Statement by H.E. Ambassador Girma Asmerom The Permanent Representative of Eritrea during the High Level Dialogue on Human Rights 12- 13 July 2016
Thank you Mr. President,
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Human Rights can only be adequately realized in an envirornnent of peace, stability and inclusive development. Therefore holding a high-level discussion on human rights as we embark on the new phase of development initiative, the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development is timely.
The Eritrean people’s 30 years armed and political struggle for independence was a struggle for human rights and economic liberation. Therefore after independence at the top of Eritrea’s priorities have been the eradication of poverty, ensuring social justice, and building a sustainable development based society in an envirornnent of peace and social harmony. Twenty five years after its independence, Eritrea has registered significant progress in ensuring economic, social and political rights of its people, including through the provisions of basic services and food security for all. As a result, Eritrea has achieved most of the Millennium Development Goals prior to the deadline and is fully committed and engaged in the implementation of the goals and targets of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
We can’t discuss Human Rights in the General Assembly today without pointing out the elephant in the room, the working methods of the Human Rights Council, a subsidiary body of this general assembly. Today, the Human Rights Council is acting no different from its predecessor, Commission on Human Rights. One can’t help but notice the politicization and double standard, in full display undermining the mandate of the Human Rights Council. It is time that we seriously address this issue which is counterproductive in the promotion and protection of human rights. We especially reject the proliferation of country specific mandates, which seek to punish and isolate countries rather than engage and assist them to fulfil their human rights obligations.
We reiterate our strong support for the UPR process as the most viable and effective mechanism of addressing human rights. Since the establishment of the UPR Eritrea has participated twice and is working with full efforts on the implementation of its recommendations. A UPR implementation body composed of all ministries, civil societies, UNDP, OHCHR and other partners has been created. Eritrea has also recently signed a human rights implementation framework with the UNDP based on 6 priority areas including on the administration of Justice and liberties among the rest. It has also requested technical cooperation from OHCHR on three areas of challenges.
Eritrea believes constructive engagement and cooperation are effective ways of identifying the root causes of human rights challenges for all countries and it strongly appeals to member states and UN bodies to work on that framework.
As is the case for most countries, human rights in Eritrea is not without challenges, Eritrea is committed to work effortlessly to overcome the challenges and protect the dignity and rights of the Eritrean people. However, Eritrea calls for the attention of this general assembly on the two most serious collective punishments that are perpetuated against the Eritrean people.
One is Ethiopia’s illegal occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories including the town of Bademe for the past 14 years. This is a serious threat to peace and security of the region and a violation of the United Nations charter.
The Second one is the unjust sanctions imposed on the people of Eritrea by the United Nations Security Council, for reasons which were fabricated and are proven today to be nonexistent.
Collective Punishmentis the worst and highest form of human rights violations. Occupation and unjust sanctions perpetuates poverty, creates refugees and displaced people. It also goes against the motto and principles of 2030 Agenda that “No one should be left behind”
Diplomatic and political expediency and considerations aside, all justice loving and human rights advocates must demand for Ethiopia to respect the final and binding Eritrea and Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) 2002 Delimitation and 2007 Demarcation decisions and to unconditionally withdraw from sovereign Eritrean territories including the town of Bademe. The EEBC is the sole body mandated by the UNSC to delimit and demarcate the Eritrean and Ethiopian boarder. They must also demand the UNSC to lift the unjust sanctions which is depriving the people of Eritrea from the right to development. “No one should be left behind” means no one should be left behind, under any cover or pretext.
I thank you.