Sunday, July 8, 2012
UN Human Rights Council Adopts First Resolution on Eritrea
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
(ANS) -- The United Nations Human Rights Council recently adopted its first resolution on Eritrea, approving the mandate for a Special Rapporteur who will report to the HRC and the UN General Assembly on the human rights situation in Eritrea.
Eritrea is in the Horn of Africa.
According to a news release from human rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the resolution, submitted by Somalia, Nigeria and Djibouti and supported by a number of African and other states, was adopted by consensus at the 20th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC).
CSW said it was greeted with applause from Elsa Chyrum, director of Human Rights Concern-Eritrea, who thanked everyone on behalf of the Eritrean people. Significantly, this is the first time that African states have spearheaded a resolution on another African state.
CSW said Eritrea is one of the world's most repressive regimes, often likened to North Korea. It is a single party state dominated by a dictatorial president. The military pervades every aspect of society, including education and the economy. Military conscription, which can last indefinitely, is mandatory for all citizens aged between 18 and 48. Conscripts are often used as forced labor in development projects and farms.
CSW said tens of thousands of Eritreans languish in the country's maze of detention centers without having received, and with no hope of receiving, due process. Thousands more flee their country every year, risking a government shoot-to-kill border policy, with many falling prey to extortion and torture by people traffickers.
However, when responding to the text of the resolution, the head of the Eritrean delegation denied the prevalence of forced labor, claiming there were “no gross human rights violations in Eritrea.”
Khataza Gondwe, CSW's Team Leader for Africa and the Middle East, said in a news release, “The adoption of this resolution on Eritrea is the culmination of years of joint advocacy and campaigning and a truly historic occasion. It is our hope that the appointment of a Special Rapporteur will finally focus attention on the egregious abuses of human rights in Eritrea and expose the full extent of the regime's crimes against its citizens, which are among the most severe and under-reported in the world.”
Gondwe added, “We commend the Africa group for its leadership on this issue and for its bold decision to stand in solidarity with the oppressed.”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide works for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.
For further information, visit www.csw.org.uk.
|Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, http://www.joyjunction.org He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "Homeless in the City."
Additional details on "Homeless in the City" are available at http://www.homelessinthecity.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend.