Statement on the situation of human rights in Eritrea

Enhanced interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in Eritrea. Statement, 12 March 2018

As delivered by Senior Advisor Merete Dyrud.

Mr President,

Norway would like to thank the Special Rapporteur once again for her efforts. As a long-standing friend of Eritrea, we remain deeply concerned by the reports of grave human rights violations in the country.

Upholding human rights is an integral part of a government’s duties towards its citizens, and it is therefore vital to ensure transparency as regards both progress that has been made and areas where improvements are still needed. Reliable data and statistics are essential for verifying Eritrea’s human rights status.   

We welcome the commitment made by the Government of Eritrea to collaborate on the implementation of accepted UPR recommendations. We look forward to learning more about the progress being made at next years UPR hearing.

In order to strengthen accountability and the implementation of human rights obligations, we urge Eritrea to allow experts from the UN access to the country. Cooperation with Special Procedures representatives, including both those with thematic mandates and those with country-specific mandates, is crucial to complement the UPR process. We would like to hear your views on how to cooperate with Eritrea in order to facilitate visits from special procedures representatives.

Norway recognises that there have been some human rights improvements in the country. The focus on gender equality and the fight against harmful practices are commendable. However, several challenges remain; much still needs to be done, among them, to establish and ensure respect for the rule of law. We strongly encourage Eritrea to continue its constructive cooperation with the UN Country Team and OHCHR on strengthening the administration of justice. We would be interested to hear the views of the panel on how to move forward in order to strengthen rule of law in Eritrea.  

We appreciate the Government of Eritrea’s readiness to engage in bilateral dialogues on human rights. Also, we encourage Eritrea to cooperate closely with the UN on capacity building and reform in order to achieve the SDGs, including the human rights targets. Norway would reiterate its recommendation that Eritrea should invite OHCHR to establish an office in the country.

Thank you.