March 16, 2014

Statement by H.E. Osman Saleh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Eritrea

Presented at the High level Segment 25th Session of the Human Right Council, 3rd of March 2014, Geneva

H.E. Minister Osman SalehMr. President,
It is an honour and indeed a privilege to address the High Level Segment of the Human Rights Council on a subject that my delegation attaches great importance.

Mr. President,
Six and half decades ago universality of fundamental human rights attracted our collective attention and imagination until it finally culminated in the universal declaration of human rights that subsequently served as the basis for the establishment of several international conventions and human rights institutions.

The fact that no other issue has attracted member states more than the promotion and protection of human rights shows how compelling and central the issue is to the dignity and well being of human beings. In this vein, we have gone a long way, but still our achievements fall far short of what we aspire to cherish. Humanity deserves more than what has been secured legally.

In my view, there is a huge mismatch of what has been promised and written and what has been achieved so far. It is therefore, imperative to look at what is missing and what are the impediments that are perhaps hampering our march towards the full enjoyment of all human rights.

Mr. President,
Since the establishment of this council, we have witnessed the adoption of many resolutions covering almost every aspect of life. The high number of these new resolutions in such a very short span of time is an attestation of the drive for a better world. On the other hand, however, the continuous and persistent attempts to introduce non human rights issues show how sharply we are divided on certain notions.

The principle that fundamental human rights are universal, indivisible and mutually reinforcing seems to have been eroded through time and a sort of hierarchy has prevailed in practice.

Nevertheless, no matter how different we perceive the enjoyment of human rights, and no matter how some states will be abusing this noble cause, our collective vision towards betterment of human dignity, human betterment and human development will prevail and remain the main drive for our future.

Mr. President,
Having made the above general comments let me now turn to some facts in relation to my own country. As many of you might recall, Eritrea had presented its UPR Second Cycle National Report few weeks ago. The report highlights some of our achievements, challenges, constraints and best practices that reflect the prevailing circumstance. This is in addition to what has been reported in the first cycle in 2009.

The UPR gives every state the opportunity to use the forum to see how it is performing in discharging its obligations towards its people. As such the UPR is one of the most effective mechanisms in raising human rights standards. One fails to see, therefore, the reason of singling out states outside the most effective mechanism of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Mr. President,
In its 20th, 21st and 23rd sessions, the Human Rights Council had, regrettably, adopted resolutions condemning Eritrea for human rights violations before any verification took place. And then a special rapportuer was mandated to verify the situation. This is paradoxical, procedurally unacceptable and the whole context in depth and scope in the resolutions are unfounded and misleading.

Mr. President,
The Modus operandi of the Council on the responsibility of sponsors and cosponsors of a resolution and how some NGOs that account to none are allowed to act in a controlling way, raises concerns. In our case for example, the cosponsors of the Resolutions were Representatives who do not know the reality or know very little if any. Two of the three cosponsors of the Resolutions lack representation in Eritrea and the third one is openly hostile to Eritrea.

Surprisingly, the council failed to ask itself how come the situation justify for such measures and what possible remedy could such resolutions bring to the well-being of the people of Eritrea. To make things worse, the cosponsors used insulting and abusive words against the national law of Eritrea. To mention a few, they coined terms to supposedly fit grave crimes. Such practice should be called to order and the Council ought to be more vigilant against politically motivated resolutions.

At this juncture, it is important to recognize that Eritrea’s unequivocal call to the Human Rights Council to terminate and rescind the country-specific resolutions and the country mandate holder on Eritrea and instead focus on strengthening engagement, dialogue and institutional linkage within the UPR framework as both timely and legitimate.

Let me conclude by reaffirming Eritrea’s commitment to the full enjoyment of all genuine human rights.

I thank you Mr. President


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