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News: UN says withdrawal of Eritrean army from Tigray remains “very slow”, human rights violations in Eritrea extremely dire

Nada Al-Nashif, UN’s Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights speaking during #HR52 (Picture: UNHCHR)

Addis Abeba – The United Nations Human Rights Council says the withdrawal of Eritrean army from Ethiopia’s Tigray region remains slow despite reports of its commencement, and emphasized the need for continued monitoring and reporting of the situation, while displaying the persistent dire human rights violations in Eritrea itself.  

Speaking during the interactive dialogue on human rights in Eritrea on the ongoing 52nd regular session of the council, Nada Al-Nashif, UN’s Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, said while the Eritrean Defense Force has commenced withdrawal from Tigray, as requested under the agreement for lasting peace through a permanent cessation of hostilities that was signed in South Africa, Pretoria, in November last year, the withdrawal remains “very slow and largely incomplete”. 

She added that Eritrea has not taken any step to establish accountability mechanisms for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by its army in the context of the Tigray conflict in line with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of UNHCHR and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. 

The Eritrean government has “rejected this JIT report and has allowed perpetrators in the army to act with impunity”, she stated, noting that “there is no genuine prospect that the domestic judicial system will hold perpetrators to account”

The Deputy High Commissioner also emphasized that Human Rights Violations in Eritrea have remained “so awful showing no sign of improvement for years” and has requested the government in the country to take demonstrable steps to ensure accountability for past and ongoing human rights violations. 

“The human rights situation in Eritrea remained dire and showed no sign of improvement” Nada Al-Nashif said.

According to a statement subsequent to the interactive dialogue report, the human rights situation in Eritrea continued to be characterized by serious human rights violations, with credible reports of torture, arbitrary detention, inhumane conditions of detention, enforced disappearances and restrictions of the rights to freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

“All these human rights violations were committed in the context of complete impunity,” the statement quoted Nada Al-Nashifas saying.

The statement also emphasized that the country has been not taking any demonstrable steps to ensure accountability for the past and the ongoing human rights violations, urging the Eritrean Government on the need to engage on critical human rights issues, through dialogue with the office and extending full cooperation to international human rights mechanisms.

The Eritrean officials have rejected the remarks made during the interactive dialogue on the dire human rights violations in the country describing it as “unremitting external hostilities on the country”. 

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Adem Osman Idris, Permanent Representative of Eritrea to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Eritrea is committed to the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all its citizens. 

“The mandates of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights in Eritrea as well as others were the unremitting external hostilities continued to harass the country with the aim of advancing political motives and agenda,” he added.  AS

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