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The Human Rights Council: Saudi Arabia and Eritrea

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The Saudi Arabia and Eritrean stories on human rights violations exhibit graphically the anomalies and inconsistencies of positions being taken by the United Nations on issues related to Human Rights.

In 2013 European Union declared Wahabism as the main source of global terrorism. In 2001 the Pentagon labeled Saudi Arabia as the “kernel of evil.” Fifteen of the nineteen, 9/11 terrorists are from Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida and it’s affiliates, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al Shabab, Al Nusra front in the Middle East, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQUAP), Boko Haram and ISIS are the products of Wahhabi radicalization and Saudi Arabia funding. It is now generally acknowledged that the root of violent extremism is the Wahhabi ideology. The former CIA Director James Woolsey told Congress: “One analogue for Wahhabis’ political influence today might be the extremely angry form taken by much of German nationalism in the period after World War I…. Just as angry and extreme German nationalism of that period was the soil in which Nazism grew, Wahhabi Islamist extremism today is the soil in which al Qaeda and its sister terrorist organizations are growing.” Internally, Saudi Arabia is the most oppressive government in the world violating every letter in the International Human Rights Law, by enslaving its people, torturing and abusing immigrants and implementing the most primitive system of justice. And yet for decades the US and Europe have supported Saudi Arabia and condoned the expansion of its version of Islam, Wahabism.

Saudi Arabia bribes and blackmails its way out of condemnation for its human rights abuses in its own country and fomenting trouble in other countries. Recently Saudi Arabia blackmailed the UN Secretary General who, in unprecedented move, was forced to take the name Saudi Arabia out of the UN report, which accused Saudi Arabia of committing war crimes against children in Yemen. UN Investigators had found that the Saudi coalition was to blame for the deaths of more than half of the 510 children killed in the conflict in Yemen last year. Ban Ki-Moon said the removal of Saudi Arabia from the list was “one of the most painful and difficult decisions” he has had to make as Secretary General. He described the pressure exerted as “unacceptable.” But he had the power to say no and exercise other options. Sajjad Mohammad Sajid, Oxfam Director in Yemen stated: “ It appears that political power and diplomatic clout have been allowed to trump the UN’s duty to expose those responsible for the killing and maiming of more than 1,000 of Yemen’s children.” Amnesty International wrote: “The credibility of the United Nations is on the line after it shamefully caved in to pressure to remove the Saudi Arab military coalition from the UN’s list of states and armed groups that violate children’s rights in conflict,”

In it’s 2015/2016 report Amnesty International reports that Saudi Arabia “continued to severely restrict freedoms of expression, association and assembly. The authorities arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned human rights defenders and government critics, including under the 2014 anti-terror law, often after unfair trials. Some of those detained were prisoners of conscience. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common.”

Here is a government that has violated every letter of the human rights law and has waged war, not only on its people, but on all humanity and yet being forgiven by the highest institute of international justice and law. Does this not make the UN complicit in crimes against humanity?

During the same week we witnessed a small poor country, Eritrea, condemned by the experts of the UN Human Rights Council and accused of crimes against humanity. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Eritrea is not swimming in oil, rather struggling to come out of poverty. It has its own political and governance issues like many other African countries and a stressed relationship with its neighbor, Ethiopia. It has serious problems which it needs to address so that it becomes an active and equal participant in global and regional affairs and in the affairs of African Union. But whatever problem it has cannot warrant such a grossly misguided and biased report and recommendation. It is so easy for the UN and the most powerful governments to accuse and punish small poor countries who do not have leverage in the international system and cannot exert “pressures “ like Saudi Arabia which continues to oppress its people and create international havoc with impunity.

If the Human Rights Council goes ahead and accepts the recommendation of the committee of experts it will indeed be seen as a classic action to destabilize a nation. And this will not be in the interest of Ethiopia, the neighboring countries, its other neighbors, the region and the world as a whole. Eritrea’s strategic location is too critical to be ignored. The only way forward is meaningful engagement with Eritrean government and its neighbors to bring about regional stability. Eritrea is in-between several unstable states including Yemen across the Red Sea, which separates Africa from the Arabian Peninsula. The Gulf of Aden is one of the most important shipping routes, and the second most dangerous maritime zone in the world, next to the Gulf of Guinea.

Instability in Eritrea will invite proxy wars in the region with several players (US, Ethiopia, North and South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt), the kind of war that can only be compared to what we see in Syria. The stakes are high and the interests of each of these countries vary significantly. The horn of Africa is one security complex and the most explosive region in the world with numerous interstate and intrastate problems. Paramount concern should be regional security and stability. Africa Union, and US policies in the horn are geared towards engagement and regional stability. The UN Human Rights Council should be supporting this effort not undermine it by approving this report and recommendation which is unfair and founded on double standard. Taking punitive measures based on this report will obviously offend the sense of justice of Africans and further isolate Eritrea, breed belligerence and create obstacles for peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues through constructive dialogue.

Dawit Giorgis
Executive Director; Institute for strategic and Security Studies

18 Comments

  1. Sily man , how long do you say strategic location blah blah

    All is done deal , bibi ( Netnyahu ) is coming to Ethiopia soon and all is done deal !

  2. Guys!!! Major Dawit W/giorgis was Eritrea as an administrator during Mengistu regime. Additionally; he was a drought and relief….organization as a director. He left his country because of finance related crisis. He was suspected as a major criminal of stealing money of the organization. Dawit also worked as assistant secretary of foreign affairs. During his term, money laundry, defections,….. among the then conditions. I could give you an example about Dawit; Dawit wrote a book in 90’s which was called “Red Terror”. I read statements that a big lie paragraphs that as if he stopped or refute or oppose or neglect or the Dergue terror in Eritrea. Means; Mengistu had decided to exercise the red terror as he did in Addis in order to shut the mouth of Shabia. But Dawit was not the one who did it!!! Others Cadres had done it. Because of this and that, the book became a best seller at that time. And Essyas was benefited from the money too. Is it Dawit???

    • You wrote your comment with a sub-conscious. For one thing, Dawit was not an Assistant Secretary of Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ethiopia did not have positions of assistant secretaries in its ministries at that time and neither does it have one now.

      I assure you that no Ethiopian government official was involved in stealing money from the Ethiopian Treasury. They did not even have decent houses. Dawit was also commissioner of the then Ethiopia’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission and did a commendable job. Stealing government money was unheard of at that time and was punishable by death. YOU ARE NOW MAKING MILLIONS OF BIRR TODAY ILLEGALLY AND NO ONE HOLDS YOU ACCOUNTABLE.

      Dawit is one of the brilliant sons of Ethiopia. He got the position by merit and not ethnic means.

      He wrote that book because he had the skill and knowledge to do so. It is a book that has been admired by ordinary readers and the academic community. It is clear that you can never understand a sentence written in English with the complete laughable deficiency of your English language.

      What is wrong in being an AMHARA? Are you insulting and defaming his good name because he is an Amhara? How shallow you are!

      Let me advise you: You do not have the slightest knowledge of basic grammar. Please do not try to write a message in English. If you hate the Amharic language, write it in your mother tongue using the Latin alphabet.

      • I’m so sorry for you. You want to show you are against ethincism but you glorified who you are. You are not also well understood about the alphabet origin and erroneously commented about it. If you refer to Ethiopian history, at least all the Ethiopian Semitic languages share the alphabet equally. The earlier comment whether he was correct or not it was strictly on individual (the writer ) and therefore, no need to itch for no apparent reason.

    • Shallow and empty head. First study and do your homework before opening your dirty mouth on something that you don’t have any idea

  3. Guys!!! Major Dawit W/giorgis was Eritrea as an administrator during Mengistu regime. Additionally; he was a drought and relief….organization as a director. He left his country because of finance related crisis. He was suspected as a major criminal of stealing money of the organization. Dawit also worked as assistant secretary of foreign affairs. During his term, money laundry, defections,….. among the then conditions. I could give you an example about Dawit; Dawit wrote a book in 90’s which was called “Red Terror”. I read statements that a big lie paragraphs that as if he stopped or refute or oppose or neglect or the Dergue terror in Eritrea. Means; Mengistu had decided to exercise the red terror as he did in Addis in order to shut the mouth of Shabia. But Dawit was not the one who did it!!! Others Cadres had done it. Because of this and that, the book became a best seller at that time. And Essyas was benefited from the money too. Is it Dawit??? Major Dawit is from Amhara tribe!!!

  4. One can’t say just because Eritrea can’t “bribes and blackmails its way out of condemnation” like Saudi Arabia & others with money, is not a defense in my opinion.

    Who ever commit a crime should do the time! even if they happen to be a small time crook.

  5. Thank you, Dr. Dawit Giorgis. Please, send this article to Obama as well as UN sec. gen. I think they (Obama and UN gen. sec) have already know the facts in the above article;however, it is good to remind them that they don’t succumb into a pit that has been dug by TPLF-Thugs. We have learned from history that one of the reasons of war is vengeance. TPLF-thugs and Susan Rise have met at the intersection of inferiority complex and vengeance. These are the pretext to invade and remove president Afeworki government and if possible, to dismantle opposition forces that are now under the umbrella of president Afeworki government. If the current movement of US/UN is about standing to human right then Saudi Arabia would have face I.C.C. The picture that has been painted by the above Dr. Dawit Giorgis’ article is clear to see by any respective authorities if they give a damn about Ethiopia as well as relevant neighboring countries. Nevertheless, Ethiopia’s freedom is solely rests on the shoulder of its majority people. People power!!!!!!!!

  6. Guys!!! Dawit didn’t seal the money. But the government suspected him uknowninglly. Durgue was a military junta dictator was led by Mengistu Haile Mariam. During that time Dawit was a key member of the military groups. Since he was a military, he was picked easily to serve the group. Dawit had first degree law, as Lemma Gutema had. They gathered and started to lead the country; they did it. During those time; Dawit had changed so many positions as if he bugged by insects here and there. In fact, the junta government, gave him a chance for a free movements as Dawit wishes. Look; I didn’t say Dawit stole money; but was suspected. This thing is known by all Ethiopians whether who live in abroad or in side. Dawit is a thief!! Dawit is a thief!! It was a slogan of the people!!! Isn’t it Dawit?? Now Dawit wants to be an Executive Director; Institute ….. Who is fool to you Dawit? Don’t you know you are an Amhara? Who are you? Do you think you are seeking again a position as if as innocent Ethiopian? Please, stop what you are doing!!! The previous is enough!! Walk away!! Walk away!!! Otherwise; the thing will remain bastard!!!

  7. Stealing millions $$$$$$$ from starving Ethiopians is not only illegal but it is immoral, please bring back the money that you had stolen from starving Ethiopians.

  8. Guys!!! Major Dawit W/Giorgis is a very friend of Esayas Afeworki; the president of Eritrea. As others suspected him as thief of the money he directly started shouting as if he was struggling for Eritreans. Smartness!!! It was not a big money as such. It was one million and half. Isn’t Dawit?? Nowadays, he became multimillionaire by selling a book. Dawit a very smart guy again; the Eritreans are suffering and Essayas likely to go or to be hated; and people are complaining about his administration, so that, Dawit gets up and wants to play a political game as if he did it before; even though it was failed. Since Dawit is a smart military and Amhara which was opposed the equality of the Ethiopian nations; now as he was innocent person to get up and shout for his Grmay or Amanuel friend who was in Sweden at that time. Please’ Dawit stop this your nonsense office and shut it!!! It is an old fashion!!! Dawit!!! We all are Ethiopians!!! We know each other!!! But You couldn’t wash you eyes with a salt!!! Tears are coming out!!! Tears for Essayas doesn’t work!!!

  9. I am sorry, but I have no respect for those cold blooded theives who steal from starving children. He did abandoned his position while million Ethiopian children starving, but worse I heard he departed with millions.

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