Sunday, 18 September 2016

Eritrea holding top politicians and journalists arrested 15 years ago – UN worried

The United Nations (UN) says it is
concerned about grave human rights
violations going on in Eritrea where the
government has arrested detained top
politicians and journalists for 15 years
without charge.

The UN’s special rapporteur on
Eritrea’s human rights situation, Sheila
B. Keetharuth, has called on the
government to urgently provide
information on all persons who were
arrested in 2001. The UN also wants
the detained persons to be
unconditionally released and or
charged to court immediately.
“The Eritrean Government has denied
those arrested their fundamental right
to liberty and security of the person,
right not to be subjected to torture,
right to a fair trial as well as right to
freedom of expression and opinion,”
Ms. Keetharuth said ahead of the 15th
anniversary tomorrow.
“ Those arrested have been
detained incommunicado
and in solitary confinement.
Even family members have
never been allowed to have
any contact whatsoever
with them. ”
“Those arrested have been detained
incommunicado and in solitary
confinement. Even family members
have never been allowed to have any
contact whatsoever with them.Fifteen years ago, the authorities
arrested and detained a group of senior
cabinet ministers, members of
parliament and independent journalists
without charge or trial. The
Government has refused to share any
information on their whereabouts and
state of health.
“The 2001 clampdown set in motion a
chain of egregious, widespread and
systematic human rights violations that
continues to this very day, including
arbitrary arrests, incommunicado
detention, denial of the right to a fair
trial within a reasonable time,” the
Special Rapporteur added.
Earlier this year, the UN Commission of
Inquiry on human rights in Eritrea
concluded that “there are reasonable
grounds to believe that Eritrean
officials have committed among others
the crime of enforced disappearance, a
crime against humanity.”
The Government of Eritrea has in the
past defended their actions of 18
September 2001 stating that they were
in response to national security threats
posed by the prominent politicians and
independent journalists – a situation
that has negatively impacted press
freedom.
However, the rights expert stressed
that “invoking national security as the
main reason to violate basic
fundamental human rights of Eritreans
cannot be perpetual.”
Eritrea is party to the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
since 2002, to the African Charter on
Human and Peoples’ Rights since 1999
and to the Convention against Torture
since 2014.