Monday, June 17, 2013

Eritrea: Madate of UN expert extended · Article 19

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the decision to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea. 39 countries supported the resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to give Sheila Keetharuth another year to investigate the country.
It is absolutely right this important mandate has been extended. The international community must really push now to encourage Eritrea to allow the Special Rapporteur to visit the country. The people of Eritrea must not be forgotten” said Henry Maina Article 19 Eastern Africa Director.
Ms Keetharuth was initially appointed to the role of Special Rapporteur in 2012. She is an independent expert who has been commissioned by the UNHRC to investigate the human rights situation inside Eritrea and reporting her findings to the Human Rights Council. A lawyer from Mauritius, she has extensive experience in monitoring and documenting human rights violations, advocacy, training and litigation in Africa.
During the 23rd session of the HRC (earlier this month) the Special Rapporteur presented her report on Eritrea, in which she highlighted a series of human rights violations and the failure of the government to enforce and respect the rule of law. She made clear that freedom of expression and opinion, and freedom of assembly and association are severely curtailed, describing a climate of fear that is fuelled by rumours, propaganda and suspicion.
ARTICLE 19 calls on the government of Eritrea to extend an official invitation for Sheila Keetharuth to visit the country.
ARTICLE 19 urges the international community to step up their efforts in pressing Eritrea to allow the Special Rapporteur to visit the country. In particular, ARTICLE 19 encourages African members of the UNHRC to help build momentum to within the international community to raise the situation of human rights in Eritrea as a priority for the region.
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