SIHA Network is delighted that the UN Human Rights Council has taken the decision to renew the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur for the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea, Ms. Sheila B Keetharuth. The mandate was adopted by the HRC without a vote and furthermore a resolution was adopted which strongly condemned practices such as the shoot to kill policy that is applied along the borders and the practice of arbitrary detention and arrest.
The role of the UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea was created in July 2012 following the adoption of a resolution by the Human Rights Council that had been pushed forward and supported most notably by Djibouti, Nigeria and Somalia. The mandate set out that the Special Rapporteur would investigate human rights abuses taking place within Eritrea.
On the 28th May Ms Sheila Keetharuth identified a number of key human rights abuses in her report to the Human Rights Council, inclusive of arbitrary arrest and detention, restrictions on freedom of conscience, extrajudicial killings, restrictions on freedom of movement, torture and trafficking.
In April 2013, SIHA had the privilege of meeting Ms Keetharuth directly during the African Commission on Human and PeopleÔÇÖs Rights 53rd session, where SIHA shared relevant information with her and conducted a hugely successful side event alongside the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project.
In May 2013, SIHA joined with a number of likeminded NGOs in a joint letter to call for the renewal of the mandate. The renewal of the mandate highlights the international recognition of the dire human rights situation in Eritrea and the need for monitoring of the situation and advocacy for its improvement.
We hope that the renewal of the mandate will further the awareness and understanding of human rights in Eritrea with a view to demanding greater accountability from the state to its international human rights obligations to which it has committed itself.