Statement delivered by Mr. Amanuel Giorgio, Eritrea's Charge d'affaires, at the UN Interactive Dialogue on Human Rights

Mr.  Chairman

Distinguished    delegates

This is the fifth time   the Special    Rapporteur    is   appearing    before the Third Committee   in an informal setting   whose   bias   work against    Eritrea   has been clear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statement delivered   by Amanuel   Giorgio
Charge d'affaires
during the Interactive    Dialogue    with the Special   Rapporteur on Human Rights  Situation    in  Eritrea
New York, 26 October  2017

Mr.  Chairman

Distinguished    delegates

This is the fifth time the Special Rapporteur is appearing before the Third Committee in an informal setting whose bias work against Eritrea has been clear. Her mandate was tabled and spearheaded by countries with known hostile stance against Eritrea with the aim of demonizing and isolating Eritrea under the guise of human rights concerns. Eritrea all along has registered its rejection of any politically motivated country specific mandate and it equally opposes any abuse of the Human Rights Council by any country or group of countries for extraneous objectives. Bringing the issue from Geneva to the General Assembly is in itself a perpetuation of double standards and politicization of the lofty human rights objectives.

Before my delegation    presents its statement, it wishes   to set the record straight   with respect to the report of the COT that the Special Rapporteur (SR) mentioned   in her presentation.    That report was not endorsed by the Human   Rights Council.

Chair,

In the face of the multiple challenges and hostilities, Eritrea has demonstrated its resilience and steadfastness and has emerged as a stable, secure, and harmonious country.  For the Eritrean people that was determined to safeguard its independence and chart its own development path, it was clear from the outset to step up to the demands  of nation building through shared responsibilities and sacrifices, without any let up. Yet, Eritrea’s journey for peace, development and human dignity has been attacked and the human  rights  objective has been obscured by the SR's involvement  in political activism, using any and every opportunity to target  Eritrea. We continue  to hear presentations from the SR that attempts to paint an unrealistic image of the country with a broad brush. Information that fits  pre-conceived narratives were compiled selectively and presented as facts, while inputs that expressed different views were dismissed as irrelevant. Achievements and challenges of Eritrea were ignored and the shortcomings were exaggerated and  sensationalized to heighten concern. To meet the objectives of the sponsors, the SR  recommended unwarranted severe measures. This cannot be the work of an impartial individual.The methodology adopted and pursued by the SR lacks minimum level of rigor  and  professionalism      and   is   not   in consonance    with  the  important   principles    highlighted     in  GA  Resolution    60/251 that stresses  impartiality, objectivity   and non-selectivity      in the  human  rights   endeavour.

Chair,

Since  on numerous  occasions,   Eritrea   has expressed   its  serious  concern  about  the  biased  and unbalanced reports  prepared  by the SR on the human  rights  situation  in Eritrea,  my delegation  will  devote  more  time to sharing   information     about   Eritrea's   efforts   in  the  promotion    and  protection   of  human   rights  and fundamental   freedoms.   Eritrea's   bilateral   and  multilateral    dialogue    and  cooperation    is  growing,     More member  states  and organizations   are  engaging  with  Eritrea  on concrete  actions  that  embody  cooperative approach  to the consolidation    of human  rights  as well as on broader  pressing  regional   issues of peace and development.    Eritrea  welcomes   such   constructive   engagement    and  it  will  continue   to  do  so.   Eritrea concurs  with   the wider  view  of the  UN membership  that human  rights  objectives  are best promoted  in all countries  through  engagement,    underpinned    by cooperation    and  mutual    respect.  This  approach   is  at the heart of what the  Universal   Periodic   Review   mechanism    stands  for.

Chair,

Eritrea  faces  human  rights   challenges   like   all  member  states  in this  room,   and   it recognizes   the  work ahead towards  better  and higher  human  rights  standards.   As a state party to several  core  international   and regional   human  rights   treaties,   Eritrea  has  submitted   its periodic    reports  to  the  different  treaty  bodies, such as the Committee  on the  Right  of the Child  (CRC),  the Committee   on the Elimination   of all forms  of Discrimination   Against  Women  (CEDAW),   the African  Committee  of Experts  on the Rights   and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC)  and the African  Commission   on Human  and Peoples'   Rights   (ACHPR).   It has also submitted responses to communications emanating from the ILO.

Furthermore, Eritrea has undergone through the first and second UPR mechanisms. To expedite implementation of the recommendations it accepted,  Eritrea has established  the UPR Coordinating Body composed of representatives of line ministries and civil society organizations. The meetings of this body are increasingly  becoming more frequent with deeper human rights discourse.

Last year, Eritrea concluded the Strategic Partnership Cooperation Framework (SPCF) with the United Nations, a program that runs from 2017 to 2021,   with  specific  budgetary allocations that has taken on board the implementation of all human rights commitments Eritrea made. The commitments are broad in their scope, covering the  rights  enshrined  in the two  important international  covenants, namely  the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Civil and Political Rights.

Chair,

The supremacy and the respect of the law is being strengthened by maintaining equality before the law with the principle  of non- discrimination as a major pillar.  Public  sensitization on the new national codes at all  levels is continuing to impart better understanding  on the rights and responsibilities and the overall judicial system. The campaign on the due process is extensive and it covers all stakeholders,  including public officials  and enforcement agencies. Preparations are underway to translate  the national codes in all Eritrean languages. The codes are already available in three languages: Tigrigna, Arabic and English.

Chair,

Guided by its  newly  articulated  Development strategy, Eritrea has introduced salary increments of the youth on the basis of educational merit.   Educational   and skills development  programs have also been expanded   with  the  view  of  leaving  no one  behind.  These  measures   are  allowing   the  Eritrean  National Service  to evolve  while  the  core  mission    of the  program,   such  as peace,   unity,  cohesion,    resilience  and self  confidence  remains   in  place.  Still  Eritrea  regards  these  measures   and the  advances   it made  in the provision  of basic social  services  as modest  and  maintains  that  more  needs to be done  towards  the bigger objective  of raising  the  standards  of living  of its  citizens.    In  this regard,   building  on its  successes  of the MDGs,  implementation   of the  SDGs  has  become  a top  priority,  and  Eritrea  will  boost  productivity   and investment   by further  mobilizing    its human  and  material   resources.   Eritrea  is mindful  of the  enormous resources   needed   to   implement   the   ambitious   and  transformative    development    agenda;   and  in  this connection,   Eritrea  invites  all  member   states  to join   it  in  its call  to  end  Ethiopia's   occupation   and  the unjustified  sanctions   which  have been  huge  impediments  to the development   efforts  of the country,   not to mention  their  direct  bearing  on the full  enjoyment  of all  human   rights  of its nationals.     These  obstacles cannot  be dismissed   as  excuses   by the  Special    Rapporteur   who  views  them  as  inconsequential     to  the rights of the Eritrean  people.

Another   important   pillar  of the  new  'Development   Agenda  or trend'  is  the  political   process  which   will cover defining  the future  governance  system  of the country,  supported  by a new political   road map.

Chair,

Before  concluding,  my delegation  wishes  to say a word or two on the country  specific  mandate  on Eritrea. As alluded  in the introductory  part of the statement,    there  is regional  and geo-political   dynamics   that sees human  rights  instruments   as a political   tool  that  could  be exploited  and  manipulated.    The  mandate  that created  and renewed  the work  of the  SR continues  to be negotiated  and consulted  mainly  among  some  of our partners  and the delegation   of Ethiopia.  This  is a country  with   known  egregious   human  rights  abuses, and a country  that  continues  to occupy  sovereign   Eritrean   territory  in violation  of international    law and a country  that continues  to advocate  for the sanctions  on Eritrea  to be maintained  and strengthened.   So it is important  to  ponder  whether   this  is   about  human  rights  concerns   for  Eritreans   by the  Government   in Ethiopia,  or advancing   its policy  of conflict  and destabilization   by any other  means.  The  evidence  on the ground  points  to the latter.

Chair,

There  is also the larger  question  whether  country  specific  mandates  are useful  tools  in the promotion  and protection  of human  rights.  Lest  we  forget,  country  specific  mandates  were  the  main   source  of concern and the  reason  for the  General   Assembly  to establish   a new  body,   the  Human  Rights  Council,  with  the Universal   Periodic   Review   as  a  key  tool  to  scrutinize   human   rights  records   not  only  in  developing countries, but  everywhere.     So  it  is  important    that   we  don't   undermine    the   UPR   mechanism   with proliferation    of  country   specific   mandates    in  the  promotion   and  protection    of  human   rights   in  all countries.

Thank you