Human Rights Watch notes with deep concern the conclusion of the Commission of Inquiry that many of the abuses committed in Eritrea, primarily those related to indefinite national service; imprisonment without trial; denial of rights to speech, press, assembly, and practice of religion; use of torture, and inhumane conditions of imprisonment, are widespread and systematic.
The abuses found in the Commission's reports this year and last are unmistakably serious violations of international human rights standards, as well as of treaties to which Eritrea is a party.
The patterns of abuses documented, as well as the finding that there has been no change in Eritrea’s national service policy or improvement in the patterns of repression overall, are in line with Human Rights Watch’s own research and underline the need for increased pressure and transparency about the situation through credible and sustained international monitoring.
We call on the Eritrean government to implement the many essential reforms and recommendations, including steps to improve the rule of law, for accountability for the serious violations, and to ratify the Rome Statute. We urge the Council to renew the Special Rapporteur’s mandate to ensure continued public reporting on human rights conditions in Eritrea and on implementation of the Commission’s recommendations, to take meaningful steps to advance accountability, and to transmit reports to the General Assembly for follow up.
Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, and in accordance with their international law obligations, all states should investigate and, evidence permitting, prosecute in a fair trial individuals found on their territories who are alleged to be responsible for human rights violations in Eritrea amounting to crimes under international law, notably torture and enforced disappearances.
Human Rights Watch remains deeply concerned that 1000s of Eritrean asylum seekers fleeing their country each month face unlawful confinement in closed refugee camps, a risk of refoulement – forced return to persecution or other serious harm – as well as kidnapping, extortion and violence by smugglers and traffickers The Council should urge all member states to respect Eritreans’ free movement rights, allow Eritreans to lodge asylum claims, fairly assess those claims and grant the UN refugee agency access to all detained Eritreans seeking protection.