Thank you. Madame Vice President,
The government of Eritrea wants to present an image of a modern, progressive, and peaceful Eritrea, however, all forms of repression of Eritrean citizens by their own government continue unabated. Over 10,000 prisoners of conscience have been detained in over 350 prisons across Eritrea, under harsh conditions and without due legal process.
Security forces fired shots in the capital in response to a student protest in October. The students were protesting the arrest of their community school board president, Haji Mussa Mohamed Nur.
After four months incommunicado detention, Haji Mussa died in detention on 1st of March, the government arrested over 1000 mourners at his funeral and they are still detained incommunicado.
Solomon Habtom, a former head of Eritrean Telecommunications, died after 14 years in prison, without access to lawyer, or family visitation. His son who lives in Germany is present at this Council today.
Arrests of Christians multiplied in 2017: at least 400 remain in prison, without charge or trial, many for over 10 years.
With no time limit on the National Service, it is no wonder that every Eritrean who can tries to leave, making Eritrea one of the countries producing the highest numbers of refugees.
The repression of the private sector has worsened. The government limited cash withdrawals from banks, and depositors have lost control of their own personal and business funds. The regime wants an economy that is totally controlled by its party.
Madam Vice President.
Does the panel agree that there have been no verifiable human rights changes on the ground in Eritrea?
We recommend that the Human Rights Council must renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur at a minimum, and look for new opportunities to push for improvements in Eritea.