March 30, 2019 News

Note: this report follows the failure of Eritrea to submit a report

UN Human Rights Committee 2

Principle finding:

The State party should, as a matter of urgency, ensure that the 1997 Constitution is put into effect pending its replacement by the new constitution. It should also expedite the constitutional review process, within a clear time frame, and in a transparent and participatory manner. The State party should urgently reconvene the National Assembly so that it may, in line with its mandate, take necessary steps regarding implementation of the Covenant. The State party should ensure that the rights enshrined in the Covenant are fully incorporated into the Constitution and other relevant domestic legislation and take all measures necessary to ensure that all laws, including common, customary and sharia law, are interpreted and applied in full compliance with the Covenant and are enforceable in national courts. It should also make efforts to train all legal professionals, including judges, prosecutors and lawyers, public officials and the public on the rights enshrined in the Covenant and their application.

21CCPR/C/ERI/CO/1 

Source: United Nations

Advance unedited version Distr.: General 28 March 2019 

Original: English 

Human Rights Committee’s Concluding observations on Eritrea in the absence of its initial report*

  1. In the absence of the initial report by the State party, the Committee considered the situation of civil and political rights under the Covenant in Eritrea at its 3582nd and 3583rd meetings (CCPR/C/SR.3582 and CCPR/C/SR.3583), held in public sessions on 12 and 13 March 2019. In accordance with rule 70, paragraph 1, of the Committee’s rules of procedure, the failure of a State party to submit its report under article 40 of the Covenant may lead to an examination in a public session of the measures taken by the State party to give effect to the rights recognized in the Covenant and to adopt concluding observations.
  1. At its 3599th meeting, held on 25 March 2019, the Committee adopted the following concluding observations.
  1. Introduction
  1. The Covenant came into force for Eritrea on 22 April 2002. The State party was under an obligation to submit its initial report by 22 May 2003. The Committee regrets that the State party has failed to honour its reporting obligations under article 40 of the Covenant and that, despite numerous reminders, the State party has not submitted its initial report.
  1. The Committee further regrets that the State party did not send replies to the Committee’s list of issues (CCPR/C/ERI/Q/1). The Committee nevertheless expresses appreciation for the opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue with the State party’s delegation on the implementation of the Covenant on 12 and 13 March 2019 and takes note of the oral responses by the delegation and the additional information provided by the State party after the dialogue.

Positive aspects 

  1. The Committee notes with appreciation the signing of a Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship between Eritrea and Ethiopia on 9 July 2018, and of a cooperation agreement between Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia on 6 September 2018 on working together to restore peace and stability in the Horn of Africa Region. The Committee also notes the lifting of sanctions imposed against Eritrea by the United Nations Security Council on 14 November 2018. The Committee hopes that the State party will seize these opportunities as the beginning of a new era to build a more peaceful, inclusive and resilient future for the people of Eritrea.
  1. The Committee welcomes the ratification of, or accession to, by the State party to the following treaties:

(a)  The Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, on 25 September 2014;

(b)  The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, on 16 February 2006.

  1. Principal matters of concern and recommendations

Constitutional and legal framework within which the Covenant is implemented 

  1. The Committee is concerned about the fact that the Constitution is not in force in the State party due to the fact that the 1997 Constitution was not implemented, and no other constitution has yet been adopted. This poses a serious challenge to the implementation of the Covenant in the State party. While noting the plans of the State party to draft a new constitution, the Committee regrets lack of clarity about time frame and modalities of such drafting process. The Committee is also seriously concerned about the suspension of the National Assembly since the year 2002. In view of the State party’s dualist system, the Committee is further concerned about the lack of information about proper incorporation of the Covenant’s rights into national law and of complete lack of information on their enforceability before domestic courts (art. 2).
  1. The State party should, as a matter of urgency, ensure that the 1997 Constitution is put into effect pending its replacement by the new constitution. It should also expedite the constitutional review process, within a clear time frame, and in a transparent and participatory manner. The State party should urgently reconvene the National Assembly so that it may, in line with its mandate, take necessary steps regarding implementation of the Covenant. The State party should ensure that the rights enshrined in the Covenant are fully incorporated into the Constitution and other relevant domestic legislation and take all measures necessary to ensure that all laws, including common, customary and sharia law, are interpreted and applied in full compliance with the Covenant and are enforceable in national courts. It should also make efforts to train all legal professionals, including judges, prosecutors and lawyers, public officials and the public on the rights enshrined in the Covenant and their application.
  1. The Committee is concerned about a lack of access to an effective remedy for victims of violations of rights protected under the Covenant. It is further concerned at an absence of a mechanism to implement decisions of the relevant international human rights bodies. The State party has not yet implemented the decision in Dawit Isaak v. Republic of Eritrea (communication 428/12) by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights concerning the 18 journalists who have been arrested on 19 September 2001 (art. 2).
  1. The State party should provide all victims of violations of rights protected under the Covenant with access to an effective remedy and full reparation. It should take immediate measures to implement decisions of the relevant international human rights bodies, including release or trial of the 18 journalists who were the subject of the above- mentioned decision in Dawit Isaak v. Republic of Eritrea.

National human rights institution  

  1. The Committee is concerned at the absence of a national human rights institution to monitor human rights in the State party, and the lack of clarity about plans to create one (art. 2).
  1. The State party should establish an independent national human rights institution with a broad human rights protection mandate and adequate human and financial resources, in conformity with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (the Paris Principles).

The fight against impunity and past human rights violations 

  1. The Committee is concerned about reports of widespread impunity, in particular with respect to serious human rights violations, including alleged cases of enslavement, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture and rape, and the absence of prosecutions of alleged perpetrators and the provision of victims with adequate remedies (arts. 2, 6, 7 and 14).
  1. The State party should take all necessary measures to end impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations, in particular the most serious violations, by establishing a transitional justice process for the prosecution of past violations and by systematically conducting prompt, impartial, effective and thorough investigations in order to identify and prosecute and punish those responsible, while ensuring that the victims have access to effective remedies and to full reparation.

Public emergencies 

  1. The Committee is concerned that although no state of emergency has been officially proclaimed, the State party applies de facto a state of emergency, as stated by the State party’s delegation, failing to comply with the basic safeguards of article 4 of the Covenant (art. 4).
  1. The State party should take steps to end as soon as possible the de facto state of emergency and ensure that any state of emergency applied on its territory and measures taken in pursuance to it comply with the provisions of article 4 of the Covenant. In accordance with the Committee’s general comment No. 29 (2001) on derogations from the Covenant during a state of emergency, the State party should develop legislation containing clear provisions on states of emergency so that the rights protected under article 4 (2) of the Covenant may not be suspended under any circumstances and to ensure that any derogation is consistent with the Covenant.

Counter-terrorism measures 

  1. While acknowledging the State party’s need to adopt measures to prevent acts of terrorism, the Committee is concerned about allegations that arbitrary detention, torture and extrajudicial killings have been committed against members of the Muslim community as a group for their alleged links with terrorist groups (arts. 2(1), 6, 7 and 26).
  1. The State party should ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism are fully compatible with its obligations under the Covenant and are directed at the suspected perpetrators only. It should refrain from designating any specific community as linked to terrorism.

Non-discrimination and equality between men and women

  1. While noting measures to increase women’s representation at the regional level, the Committee is concerned that women are unrepresented in senior government positions and that temporary special measures aimed at ensuring women’s representation in legislative and judicial bodies benefited only women affiliated with the political party in power (arts. 2, 3 and 26).
  1. The State party should take all necessary measures to increase women’s fair participation in all aspects of public life, in particular their representation at the highest levels of government, legislative bodies and in the judicial system.

Gender-based violence, including domestic violence 

  1. While welcoming assurances by the State party that it is addressing harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation, the Committee is concerned that violence against women is widespread and persistent in the State party, including domestic violence and sexual violence in the context of the national service programme. The Committee is further concerned about a lack of comprehensive legislation that explicitly criminalizes all forms of violence against women, including marital rape. The Committee is also concerned that consensual same-sex relationships is criminalized in the State party, which promotes

CCPR/C/ERI/CO/1 3 CCPR/C/ERI/CO/14 homophobic attitudes and stigmatize lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons (arts. 3, 6, 7, 14 and 26).

  1. The State party should adopt comprehensive legal measures explicitly criminalizing all forms of violence against women, including sexual violence and marital rape. The State party should ensure that (a) cases of violence against women and domestic violence are promptly and thoroughly investigated and that perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with penalties commensurate with the gravity of the offences; (b) victims have access to effective remedies and full reparation. The State party should also decriminalize same-sex relationships between consenting adults and take measures, including policy and public education initiatives, to change societal perceptions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons.

Right to life 

  1. The Committee is concerned about a lack of legal standards and relevant procedures on appropriate use of force and firearms by law enforcement and security forces in the State party. The Committee is concerned about allegations of disproportionate use of force against civilians, such as a reported killing of at least 11 individuals during an incident where young conscripts jumped out of a truck on 3 April 2016 in Asmara, and the alleged use of live ammunition during the dispersal of a protest against government involvement in a Muslim school, on 31 October 2017 in Asmara. The Committee is also concerned about reports of killing or wounding of persons attempting to leave the State party illegally by its security forces at the borders. While the Committee notes the statement of the delegation from the State party that there is a de facto moratorium on death penalty, it is concerned that the death penalty remains in the Penal Code and the Government has not instituted an official moratorium on the use of the death penalty, with a view to its abolition (arts. 6 and 12).
  1. The State Party should take measures to effectively prevent and eliminate all forms of excessive use of force by police and security officers, including by (a) adopting appropriate legislation and policies controlling the use of lethal force by law enforcement officials, taking due account of the Committee’s general comment no. 36 on the right to life and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials; (b) introducing procedures designed to ensure that law enforcement actions are adequately planned in a manner consistent with the need to minimize the risk they pose to human life, mandatory reporting, review, and investigation of lethal incidents; (c) providing law enforcement personnel with training on the use of force; and (d) ensuring that all instances of excessive use of force are promptly, impartially and effectively investigated and that those responsible are brought to justice. The State party should consider: (a) establishing an official moratorium on the death penalty with a view to abolishing it; and (b) acceding to the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

Prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

  1. The Committee is concerned about allegations of extensive and methodical use of torture in civilian and military detention centres, including reports of torture to punish criticism of the government, practicing of religions non-recognised by the government, attempting to leave the State party or failing to perform duties during national military service. The Committee is concerned about non-existence of an independent body to investigate complaints and prevent torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials (arts.7 and 10).
  1. The State party should, as a matter of urgency, put an end to the practice of torture and ill-treatment. It should (a) review its laws to ensure that all elements of the crime of torture are prohibited in accordance with article 7 of the Covenant and stipulate sanctions for acts of torture that are commensurate with the gravity of the crime; (b) ensure prompt, thorough and effective investigation of all allegations of torture and ill-treatment, and where appropriate prosecute and punish the perpetrators with penalties commensurate with the gravity of the offence and provide effective remedies for the victims, including rehabilitation; (c) take all measures necessary to prevent torture, including by strengthening the training of judges, prosecutors, the police and military and security forces. The State party should establish an independent mechanism for investigating complaints on torture and ill- treatment by law enforcement officials.

Enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest and detention 

  1. The Committee is deeply concerned about reports of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings allegedly committed by governmental actors, particularly the National Security Office. The Committee is deeply concerned about the reports of widespread arbitrary arrest and detention, including incommunicado detention, failing to meet basic minimum legal safeguards, such as access to a lawyer, medical doctor and right to inform a family, a right to be promptly brought before a judge and a judicial review of detention. The Committee is specifically concerned about allegations of applying arbitrary detention against (a) perceived political dissents, (b) journalists (c) members of religious groups, including 40 Muslim clerics and scholars from the Saho ethnic group, detained since 2008, and Abune Antonios, Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, being in house arrest since 2006. The Committee is also concerned about the reports that some unlawfully detained persons have died in detention, including Musa Mohammed Nur, the former director of the Al Dia School in Asmara, who was arrested in October 2017. The Committee is further concerned that the delegation of the State party did not confirm or deny, despite being repeatedly asked to do so, whether the below-mentioned persons held in detention are still alive (arts. 6 and 9).
  1. The State party should (a) ensure prompt, impartial and thorough investigations of all allegations and complaints concerning enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings; (b) ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions and ensure that the victims are provided with full reparation, including satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition; and (c) clarify the fate or whereabouts of disappeared persons and ensure that their relatives are informed about the progress and the results of investigations. In particular, it should promptly make public the whereabouts of the 18 journalists detained since 19 September 2001, mentioned in paragraph 9 above; 11 former top officials of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), known as “the G15”, detained since 18 September 2001, and former Minister of Finance, Berhane Abrehe, and his wife, Almaz Habtemariam, detained respectively since 17 September 2018 and January 2018. The State party should ensure that (a) all persons deprived of their liberty are only detained in official places of detention and are provided with all legal safeguards, including an access to a lawyer, medical doctor and a family member, and that they are brought promptly before a judge; (b) allegations of unlawful detention are promptly investigated and that the perpetrators are brought to justice; (c) victims of arbitrary and unlawful detention are promptly released and provided with access to an effective remedy and full reparation. The State party should, as a matter of urgency, inform the relatives of the persons in detention about their whereabouts.

Conditions of detention 

  1. The Committee regrets lack of data pertaining to the prison population, and the number of detention facilities, both official and unofficial, in the State party. The Committee is concerned about reports of over-incarceration and over-crowding, poor hygiene, inadequate nutrition and water supply, lack of health care in detention facilities. It is further concerned about reported use of underground cells and shipping containers to detain prisoners, including in Adi Abeto, Alla, Dhlak Kebir, Mai Edaga, Mai Serwa, Sawa and Wi’a. The Committee is concerned about allegations of high number of deaths in custody, lack of information or explanation provided to relatives and an absence of any investigation into the circumstances of such deaths. It is also concerned about a lack of access of independent monitoring groups to prison facilities (arts. 6, 7 and 10).
  1. The State party should take measures to improve detention conditions by (a) adopting practical measures to reduce overcrowding, including through the promotion of alternatives to detention; (b) ensuring that persons in detention are treated with humanity and dignity, in accordance with the Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules); (c) allowing for independent monitoring of detention facilities; and (d) considering accession to the Optional Protocol to the CCPR/C/ERI/CO/1 5 CCPR/C/ERI/CO/16

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. 

The State party should investigate all inmate deaths promptly and thoroughly, prosecute and, where appropriate, punish those responsible and grant full reparation to victims’ families.

The right to a fair trial and the independence of the judiciary 

  1. The Committee is concerned about the lack of independence of the judiciary, including absence of a transparent procedure of appointment and dismissal of judges and the fact that many judges are military officers without proper legal training. The Committee is also concerned that military courts have jurisdiction in cases involving civilians and about the absence of a right to appeal decisions of the military courts. The Committee is concerned about the Special Court, which is not part of the ordinary judicial system, and which derives its powers from the Ministry of Defence and has its jurisdiction extended to general criminal cases. The Committee is concerned about a lack of basic guarantees of fair trial before the Special Court, including no right to a legal representative, to defence, to appeal, absence of a public hearing and public decisions. The Committee regrets that the Supreme Court, provided for by the Constitution, has not been established (art.14).
  1. The State party should take efforts to ensure and protect the full independence and impartiality of the judiciary and guarantee that it can carry out its judicial functions without any form of pressure or interference. The State party should (a) establish transparent and objective appointment and dismissal procedures of judges; (b) allocate additional human and financial resources to the judicial system, including providing judges and prosecutors with proper legal education and training; (c) ensure that military courts have jurisdictions only in cases involving military personnel; (d) provide for a right to a fair trial in all stages of judicial procedure, including the right to a defence and an appeal; (e) abolish the Special Court; and (f) establish the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution.

Freedom of movement and trafficking in persons 

 

  1. The Committee is concerned about restrictions on the right to freedom of movement in the State party, including restrictions of the right to leave the country, stipulated in the National Service Proclamation 82/1995. It is concerned about allegations that persons moving without permits within the State party or trying to leave it are subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention. It is further concerned about allegations of so called shoot-to-kill or shoot-to-wound policies that have been applied against persons trying to cross the borders illegally. It is further concerned that, due to severe travel restrictions, including exit permits, persons attempting to leave the State party are compelled to resort to clandestine alternatives, which may make them vulnerable to smuggling and trafficking in persons. While the Committee notes the efforts to combat trafficking in persons mentioned during the dialogue, it regrets the lack of specific information about investigations, prosecutions, or the identification and protection of any victim of trafficking (art. 8 and 12).
  1. The State party should ensure freedom of movement, including the right to leave the country, by repealing all restrictions incompatible with article 12 of the Covenant. It should ensure that persons trying to leave the State party are not subject to arbitrary arrest and detention for exercising their right to freedom of movement, and under no circumstances are subject to shooting for crossing the border illegally. The State party should intensify its efforts to prevent, combat and punish trafficking in persons and to punish those responsible, as well as to identify victims and provide them with full reparation and appropriate protection and assistance.

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion 

  1. The Committee is concerned about reports of severe restrictions of freedom of thought, conscience and religion in the State party. It is concerned that all religious groups, except Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and Islam, are barred from exercising their freedom of religion owing to refusal of their registration by the State party, including due to receipt of funds from external sources. The Committee is concerned about allegations of arrest and detention of persons practising religions non-recognized by the State party. The Committee is concerned about reported persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses who were stripped of their citizenship rights, following their alleged refusal to vote in 1993 referendum and many of whom have been reportedly arrested and detained because of their conscientious objection to the military service (arts. 9 and 18).
  1. The State party should guarantee the effective exercise of freedom of religion and belief and refrain from any action that may restrict it beyond the narrowly construed restrictions permitted under article 18 of the Covenant. It should bring its legislation and practices into conformity with article 18 of the Covenant and investigate all acts of undue interference with the freedom of religion of religious communities. It should release all persons arrested or detained for exercising their freedom of religion, including Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Military and national service programme 

  1. The Committee is concerned that the length of the national service, which, initially stipulated by the National Service Proclamation No. 82/1995 for the period of 18 months, has been extended by a mandatory national service programme called the “Warsai Yikealo Development Campaign” for an indefinite period. It is further concerned that indefinite duration of military/civil service reportedly remains one of the main causes for the departure of Eritreans from the State party. It is also concerned about allegations that national service conscripts are deployed for labour in various posts, including mining and construction plants owned by private companies, while receiving no or very little salary. The Committee is further concerned that the State party does not recognize a right to conscientious objection to military service and does not provide for alternative military service (arts. 6, 8 and 18).
  1. The State party should limit the length of mandatory military and national service to a maximum period of 18 months, in accordance with international standards. It should ensure the legal recognition of conscientious objection to military service and provide for alternative service of a civilian nature for conscientious objectors. It should also refrain from subjecting persons in military service to activities that may amount to forced labour.

Freedom of expression 

  1. The Committee in concerned about particularly severe restrictions on freedom of expression in the State party. The Committee is concerned about reports of ongoing harassment, arrest and detention of persons for merely expressing their opinion, including political figures, journalists, religious and community leaders. The Committee is further concerned that access to information is restricted since the withdrawal of licences of all independent newspapers in 2001, and ongoing censorship and government control of media (art. 19).
  1. The State party should take all measures necessary to guarantee the enjoyment of freedom of opinion and expression in all their forms, in accordance with article 19 of the Covenant. Any restriction should comply with the strict requirements of article 19 (3), as further developed in the Committee’s general comment No. 34 (2011) on the freedoms of opinion and expression, including the strict tests of necessity and proportionality. The State party should (a) put an end to harassment, arrest and detention of persons for expressing their opinion, including criticising the government; (b) immediately release all persons detained for exercising their right to freedom of opinion; (c) allow journalist and media workers to operate freely and independently; and (d) permit the establishment and operation of private media institutions and services.

Freedom of assembly and association 

  1. The Committee is concerned about severe restrictions of freedom of assembly and association placed on independent human rights defenders and civil society organizations. It is concerned that Proclamation 145/2005 limits the operation of civil society organizations only to relief and rehabilitation organizations and that civil society organizations can implement projects only in partnership with government ministries (arts. 21 and 22).

CCPR/C/ERI/CO/1 7 CCPR/C/ERI/CO/1

  1. The State party should take all necessary steps, including legislative measures, to ensure that all individuals and political parties fully enjoy the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association in practice and to ensure that all restrictions on the exercise of these rights comply with the strict conditions laid down in the Covenant.

Protection of minors 

  1. The Committee is concerned that all high school students, boys and girls, must enroll for their twelfth grade at the Sawa Military Training Center, where they undergo stringent military training. The Committee is also concerned that many students drop out of school, and some of them flee the country, to avoid such enrolment. The Committee is further concerned about reports of alleged forced underage recruitment, including through the practice of round-ups (giffa), and allegation of violence against children, including sexual violence, including at the Sawa Military Training Center (arts. 7 and 24).
  1. The State party should (a) discontinue the forced enrolment of high school students at the Sawa Military Training Center and ensure that students in the twelfth grade have the option to receive education at civilian high schools; (b) ensure that all alleged perpetrators of violence against children, including sexual violence, in particular at the Sawa Military Training Center, are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions, and that victims have an access to an effective remedy and full reparation; (c) ensure strict compliance with the minimum age of recruitment for military service of 18 years.

Participation in public affairs and the right to vote and to be elected

  1. While noting the holding of regional elections, the Committee is concerned that national elections have not been held in the State party since 1997, and that the National Assembly has been suspended. The Committee is further concerned that the current political system in the State party does not allow for pluralism and the participation of citizens in public affairs (art. 25).
  1. The State party should bring its electoral legal framework into compliance with the Covenant, including with article 25, by (a) holding national elections that allow for political pluralism; (b) refraining from arbitrarily denying registration to opposition political parties and preventing their participation in elections; (c) ensuring freedom of genuine and pluralistic political debate; and (d) revising legal and practical limitations on the right to stand for election and on the right to vote, with a view to ensuring compatibility with the Covenant.
  1. Dissemination and follow-up 
  1. The State party should widely disseminate the Covenant and the present concluding observations with a view to raising awareness of the rights enshrined in the Covenant among the judicial, legislative and administrative authorities, civil society and non-governmental organizations operating in the country and the general public.
  1. The Committee requests the State party to submit its initial report by 26 March 2021 and to include in that report specific up-to-date information on the implementation of the recommendations made in the present concluding observations and of the Covenant as a whole, in particular on paragraphs 8 (constitutional and legal framework), 28 (enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest and detention) and 38 (military and national service programme) in accordance with the rule 75, paragraph 1, of the Committee’s rules of procedure. The Committee also requests the State party, in preparing the report, to broadly consult civil society and non-governmental organizations operating in the country. In accordance with General Assembly resolution 68/268, the word limit for the report is 31,800 words.

March 29, 2019 News, United Nations Human Rights Commission

UN

GENEVA (Reuters) – Eritrea must investigate allegations of extrajudicial killings by its security forces and resolve the fate of dozens of missing detainees, including a former finance minister, a United Nations human rights watchdog said on Thursday.

Military conscripts should not be to subjected to forced labor in mining or construction “while receiving no or very little salary” during indefinite national service, it said.

A separate U.N. Commission of Inquiry accused Eritrean leaders in 2016 of crimes against humanity including murder, torture, rape, and enslaving hundreds of thousands.

The government immediately rejected that report, which called for the case to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

This month, Eritrea appeared before the U.N. Human Rights Committee for the first time since 2002, but did not submit an overdue report on its compliance with civil and political rights, the panel said.

Tesfamicael Gerahtu of the foreign affairs ministry told the panel that Eritrea never violated the commitment to its citizens’ human rights. He urged it to take into account its struggle for liberation and “unjust sanctions” imposed in 2009 and removed last November after a rapprochement with Ethiopia.

“There are many allegations of extrajudicial executions, torture, and disappearances — some of the most serious violations,” panel member Christof Heyns told a news briefing.

The independent U.N. experts voiced concern over alleged detentions of political critics, journalists and Muslim clerics.

During the review, they sought information on the whereabouts of 18 journalists detained in 2001 and on 11 former top officials of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, known as the G15, arrested the same year.

“We asked them in so many terms, ‘are these people still alive?’ They did not answer to that, which is of course a worrying sign,” Heyns said.

“We also asked about the former minister of finance, Berhane Abrehe and his wife, Almaz Habtemariam. They were detained last year in 2018, and we also asked whether they were alive and there was no response to that,” he added.

A rights group and a U.N. official said last September that Eritrea had arrested Abrehe, minister from 2000 to 2012, who wrote books critical of President Isaias Afwerki, who has led Eritrea since independence from Ethiopia in 1991.

Source=https://eritreahub.org/u-n-urges-eritrea-to-probe-killings-missing-detainees

March 25, 2019 Ethiopia, News

A senior Ethiopian official has confirmed that the numbers of Eritreans seeking sanctuary in Ethiopia continues to remain high.

Hitsats Refugee Camp Ethiopia

As many as 300 are crossing every day and the refugee facilities are close to their capacity.

Many of the new arrivals are unaccompanied children and 20-25% are Eritrean soldiers escaping from indefinite National Service.

The Ethiopian refugee authorities are struggling to cope with the exodus.

Refugees are having to wait for about 2 days in collection centers before they are transported to the screening center.

They are then being sent to one of the four existing camps, but all are having to be expanded to cope with the influx.

March 24, 2019 News

Risks to Peace Between Ethiopia and Eritrea

Source: Stratfor 2019 Second Quarter Forecast

Normalization between Ethiopia and Eritrea will likely deepen in 2019, but key components of the relationship remain unsettled. Matters including trade, the use of ports and Ethiopia’s handing over of the border town Badme will need to be formalized to prevent backsliding in the months ahead. Furthermore, lingering distrust between Eritrea’s leadership and the Tigray region of Ethiopia will be a festering problem and important to watch. Poor relations between the two sides could risk flare-ups along the border between Eritrea and the Tigray region that cause ties between Addis Ababa and Asmara to deteriorate, an issue not only for the quarter but the year ahead. For more on the continuity of Ethiopia and Eritrea’s peace deal, read our latest assessment.


Will Ethiopia-Eritrea Peace Last?

History warns the relationship between these two countries could suddenly turn sour again.

When Eritrea won its independence in 1993 after a thirty-year struggle against Ethiopia, there was optimism that peace would hold. Long-time dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam resigned on May 21, 1991, and fled into exile in Zimbabwe. Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and the new Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi had been comrades-in-arms against Mengistu’s regime. It looked like the two would lead their respective countries into a period of both peace and prosperity. In a book review for the Financial Times , British writer John Ryle recalled a 1995 celebration in the northern Ethiopian town of Mekelle:

“The two guerrilla movements had fought together to defeat the Derg, then – unprecedentedly – agreed to an amicable secession. In western diplomatic circles, Meles and Isaias were being touted as a new breed of African statesman. That evening on the outskirts of Mekelle, I watched as Meles, Isaias and other guests, serenaded by Mahmud Ahmed, a veteran Ethiopian pop star, danced together in the moonlight.”

Such episodes would not last. Just three years later, a series of skirmishes between Eritrea and Ethiopia over relatively minor border disputes would erupt into a full-scale conflict. The land they disputed had no real resources. It seemed so irrelevant that the conflict was often described as “two bald men fighting over a comb.”

Whereas Isaias and Meles once danced at Mekelle, soon Eritrean aircraft were bombing it . Sniper fire, artillery barrages, tank fire, air raids, and land grabs slowed into a stalemate and World War I-like trench warfare replete with human wave assaults. By the time both sides agreed to a ceasefire, at least one hundred thousand Ethiopians and Eritreans had died in combat. The peace was cold, however, and at times it appeared as if hostilities might again erupt.

Both countries used the crisis as an excuse to clamp down. Whereas once diplomats and analysts hoped Eritrea might become a democracy, it quickly descended into autocracy. In 1999, Freedom House lowered its rating to “not free.” Isaias used the conflict to institute near-indefinite conscription—lasting decades and often indistinguishable from slavery . Ethiopia, meanwhile, while never quite as extreme, also slipped back into repression .

That Eritrea and Ethiopia have been a hairs’ trigger away from renewed conflict made their sudden 2018 rapprochement all the more remarkable. Many observers credit the Ethiopian parliament’s appointment of Abiy Ahmed, a young former guerilla fighter and intelligence officer who had previously led Ethiopia’s equivalent of the National Security Agency. His political work—efforts to address both youth unemployment and the plight of the displaced as well as his ability to build cross-ethnic coalitions—shot him to prominence.

Abiy called for peace upon his inauguration and wasted no time to pursue it. Even seasoned veterans in the region, however, were surprised by the speed with which Isaias reciprocated his efforts. In September 2018, the two leaders signed a peace agreement in Saudi Arabia. The rapprochement has been rapid , as Ethiopians and Eritreans reunite families and resume trade. There is widespread speculation that Abiy could win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Alas, while Abiy appears sincere, it is far from clear Ethiopia-Eritrea peace will last. Here’s the problem. The seventy-three-year-old Isaias sees himself less as an equal to the forty-two-year-old Abiy than as a father figure and guide. Even at the best of times, Isaias’ concept of diplomacy is dictating his position and then waiting for opponents to accept it without any compromise. When the adversary or partner is a generational younger, the chances that Isaias will compromise recede from miniscule to nonexistent. Bilateral issues will inevitably arise, and it is unclear whether ordinary Ethiopians—let alone a fictitious political coalition—will back repeated Abiy’s concessions. After all, from the Ethiopian perspective, they are now Africa’s second most populous country after Nigeria and, with more than 100 million, they dominate East Africa. Isaias sees Eritrea and Ethiopia as equal, but Ethiopians will never accept equality with a country whose population is just one-twentieth of their own.

So, when Isaias raises a complaint and Abiy has no room to maneuver, what Isaias do? In the past, Isaias has shown a willingness to subordinate regional security and his country’s economic health for the sake of his own twisted sense of personal honor. Just as Isaias and Meles went from comrades and friends to enemies within just a few months, so too could Isaias and Abiy. Add into the mix that Ethiopia is growing more democratic while Eritrea has become the North Korea of the African continent, and Isaias has personal reasons to put the brakes on or even reverse the peace. Isaias may temporarily welcome the economic infusion that peace brings his devastated and impoverished country, but he will not continue it at the expense of his own power.

Is peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea a good thing? Certainly. But optimism should not cloud diplomats and analysts to reality, nor do dictators like Isaias suddenly change their stripes or behaviors overnight. Realism dictates not only rightly celebrating progress, but also recognizing just how tenuous it may be and planning proactively for the chance that the rapprochement might be fleeting.

Source=https://eritreahub.org/the-future-of-eritrean-ethiopian-relations-two-warnings

 

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

March 26, 2019 Ethiopia, News

“Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Sahel and Head of Office, stressed on the need to institutionalize the process of the normalization. “The move to normalize relations with Eritrea is commendable by itself, but it needs to be institutionalized to become sustainable. One way that could be achieved is by ironing out the agreement details,” she said.”

Country urged to pursue a multilateral approach in engagement with Eritrea

Home 2019 March 25 , Country urged to pursue a multilateral approach in engagement with Eritrea

Country urged to pursue a multilateral approach in engagement with Eritrea

Ethiopia should pursue a more multilateral approach to further amplify its voice in its relation and engagement with Eritrea and other neighbouring nations, an analyst says.

Speaking at the ‘Addis Wog’ forum held on 22 March in Sheraton Addis, Abdul Mohammed, the chair of InterAfrica Group, an Ethiopian civil society organisation, said that Ethiopia’s long-standing multilateral approach to deal with regional issues and neighbouring countries should be preserved in the evolving relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea and with its other nearest neighbours.

Commenting on Ethiopia’s foreign policy and position in Africa in the forum, organized by the Office of the Prime Minister, Abdul said the following course of action for the country should be to build on the positive momentum of normalization of relations that started with former rival Eritrea through a multilateral approach. “There would always be bilateral relation but multilateral approach is critical. Ethiopia has a greater responsibility than other countries. Its responsibility is not only for one country but for the stability of the whole region. Ethiopia should treat Eritrea the way it does other neighbouring countries,” he said.

The chair of InterAfrica Group talked of the significance of the normalization and reopening of the country’s border with Eritrea, saying it was a tremendous diplomatic triumph. “Bold diplomacy is usually needed to break through and settle long-standing conflicts. In this regard, the high-risk Dr. Abiy Ahmed has taken to normalize relations with Eritrea has wider significance and impact and it will be cited as an example of a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the continent for years to come. There would be a dearth of researches that would be conducted in the African Union,” he told the audience.

Abdul said in diplomacy, unilateralism could be crucial when negotiations do not advance or tend to get protracted. He said there has precedent in other countries, alluding to the example the last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev’s move in taking unilateral decision to defuse a dangerous international situation and to democratize his country’s political system. “By taking unilateral action, leaders could create a new situation that rivals could not ignore, and achieve some objectives,” he said.

Soft border

One of the vital elements of the rapprochement is the people-to-people ties, Abdul Mohammed stressed, noting that the hard border between the two nations is demolished, and what remains is the soft border. “The Ethio-Eritrea demarcations has been considered as one of the hard borders in Africa, disrupting trade and investment. We have to make concerted efforts so that the normalization does not slide back.”

Cautious neutralism

Ethiopia should not treat its relation with Eritrea any differently than it does with other Horn of Africa nations, the analyst stressed. “Treating Eritrea separately from other nation would present its own problem. As Ethiopia is the pivotal power of the horn of Africa and all the other countries want a better relationship with it, abiding by its policy of cautious neutralism would be of paramount importance.”

“The contribution of Ethiopia in the last two decades in the peacekeeping operations has been tremendous and the country has been the top troop contributing country to the UN. Ethiopia has long kept multilateralism tradition in the realm of diplomacy. Starting from the Emperor’s time, which continued through the Derg and the EPRDF’s leadership, sticking to multilateralism policy has been the consistent policy. That is why Ethiopia had been a founding member of the African Union and IGAD.”

Hiroute Guebre Sellassie

Another speaker Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Sahel and Head of Office, stressed on the need to institutionalize the process of the normalization.

“The move to normalize relations with Eritrea is commendable by itself, but it needs to be institutionalized to become sustainable. One way that could be achieved is by ironing out the agreement details,” she said. Hiroute said the tasks that are being overseen by the joint commissions have to be institutionalized and the two communities on the border area have to be an indispensable part of the peace process.

The two-day ‘Addis Wog’ forum held on 22 March and 23 March in Sheraton Addis covered many domestic issues: employment, wages, economic growth, job creation, social inclusivity, democratization, but also focused on Ethiopia’s foreign policy and position in Africa. It was attended by various prominent personalities and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Source=https://eritreahub.org/un-calls-for-eritrea-and-ethiopia-to-get-on-with-formalising-their-peace-deal

Alganesh: finding hope in abyss

Tuesday, 26 March 2019 11:16 Written by

Lia Giovanazzi Beltrami and Marianna Beltrami’s film, Alganesh, follows four Eritrean refugee camps in Ethiopia, following years of deadly conflicts between the two countries. It is an hour-long Italian-Ethiopian documentary. Fleeing Eritreans faced increased hostility in several countries. For example, Sudan forcibly returned over 100 asylum seekers, including about 30 minors to Eritrea in 2017. …

Lia Giovanazzi Beltrami and Marianna Beltrami’s film, Alganesh, follows four Eritrean refugee camps in Ethiopia, following years of deadly conflicts between the two countries. It is an hour-long Italian-Ethiopian documentary.

Fleeing Eritreans faced increased hostility in several countries. For example, Sudan forcibly returned over 100 asylum seekers, including about 30 minors to Eritrea in 2017. The UNHCR criticised the expulsions as “a serious violation of international refugee law.” In 2016, Sudan had repatriated 400 Eritreans who were promptly arrested upon their return, according to a UN Commission of Inquiry report. Whether any of them have been released, is speculative because of the government’s secrecy and the absence of independent monitors.

The protagonist of the film is Alganesh Fessah, an Italian-Eritrean Ayurvedic doctor and co-founder of a charity group, who has been devoted to helping refugees. The film, which is named after Alganesh, documents her commitment and struggle in securing refugees’ rights, while trying to secure them the basic necessities of life such as water, as there was a lack in those necessities for refugees in Ethiopia.

Fessah also had her struggles with freeing refugees from prisons or captivity in Egypt’s North Sinai, as she says her group and the Ethiopian government were able to free about 8,500 people. In Sinai, they are subjected to brutal violence and inhumane treatment during attempts to extract ransom payments from their families. The significant majority of the victims are Eritrean refugees and asylum-seekers, who make up the vast majority of the population of the Shagarab camps.

The film documents the torture, abuse, and rape that refugees go through whether by officials or by smugglers, when travelling from one country to another. The filmmaker does not force melodrama in the film, even though it is a film about refugees, as she films the daily colourful life of people, despite them being in a refugee camp. The close-up footage of food and coffee brings life into the flow of the documentary.

The two nations fought a bloody border war in 1998-2000, and Ethiopia occupies territory identified by an international boundary commission as Eritrean, including the town of Badme. President Isaias uses the “no-war, no-peace” situation with Ethiopia in order to continue his repressive domestic policies, including protracted national service. The national service conscription still often entails work going beyond military duties, with many conscripts assigned to a wide range of civilian roles, including agricultural work, construction, teaching, and civil service.

However, in 2018, Eritrea improved its relations with neighbouring Ethiopia, with a hope that the refugees’ crisis gets solved in a manner where displaced individuals can get a decent and a humane life. A predominant factor in asylum applications made by Eritreans is the indefinite conscription into the national service. This system, established by law in 1995, requires every adult Eritrean to undertake an 18-month period of national service. However, in practice, conscription has been extended indefinitely for a significant proportion of conscripts.

In the film, Alganesh says that she sees a lot of sad eyes and a lot of horrible scenes, but she also sees hope in these same eyes of refugees, who, despite the ill treatment, abuse, and violations which they are subjected to, are still hopeful to live, study, and reunite with their families, and even dream of going somewhere else where their humanity will be respected. Despite everything, there is hope at the end of the tunnel; or in this context, there is hope at the other side of the border where new opportunities and maybe new struggles are ahead.

Source=https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/25/alganesh-finding-hope-in-abyss/

March 22, 2019 News

Assena Satellite TV, produced by the seasoned and vibrant journalist Mr. Amanuel Eyasu, is the First Opposition Satellite TV to make a Breakthrough into the Eritrean Airspace, and the region. Mr. Eyasu, former fighter in the struggle for Independence of Eritrea himself, has an extensive journalistic experience. At some stage – before his exile to the UK – he was employed at the Only National Media in the country. Mr. Eyasu is known for expressing criticism of the Eritrean Government, such is the new Satellite TV – Assena – orientation. The TV is Donor Funded, ordinary Eritreans in diaspora are making it their mission to commit to a monthly fund, that would in turn enable them to communicate with their people inside their country.
Eritrean People have now an Alternate TV channel – the First for an Independent Eritrea. Even though the shows are short at the moment – hourly content – Eritrean people are tuning in, in masses. People discuss Assena episodes casually at caffe’s in the lively Harnet Avenue of Asmara.
 
Assena TV now airs everything but Government content. Coincided with the ongoing “Enough!” Campaign for reform by diaspora Eritreans, Assena TV found itself broadcasting the Campaign extensively. People inside Eritrea had a different perception of the Eritrean Opposition groups outside Eritrea. People have been deliberately misinformed to think the oppositions were comprised of old men of ‘grudges’. When Assena started broadcasting the “Enough!” Campaign videos and contents, that started changing the Eritrean people’s perception about the opposition. They could see their young sons and daughters, conveying a message for reform and solidarity with the people inside the country.
 
Sources told Eritrea Watch the Satellite Dish sales inside Eritrea have grown dramatically since the launch of Assena TV and anticipation of another Satellite TV, to be launched soon. Eritrea Watch’s attempt to get the estimated viewership has been futile, owing to the difficulty of gathering data and secretive nature of the Government in power.
Eritrea Watch wishes to compile another report when another Satellite TV launches its first broadcast. ERISAT, a new Satellite TV have issued a statement, that they are to start broadcasting to Eritrea on April the 1st, 2019. The channel did not explain the said ‘delay’ in launching the Satellite TV.
Viewers Sentiments
Assena TV coverage has grown rapidly and extensively, since its inception in January 2019. Eritrea Watch set on testing these claims, contacted people inside Eritrea – different parts of the country and different age groups.

Assena TV coverage has grown rapidly and extensively,

Of the general sentiment and opinion are Excitement and Joy at the idea of having a New Alternate TV channel. The Satetllite TV is now viewed by people from Tesenei and Barentu (West of the country), Mendefera and Segeneyti (in the south), Keren (in the North) and Asmara the capital city.
The National TV has dominated the Eritrean Airspace for the last 25 years, in a clear rejection to its content, people claim they would switch to Ethiopian Channels as soon as Assena shows finish.
Many contacted were unable to hide their excitement. Yohanes (not real name), 17 from Asmara, claims that “no one is really watching ERI-TV anymore. We are so exited we have another channel now, a better one (sic)”.
An exiled opposition member commends the idea of having another channel, and bemoans the opposition group’s failure to come up with the same idea years before.
“What we opposition groups failed to do, ordinary citizens are doing. The Eritrean government, for years, has denied people their right to Information. The National TV, is just a propaganda tool for the only Party in the country. People could now realize.” Asked what this would mean for the many opposition groups in exile, he explains “ The Eritrean Government declares to the world that it does not have any opposition groups – it has never recognised any. To the Eritrean people, it conveys a message the opposition groups are terrorists, killers and they would bring chaos and civil war, if in power. It has been spreading fear in the general public. The new channels would change all that perception.”

…Now I watch Assena TV every day hoping I catch the repeat..

Mrs. Makda (not real name) 27, from Senafe, claims to have seen her brother on one of Assena TV broadcasts. Her brother is a refugee in Germany, she saw him participating in the Peaceful Demonstration held in Geneva, Switzerland. She states, “ Joy ,Joyful, My brother left Eritrea seven years ago, I miss him! I could not believe my eyes when I saw him on TV! Now I watch Assena TV every day hoping I catch the repeat.”

We are very excited! We want more!

One Elderly gentleman from Asmara, seems to agree with the general sentiment. “We are very excited! We want more!” People inside the country are bemoaning the fact the shows are short, “ If only it has more content, and less of songs.” He adds. Seeing that Assena TV is only few months in operation, his criticism is meant to be constructive and valid at the same time

Eritrea & Freedom Of Expression

Eritrean Government has a blanket ban on All Independent Media inside the country. There are currently only two (2) Media outlets on Eritrea’s Airspace – the National Radio and Television programs, Government controlled and narrated.
 
When Eritreans started enjoying the First of their free Independent Newspapers in the late 1990’s – the First Ever for Post Independent Eritrea – the Government seemed to enjoy it less. The Government in 2001, would respond by Shutting down all the Newspapers and arresting ALL its journalists. Sadly, 18 years later, those journalists continue to languish in detentions – without A day in court, held Incommunicado. This despite the pleas and pressure from their families, the public and International Human Rights Organizations.
The Government in Eritrea is a One Party regime. It has never conducted an election, and Never allows any Opposition Party – or it’s media – inside the country. Eritrean opposition groups have been forced to dig deep – in creative ideas and financially – should they wish to broadcast to Eritrean people inside the country. Albeit, from Abroad.

Government Reaction

Anonymous sources, close to the Ministry of Information have explained that the Government in Eritrea seems to have panicked on the emergence of these new TV channels. In December, 2018, the Government set up a Task Team to specifically to deal with these issues. A Special meeting was held at the Ministry of Information offices, comprising many different security apparatus in the country. The sources claim to have knowledge of the participants and their resolution. Representatives from the President’s office, the National Security, seasoned journalists at the Ministry of Information were said to have attended the meeting. Among the resolutions reached were; to spread fear to public from watching the TV’s and Jamming the airwaves to disrupt the shows. Interestingly, they are said to have asked the Ethiopian Counter Intelligence Agency to assist in the matter.
 

 

Ethiopia, Eritrea to Sign EU-Sponsored Road Rebuilding Deal in Coming Months - Addis Ababa

Ethiopia and Eritrea will sign an agreement to rebuild the road infrastructure connecting the two countries as part of an EU-funded project in a few months, Mehreteab Mulugeta, the director general for European affairs at the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, told Sputnik in an interview

 MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 21st March, 2019) Ethiopia and Eritrea will sign an agreement to rebuild the road infrastructure connecting the two countries as part of an EU-funded project in a few months, Mehreteab Mulugeta, the director general for European affairs at the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, told Sputnik in an interview.

Back in February, the European Union earmarked 20 million Euros ($23 million) for a project to rebuild the road connection between the two countries. The announcement came several months after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signed a peace deal that put an end to the two decade-long Ethiopian-Eritrean territorial conflict.

"The two sides are discussing now and as soon as the preparation of the agreements is ready, then, we will sign these project agreements between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Then, we will proceed and that I think will be soon, in the coming months, in a month or two," Mulugeta said.

He specified that work on revamping road infrastructure had not yet started, with both sides anticipating to restore traffic as well as free movement of people and goods.

"For the last 20 years, [roads] have been useless, so we have to repair them and make them ready or usable again. We are preparing our roads; they are doing their part in Eritrea.

But we need assistance because we need to build roads, expand roads to make them usable by big trucks. We need to build railways and other facilities so we can have smooth people-to-people movement. Goods should come and go out," Mulugeta explained.

The diplomat added that the "involvement of any partner, not only the European Union, including the Russian government is welcome."

According to Mulugeta, such projects will be "very useful" for strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries in the wake of the years-long conflict.

In early June, Ethiopia's ruling People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) decided to fully accept and implement the ceasefire deal concluded by the governments of the two countries in 2000. The Algiers Agreement, as it was called, recognized some disputed areas, including the town of Badme, as Eritrea's territories. As part of the agreement, Ethiopia had to withdraw its forces from the territories that the agreement considered as Eritrean, a process it began in late 2018.

Eritrea split from Ethiopia in the early 1990s, leaving the parent nation landlocked. This sparked a war between the two countries in 1998-2000, which killed around 80,000 people.

Source=https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/ethiopia-eritrea-to-sign-eu-sponsored-road-r-575276.html

Oromo regional state security authorities link the gunmen to militant wing of Oromo Liberation Front (it is also called SHANE in the region) but no parties responsible for the attack is in police custody so far.

Nedjo _Ethiopia _ Oromo militantCredit : Google map

borkena
March 19,2019

Five people are killed on Tuesday morning, around 7 a.m. local time, near Nedjo -Wellega-, in Oromo region,Western Ethiopia when gunmen opened fire on a vehicle, Oromo regional state authorities confirmed.

Two of the victims are foreigners – Japanese and an Indian – according to a report by DW Amharic service which cited sources from the area.

And all the victims are employees of a company licensed; by the Federal government of Ethiopia, to undertake copper mining in the area, reported FanaBC citing Ministry of Petroleum and Mining. Some of them were management staff.

The vehicle carrying the deceased was traveling from Mendi to Tolla Waqo when the gunmen opened fire in Humna Waqeyo, about 5 kilometers from Nedjo town.

The vehicle was in a blaze after it was hit with grenade explosion following the death of the five people who were in it. When law enforcement unites arrive in area, and it is unclear as to when they arrived, they found about 56 bullets, according to a report by FanaBC.

On Tuesday, DW Amharic cited Nedjo town communication officer, Tolera Suki, to report that bodies are in Nedjo hospital. But they could not be identified for they are disfigured, according to the report.

Oromo regional state deputy police commissioner, Retta Belachew, told Ethiopian state broadcaster, EBC, that the gunmen were armed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) Shane group who refused to disarm through a negotiation process that involved traditional elders in the region known as Abba Geda.

A militant wing of OLF has been operating in the region for many months now. In January 2019, the group robbed 17 bank branches (both private and state banks) in a span of two days.

The Federal government deployed armed forces to the region and there were claims of improved security situation thereafter.

In May 2018, Dagonte Ethiopia cement general manager, Deep Kamra, was killed along with his secretary, among others, in Adaberga district, Oromo region, about 85 kilometers west of the capital Addis Ababa.

Prime Minister Abiy’s government has been criticized in connection with the way it handled the militant group.

Source=https://borkena.com/2019/03/19/oromo-gunmen-claimed-lives-of-three-ethiopianstwo-foreigners/

Jean-Jacques Cornish
March 19, 2019

Eritrea

FlagDespite making peace with its neighbors and being elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Eritrean regime of Isaias Afwerki continues severely to repress his people.

Human Rights Watch lists violations that include enslavement of young people.

Isaias Afwerki used Eritrea’s  20 year war with Ethiopia to justify his oppression.

This includes indefinite conscription that amounts to the enforced labour of young people.

Parliament, political parties, an independent judiciary and a 1997 constitution are prohibited.

Government opponents are jailed without trial and held incommunicado.

Signing a peace deal with Ethiopia last year and re-establishing diplomatic relations with Djibouti have been hailed internationally.
But according to Human Rights Watch, they’ve not changed Afwerki’s  oppressive measures.

Tags: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch, Isaias Afwerki, slave labour