World's Worst Violator Of Health Rights

Israel's army team of medics recently treated 1,600 victims of the Nepal earthquake. More>>

W Thousands Flee Syria’s Besieged Historic City Of Palmyra

As thousands flee Syria’s besieged historic city of Palmyra, UN refugee agency readies response plan More>>

UN Agency To Halt Housing Allowance For Palestine Refugees

Lack of funds forces UNRWA to suspend cash assistance for housing for Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon. Photo: UNRWA/Shafiq Fahed More>>


Bangkok: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphophia

BMA, UN, embassy representatives, civil society and artists stand united with LGBTI Thais on International Day against Transphobia, Homophobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre More>>

Displaced Iraqis Face Difficulties As Fighting Continues

UNHCR is concerned about the processing arrangements in place at the Bzabz bridge – a series of pontoons across the Euphrates River which marks the boundary between Anbar province and the capital, Baghdad. Photo: UNHCR/G. Ohara More>>

UNESCO Chief Condemns Killing Of Bangladeshi Blogger

Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz The head of the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom worldwide today voiced ... More>>

Philadelphia: Train Crash

Five people have been confirmed dead and more than 136 people injured after an Amtrak train crashed in Philadelphia today at 9.20pm local time.More>>

UN News: Alarming Surge In Bay Of Bengal Crossings

The number of irregular migrants crossing the Bay of Bengal has almost doubled over the past year amid a dangerous uptick in human smuggling and trafficking across the region, according to a new report from the United Nations refugee agency. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news