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Commission of Inquiry On Eritrea: Press Conference

On June 24, the UN mandated Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea (CoIE) held a press conference. In his introductory statement, the chairman of the CoIE, Mike Smith, refuted claims by the Government of Eritrea that the commission is politically motivated and has sinister goals. He said, “…we have nothing but admiration for the country of Eritrea…we have a great deal of respect for the Eritrean people…we simply believe they do not deserve the system they found themselves with.

In response to a question dealing with the duration of the mandate, Mr. Smith said that the CoIE’s mandate is virtually over; that the next steps are to be taken up by the Human Rights Council (HRC) and the UN General Assembly. The CoIE will report its findings to the General Assembly in October.

A reporter, quoting statements from spokesperson for  a “big rally estimated as 6,000 by its organizers”[the government organized demonstration held in Geneva a day earlier], asked how seriously does the CoIE take the rally, and claims that the CoIE relied on the exaggerated claims of asylum-seekers, some made by Ethiopians posing as Eritreans. And, isn’t the CoIE presenting the Government of Eritrea with two choices: opening up and implementation the CoIE recommendations or going down the path of the ICC [International Criminal Court]?

Mr. Smith began by answering the last question that, yes, the CoIE is the choice for Eritrea to either go down the path of opening up or heading to the ICC.  Mr Smith refuted the argument that the Commission’s report is based on exaggerated statements from individuals who have a vested interest in doing so to get their asylum status approved by stating that “many of the people we spoke to are secure in the place where they live now: their status is confirmed, they are working…and yet, their stories, about what happened to them, very much reflect those who are recently leaving, have more recently left from Eritrea and are in more vulnerable position.”   He went on to say, “We don’t believe we were duped…there was too much consistency in the way in which people were able to talk about their experiences…every story is different, every story is personal but the elements in the way in which they are treated, the way the system deals with them are sufficiently common that we are absolutely convinced that we described is accurate.”

With respect to the rally in Geneva, Mr. Smith was asked if they were called upon by the government or if it the rally was an expression of genuine feeling.

Acknowledging that the Eritrean Diaspora is deeply divided, Mr Smith responded that the Commission had found that people they spoke to had felt very intimidated in coming and talking with them because they felt that the system had reach into the countries they had sought asylum in and therefore “the government is able to influence the community quite a lot” through its youth organizations and the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW.)”

In response to a question about whether the Government of Eritrea, which did not grant access to the Commission, had responded, Mr Smith stated that the Eritrean government had made statements, that there had been tweets from senior government officials as well as pro-government websites trying to discredit the report.  But, he added, “In almost all cases, it is a matter of discrediting or seeking to discredit our methodology, seeking to discredit our motives, and in almost no case that I can think of do they actually come up with contrary evidence.”

“And by that I mean officials who have overstepped the mark, who have abused people, who have tortured people to death or who have sexually abused young trainees…just examples of people who have been brought before the court and punished for that.  We haven’t had a single example of that.or examples of people who have said, ‘they were charged with something; they were told what the charge was; they were brought before a court; they were given a lawyer to represent their interest; and at the end they were told their sentence. Almost never.  None of the people that we met…”

Asked about CoI’s bombshell statement that the crimes committed by the government of Eritrea may rise to the level of crimes against humanity and what the CoI will do about it, Mr. Smith referred to the recommendations that the Commission made in its report.

In response to a question on whether President Isaias Afwerki is personally culpable, Mr. Smith said it was hard for his Commission to state conclusively because, based on the 500 interviews conducted, it was hard to determine who was authorizing the arbitrary arrests as the arresting officers had no warrant and sometimes no uniforms.  Ms. Sheila Katheruth, a member of the Commission, who is also the Special Rapporteur to Eritrea, said that in the case of the “G-15”, government officials and parliamentarians who had been made to disappear since September 18, 2011, given their seniority, the order could only have come up from the highest power in Eritrea.

In response to a question equating the Government of Eritrea with the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and whether there is “some sort of case to have a government in exile, or some sort of external… body which is trying to say how Eritrea should be run ..” Mr. Smith replied that his Commission’s mandate is different from the one given to the CoI on DPRK.  Regarding the question of whether there is a need for a government in exile given the large number of exiles and the likely response of the Government, Mr. Smith said the CoIE is “not going to step into that particular area, we make not comment on the political system… or the political future of the country, we are simply pointing out the range of abuses that are occurring as a result of the system that operates… advocating that the government should make the necessary changes so this doesn’t happen anymore…”

Asked to describe the magnitude of the problem and the size of Eritrean exiles, Mr. Smith referenced a report by UNHCR which showed that the size had doubled in 2014, compared to 2013.  Mr. Smith was unable to answer a question as to how many of those who had sought asylum had their applications approved by host countries.

A reporter who was trying to reconcile the government of Eritrea’s shoot-to-kill policy on individuals trying to escape the country with the accusation that the government also facilitates human smuggling, asked if CoIE has uncovered evidence that the Government of Eritrea is complicit in human smuggling.  The CoIE appeared uncertain and deferred to its recommendations where it had said this is something that has to be investigated as it didn’t feel it had the mandate to do it.

The following is the 25-minute video of the conference:

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  • sara

    Dear Araya
    it is saddening to see working against own country became a normal business activities, that bods bad to future of eritrea and many developing countries. i can’t understand a person who claims to assist refugees claimants settle in the UK also extends his services to such a political organization.
    the certificate am sure will be submitted to those who fund such entities in the next budget year, amazing!

  • Sarah Ogbay

    If you look ta the name of the organisation Belay works in, that is Manchester Refugees Support Network (refugees from any country) it says nothing but good about Belay. You should be proud that an eritrean is working to help refugees. It does not indicate that Belay or the Charity organisation is a sell-out. I can understand your frustration at the moment but you need to be careful to avoid discrediting yourself or your bosses who are crying foul.
    Come on Araya, it just says thank you for providing rooms for the work to be done. It is a refugee support centre, where did you think they could find the refugees? in the streets. You should come here and see support Belay and people like him provide the refugees in need.

  • haileTG

    ሰላም ዑቕባይ፡

    ሎሚ ሽግር ኤርትራ ክለዓል ከሎ፡ ናይ ወጻኢ (ብፍላይ ኢትዮጵያ/ኣሜሪካ/ዓለም ብዓለማ) እናበለ ዝህውትት ዘሎ እቲ ስርዓትን፡ ውሑዳት የዋሃትን ጥራይ እዮም። ብሰንኪ ንቑጽ ይነድድ ርሑስ ከይኮነና ምጥንቃቕ ከድሊ’ዩ። እቲ ስርዓት ንሃልኪ ዘውፍሮ ማል ጸንቂቁ፡ ኣብ ዝተሓተ ደረጃ ህላወ ወዲቑ፡ መጹኒ መጹኒ፡ ክብል ጥራይ እዩ ዓቕሙ። ቁሩብ እስኪ ኣቕርብ ኣቢልና ንምዘኖ። ስርዓት ህግደፍ ኣብ ከመይ ዝኣመሰለ ካልእ ኣርእስቲ ክኣቱ ይኽእል? ንዑ ገላዩ ኮንኩም ዲጋ ኮዓቱ ድዩ ክብል? ወይስ ብቕዋምን ስርዓተ ሕግን ንራታዕ ኢሉ’ዩ ክብድህ? ዶ’ስ ኣብ ፍትሕን ሕግን ዝምርኮስ ነጥብታት ከልዕል ንጽበዮ? እዚ’ኮ ርኡይ ጉዳይ እዩ። ናይ ደገ ተጻብኦ፡ እናጠጀአን እናሃውተተን፡ መጹኻ ጠፋእካ፡ እንተዘይበለ፡ ብኸመይ መንገዲ ነቲ ህዝቢ መሃነኑ ኣጥፊኡ ከጽንቶ ይኽእል? እቲ ናይ ደገ ተጻብኦ ህውታቲኡ ድማ ኣብኡ ዝተሓጽረ ከይከውን፡ ብኣዝዩ ጽዩፍ ቃላትን፡ ፉንፉንን፡ ሰብኣዊነት-ኣልቦ ጎስጓሳት ኣብ ልዕሊ ክብሪ ደቂ-ሰባትን፡ ብዝተላዕጠጠ ዉዱቕ ስነ-ሞጎት ዝተኻህነ ኣገባብ ገይሩ እዩ ዘሳውሮ። ህዝቢ ኤርትራ እዚ ኣይጠፍኦን እዩ። ማይክሮፎን ስለዝሓዘ ጥራይ’ዩ እዝኒ ረኺቡ እምበር፡ እቲ ስርዓት ከም ምዉት ዝተቐብጸ እዩ ብግዳማዊ ሓይልታት። ሎሚ ገጢምዎ ዘሎ ዓቢ ዉርደት ንምሽፋን ድማ፡ ኢትዮጵያ’ዶ ወያነ’ዶ ኢሉ ክግዕር ንቡር እዩ። እዚ ዘጉለሖ ሓቂ እንተሎ፡ ናይቲ ስርዓትን፡ ዕሱባቱን ዉሒጅ ህውታትያ፡ ጸርጊ መንገዲ ዕርበቶም እምበር መልህቕ ሃገራዊ ኤርትራዊ ስነ-ሓሳብ ኣብ ጉዳይ ዞባዊን ዓለማውን ዝምድናታት ናይ መጻኢት ዴሞክራሲያዊት ኤርትራ ከምዘይኮነ እዩ።

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear haile and Oqbay,

      ኣብ ‘ዚ ነዊሕ ናይ ተጋድሎ ዘመንና እቶም ድሑራት ዝመዝመዝዎም ክልተ ዓበይቲ ዕንቅፋታት :- ኣብ ልዕሊ ምዑታትን ውፉያትን ተጋደልቲ ዝንዛሕ ዝነበረ ጸለማን ኣብ ጉዳይ ናይ ወጻኢ ኢድ ምትእትታው ዝግበር ዝነበረ መሰረት ዘይብሉ ነፍሕታትን እዮም :: ክልቲኦም ኣምራት ብጥዑይ ኣገባብ ብጥንቃቀ ሃቅነቶም ተረጋጊጹ ክትሓዙ ክንዲ ዝግበኦም ከም ኤስያስ ዝኣመሰሉ ንባዕሎም ዝነበሮም ተመሳሳሊ ገበናት ብምሽፋን ነቲ ወዲ ገርሂ ልባ ንዝለዎ ሃገራዊ ስምዒት ከምኡ ንዝለዎ ጸቢብ ኣርኣእያታት መዝሚዞም ኣፋሊሶሞ እዮም ::

      ተጋዳልይ ኮይንካ ጸረ ሰብ ብሰብ ምዝመዛ ብትሪ ከምትቃዎም ርጉጽ እዩ : ሽዑ እከለ መስፍናዊ እዩ እከሊት ቡርዥያዊ ባህርያት ኣለዎ ብምባል ብተደጋጋሚ ጸለመ ብምውፋር ብዙሓት ተጋደልቲ ካብ ቃልሲ ክምዝውገዱ ተገይሩ እዩ : እቲ ብጸለመ ኣይንብርከኽን ዝበለ
      ኸኣ ንመቅተልቲ ተዳሪጉ እዩ::

      ልዕሊ ኹሉ ምስ በዓስ ፓርቲ ዝምድና ኣለዎም -ምስ ክርስትያናዊ ማሕበር ግሪክ ዶ እጣልያ ዶ ምስ ኣኳነል እስላሚያ – ወዘት ናይ ወጻኢ ሓይሊ ኢድ ኣብ ውሽጥና ከይኣቱ እናተባህለ ዝተፈጸመ ገበናት ብዙሕ እዩ :: እዛ ናይ ሎሚ ጉጅለ ህግደፍ ከም ናይ መጨረሻ ረሳሕ ክፍል ሰውራና ነዚ ኣካይዳ እያ ከተታቲ ጸኒሓ ::ክንደይ ቀሳውስትን መሻይኻትን ዘይኣሰረትን ቀንጸለትን – ክንደይ ሰብ ቅኑዕ ለውጢ ዘይጽነተት ::

      እቲ ሓቂ ግን ነዚ ተመዝማዚ ጉዳይ ሕግን ስርዓትን ዘይብሉ ዕዋላ መሪሕነት ካብ ዘለዎ ፍርሓተ- ለውጢ ዝብገስ ግብ ዝበለ ርኡይ ምግቡዕቧዕ ድኣ እምበር ኣብ ጭቡጥ ሓበሬታ ዝተመስረተ ክስታት ኣይኮነን : – እንተዝኸውን ብሕግን ርኡይ ህዝቢ ዝተኻፈሎ ፍርዲ ምተዋህበ ::

      ኣብ ደለይቲ ፍትሒ ጠርጠራን ዘይምትእማምን ንኽፍጠር ክውንጨፍ ዝጸነሐ ተላባዒ ጸለመ ‘ውን ንሱ እዩ: ” እዚኦም መጋበርያ ጸላኢ እዮም” እናበልካ ሓፋሽ ምድንጋር :: ብርግጽ ነብስ ወከፍና እንተንዕዘብ ሎሚ ብዙሓት ናይ ዓለም ፖለቲካ ማሕበራት ኣብ ጉዳይና ክኣትው ይደልዩ እዮም : እቲ ጽቡቅ ካብ ኤርትራውያን ነዚ ሽጣራ ዝመለኦ ረሳሕ ፖሎቲካዊ ዝጻወት ክእለት ጥራይ ዘይኮነስ ድልየት ‘ውን የለን ::እንተዝህሉ ኣራእስ ህግደፍ ቀደም ተቀንጢበን ምሃለዋ :: የግዳስ እቲ ልዕሊ ኽሉ ንህዝቢ ኤርትራ በዚ እናፈራራሕካ ጅሆ ጌሩ ሒዝዎ ዘሎ ባዕሉ እቲ ሓላፍነት ኣልቦን ድሑርን ጉጅለ ህግደፍ እዩ ::

      ብዝኾነ ናይ ወጻኢ ሓይልታት ከይጻወቱልና ካብ ዝብል ሓልዮት ዝውሰድ ጥናቃቀ ቅቡልን ንቡርን እዩ :: ነዚ ብዝምልከት ኣብ ነብሰ ወከፍ ስርዒትን ጽላል ውድብን ክህሉ ዘለዎ መካኒዚም (ኣልያ ፡ መካኒካዊ ኣሰራርሓ) ሓዳ ኣዊ ወይ ሓበራዊ ብዝኾነ ኣገባብ ምፍጣር ይከኣል እዩ :: እንተዘይኮነ ብኽንደይ ድኻምን ጻዕርን ዝተኻዕበተ ዓወታት ብሰንኪ ሶሊኾም ዝኣተው ዋህዮታት ህግደፍ ዘይተደላይ ጠርጠራን ዘይምእትማንን ፍሕ ከይብል ናይ ምሕላው ሓያል ዋርድያ ከድልየና እዩ::

  • Tewelde G/mariam

    I totally agree that isaias and woyane are the enemies against Eritrea and its people. And we have documents to show that these two elements have been secretly coordinating their subversive activities from underground. Some of us had wrongly believed that their alliance turned sour after they pushed ELF to disintegration and that the 1998 war was the climax of their divorce. No , we had it wrong; we mistook the their deceptive appearance for the truth. The flocking of some Eritreans to Ethiopia falsely convinced that woyane could help them in their struggle against isaias afewerki is in retrospect the height of Eritrean folly that we must rectify very quickly before our situation reaches a point of no return.

  • AMAN

    there can not be Ethiopian sovereignity without Eritreans
    being sovereign first. your order is misplaced.

  • selam

    Dear Erty
    I guess you are having fun , and feel your comments real value. Well here hailesilasie man , go troll every where. Eritrea is an independent country and you as well as your sea hungry people can go to the Pacific Ocean and swim there.

  • Amanuel Hidrat


    Your boss Issayas and his colleagues could have done the same thing by allowing the commission to visit Eritrea with equal necessary of accommodation to do its mandate. What is the fuss in displaying this letter?This is a display of Morale Hippocratic crush of Araya right there?

  • AMAN

    Dear Awates
    My question or opinion is :
    Isn’t this façade concern and report too late to be
    considered by us Eritreans? We should not repeat
    the same mistake again by expecting from someone
    letting our own issues out of our hands and looking to
    someone. There is no such silly gamble in politics.
    The UN is lying and pretending as if it shows concern
    because all the US ploys and political blackmails of Eritrean
    people’s independence and freedom has gone astray and missed
    their intended goals. This is just a cover up and time buying scheme
    for the US administration who were not showing any concern of the
    Eritrean people and opposition political leadership cry for help.
    No One should be mislead by UN or US political ploys and machinations
    against Eritrea and the Eritrean people. Their primary purpose is always
    to get Ethiopia sea outlet and not the freedom of Eritrean or Ethiopian peoples.
    This what they have had been preoccupied with until they forget your existence
    and your issues all together while some corrupt politicians and their bureaucrats
    are reaping the fruits and making full use of the ongoing transformation and system
    to their own political and economic benefits and goals depriving the people of sharing
    anything with them and pushing them down to poverty, alienation, migration and hopelessness.
    victory to the people !

    • Tewelde G/mariam

      The political context in which our people are languishing is self evident and as such the shifta, Isaias Afewerki, is indefensibly guilty; any one who says otherwise must either be an accomplice or confused .

      Eritrea, thoughout its independence, its people have not known a life under constitution and rule of law. They have been living as subjects, not citizen, under Isaias limitless tyranny; a law unto himself, suprimo, omnipotent, omniscient, whose orders his subjects must carry out promptly no matter what.

      Isaias afewerki’s tyrannical behavior steadily grew within the EPLFs during the liberation war. But because he was concealing it

      • AMAN

        So whose fault is this ?
        Issayas’ fault or those fighters who enabled him ?
        If one man can play them all like toys…..what are we those
        not inside his org. supposed to do ?
        If you failed to lead us the people; you are equally responsible
        for the mistakes and faults.
        As I remember, the people was motivated and ready for all these
        20 yrs…..but it is the organizations and their leaders that failed them
        and let them down.
        We those patriots and democratic forces were fighting in the name and
        defense of the Nation and its peoples democratic aspirations; and you
        organizations and organization leaders were undermining it to please
        the Ethiopian woyane leaders or you were flowing in the canal they prepared
        it for you. You were so detached from your own people and comfortable in the
        embrace of the woyanes while killing you and Eritrea softly. This is the fact.
        Everone was just fighting for his clan and sub-region expecting the blessing of
        the woyane regime abandoning the state of Eritrea and its people until this year !
        All the sacrifice the people has done to defend the existance of their nation, its history,
        the struggle and sacrifice of its people has been trashed with the collaboration of the
        woyane and anti Eritrea elements of the past Ethiopian regimes in broad daylight by none
        other but Eritreans themselves who bought the safety and comfort of themselves under
        the woyane regime in Ethiopia. So who enabled who to be a dinosaur and to win?!

        • Tewelde G/mariam

          There is no doubt that current crisis was systematically brought about by none other Isaias Afewerki. Did Qiada Al Ama and the EPLFs played into his con artistry? You bet. Can their naivety be considered as much crime as that of Isaias? Only Isaias eulogist and his cult worshipper would reply in the affirmative.

          The world community, including the Western countries, did accept Eritrean Sovereignty in 1993 and ever since, Eritrea has been a UN member. Obviously, Eritrea sought UN membership for the rights and privileges that comes along with that. Unfortunatly, the membership also demands accepting the norm and meeting obligations. You cannot cherry pick. It is all or none law.

          Among the pillars of the UN are: safeguarding Peace and security between its member countries and promotion and preservation of human rights within individual countries. The countries, for example,are required by law to seek the counsel of the UNSC on matters they are unable to solve bilaterally.

          Isaias Afewerki and his footsoldiers, like yourselves, have been presenting the UN, USA and other Western countries as enemies of Eritrian Sovereignty. Their evidences are: the UN denial to grant independence to Eritreans in the fifties, the failure of the UN to force woyane to abide by the Final and Binding decision of the EEBC.

          Now, who is Isaias Afewerki? I know you will reply , he is the president of Eritrea, dammy! But that does not answer the question. Who put him on the Presidency of Eritrea? That is the question the UN and the genuine Eritreans are asking. And the answer is: he is a tyrant who took power by denying the right of the people of Eritrea. His act is patently contrary to the obligations the UN pillars demand. The principle here is clear, if you do not meet the obligations, you cannot ask for privileges unless, of course, you are a baby.

          Did the 1998 launching of war on Ethiopia by the tyrant, Isaias Afewerki, meet the demand of the UN? No. In fact, the border instigations by woyane could have been niped in the bud had the UNSC been involved and the tragedy that Eritrean people needlessly suffered would not have happened. He purposely broke the international law to reap his evil dream against the country and people of Eritrea.

          Evasions, distractions, diversions, eumphemisms etc. are all weapons Isaias Afewerki use to hide his evil dream and deeds. Now all that is exposed by the world community in the general and Eritreans in particular. A despicable nature that he is, he neither takes parts in the UN General Assembling nor in Africa heads of states meeting. He is living in isolation waiting to breath his last.

          • Bayan Nagash

            Well said brother. Keep educating us and your astute analysis is spot on!

      • Tewelde G/mariam

        Sorry, I will continue my response to AMAN……,…….
        But because Isaias was concealing his monster dream for absolute control of the organization by pretense of high patriotism and dedication to the cause and by projection of mastery to the theory and practice of the revolution, the rank and file as well as senior tegadelti did not see coming. They were simply dazzled and the only thing they had for him was trust and love, to the point of worship.

        But again, we must remember even Qiada Al Ama was conned by Isaias Afewerki. I am not exactly sure how he deceived into not only trusting him but also into granting him scholarship to Communist China. As unscrupulous liar as he is, I cannot be surprised if he had fed them with false informations about the University students who were joining the organization. The fact that many of them had to flee and surrender to Ethiopian security services may be related to his work. For whatever reason, history must record, that it was Qiada All Ama that made Isaias afewerki what he is today.

        On the eve of independence, treacherous Isaias handed Badme to woyane. The unwitting EPLFs saw that and protested but I do not think they had any inkling that he was planting Time Bomb to be exploded in 1998 to cause Eritrean-Ethiopian war as a means for him to seize complete control of Eritrean political power so that by fraud and deception bring the country and people to annihilation

        The 1998 war was illegal and unnecessary. The woyane instigations could have been avoided through pursuit of International Law but for Isaias, the war was indispendable, the sole means to get to the top from where he would navigate the annihilation of the country and people. It is all Machiavelli, The End Justifies The Means.

        The two woyane military offensives got nowhere. Isaias must have felt that his opportunity of life time was slipping. That was why he seized full control of the military war command under the slogan, miraculous victory, just before the third woyane offensive. And we know that it was at that time that woyane got the break; its military penetrated deep into Eritrea and launched a surprised attack on EDFs from behind. The rest is history.

        Getting what he wanted, Isaias calls the then president of the USA and to inform him of his acceptance of the Peace arbitration. As the peace process got underway, Isaias undertakes to destroy the political infrastructure of the country as he destroyed the Eritrean defense forces.

        From early 2000, Isaias Afewerki has been the Law Giver, the Judge, Jury, the Executioner, the Social Media, the Military Commander, the Minister of all stripes, the Treasurer , security_ police etc. In all of these capacities, he has been also busy picking quarrels with all leaders and institutions of the world.

        Many people may think that it is his personal trait to quarrel with people but they are wrong. He has evil motive to do that. That motive is to get Eritrea isolated from the world community on his account. Remember, if Eritrea is hated and isolated, it is to his advantage because then he can inflict his annihilation and got away with it.

        He may transport his demonstrators in their tens of thousands from all over the Western countries to wave flags and his pictures by paying their daily expenses with the money he stole from poor people of Eritrea, but as I said at the beginning, the context he has created on the ground is self evident and indefensible.

    • Erty

      For Eritrea lasting peace giving Ethiopia sea outlet for exchange of Badme is a good idea. During the struggle there was some kind of agreement between EPLF and TPLF in this regard. After Eritrea independence, Isayas
      gambled to take Badme by force when that failed he used the international court to get it. He succeeded. Now Ethiopian politicians are in a hard and rock place, they have no answer. To cool down Ethiopians the ruling party claims that the economy is thriving without Ethiopia having sea outlet their conclusion is Ethiopia does not need sea outlet. But if go to door to door and ask most Ethiopians they don’t accept the current Ethiopia’s status of no sea outlet for Ethiopia. When the majority of Ethiopians are in control of Ethiopian politic these issues will become from and center of Ethiopia and Eritrea relationship. During Eritrea independence, TPLF letting Assab go without negotiation surprised a lot of Eritrean leaders at that time. For 90 million people without sea outlet is not going to be sustainable.

      • Saleh Johar

        I second you. But first let’s bring a forgotten prince from somewhere and make him Neguse Negest and emperor of Ethiopia. Then the Eritrean-Ethiopian entity can embark on the task of expanding the Ethiopian empire and conquer all our neighbors. God! What an idea.

        • dawit

          Me too! I suggest Isaias ” Neguse Negest and emperor of Ethiopia” then we don’t worry about Bademe or Assab exchange.

      • Binieam

        Hi Erty
        I think security overrides any other consideration when it comes to making lasting peace with Eritrea and development, economic growth that creates jobs will be a main concern for the Ethiopian government and its people. Meles in his interview with an Eritrean journalist stated how Djibouti’s ports and even Eritreans were not enough to serve a fast growing nation of 90 million people and that Ethiopia had to make use of other ports in Kenya, Sudan, Somaliland (and maybe even Somalia in the future) to meet that demand. He did mention how ever the convenience of the port of Massawa (and another new sea port forgot name) for the northern parts of the country,Tigray and for the mining in the Afar region.The relevance of Assab is overexaggerated.

        • Erty

          Security problem coming from any of neighboring states of Ethiopia is going to be small as long as Ethiopia continuous democratization, build its economy, and keep its military and security apparatus on top notch. The relevance of Assab territory for Ethiopia has never been exaggerated but undermined by some TPLF elites. The assab territory issue in most Ethiopian mind is not exaggerated or undermined but it is an issue that has never been resolved properly.It is a time bomb waiting to explode to define future Ethiopia and Eritrea generation relationship. It is a time bomb waiting to explode because Ethiopians have never been heard of their voice in the issues but told to be silence and accept the comrades deal.

      • selam

        Daer Erty
        I can definitely see where you are going , i think it is fair to say we Eritreans also wish to have all saudi oil and democratic state too. Go ask any Eritrean he will say yes to saudi oil plus a democratic state. It is not bad wish but not real. Dreaming again dreaming then wake up with land locked state and a defeat in the court, your point about WEYANE regime is valid.

      • belay

        Dear erty,
        you said “During Eritrea independence, TPLF letting Assab go without negotiation surprised a lot of Eritrean leaders at that time. For 90 million people without sea outlet is not going to be sustainable”

        Erty , Eritrean leaders will tell you all sort of bull s……t to make you more miserable than you really are.They still do through their supporters propaganda machines,may be,you know one already as it goes.

        All the 30 years war against ELF AND EPLF by the Ethiopia gvts, was merely for the sea out let,and Eritreans new that.
        When Eritrea was handed to Italy,by Menillik, Assab port was part of the deal too.So how on earth would it be possible,to negotiate and get Assab from EPLF? That should have been done between Menillik and Italy,or Janhoy and the British.
        you can not give independence,by taking part of it for your self.come on Erty,wake up.
        Either you stand against Eritrea independence or not.
        With respect.

  • Guest

    “Acknowledging that the Eritrean Diaspora is deeply divided, Mr Smith responded that the Commission”.

    No, Eritreans are not divided at all. These Shabias (they can be seen as spies BTW) does not represent a very large percentage of Eritrean Diasporas at all. All Eritreans knows this. Even if they’re 6,000 as article stated then compared it to the million Diasporas? Also, I don’t believe the number as the pictures proved nothing, they’re much smaller than that, most likely around 100.

    It amazed me how desperate the Shabias are trying to spread propaganda and lies in order to hide all sort of awareness and global condemnation to defend the tyrannical PFDJ regime despite being blind on Eritrea in the past 20 years. Talk about condemnation, they would do anyhing to defend the tyrannical regime, it says it all about them.

    The problem is Eritrea doesn’t have any political/military opposition, they’re not “active”. This is the only solution as it would be a game changer and to curb their influence. The Diasporas are out of touch and won’t change anything, neither the UN will.

  • Nitricc

    It funny sad to note that when the same UN expresses good deeds out of Eritrea; you people deny and degrade it to rubbish the good news; yet, when the same UN comes with absolute garbage; you are all over it. People; have some decency; you can’t have it both ways. Now; you have read the report and you have observed the demonstrations against the findings. For me, I never believed the report to begin with and for a good reason. I don’t trust the UN and I don’t trust the refugee. Refuges will do and say anything to gain the attention of the white people. Let me give you some analogy; say you have a sample to test and you want to know what the real content of the sample is. In order to do so; you need a sample and an instrument that will run your sample. First and for most your instrument has to pass fitness test; that is the calibration curve. If your calibration curve is out of whack; none of your samples matter; it is all garbage and you will throw your sample out; the end of the story; In this case; the samples are the refugees and their testimonies’ and the testing instrument is the UN. If you think the UN is fit, partial and balance; then I will tell you to your face that you are stupid! For this reason; I don’t believe a word what the corrupted and toothless UN has to say; they are out to get Eritrea!
    Let me ask you this; please remove your PFDJ bushing for a minute and be partial and balance. If you were among the members who or reading and scrutinize the report; how do you reconcile the report you are reading and the demonstration of the people in the ground against the report?

    • Fenomeno

      Dear Nitricc,

      I am not naive to think that humanitarian concerns are the primary motives for countries to support the report on Eritrea. And the modern history of Eritrea gives us enough reason to be critical of any step taken by the UN with regards to Eritrea.

      However, the arguments that you bring forward are weak. First of all, a it seems that a large share of the interviewees already have European citizenship or would be getting it anyway. Engagement in the process was voluntarily and had no connection to any asylum application process. Next to that, the issues pointed out in the report hould not be groundbreaking for us, Eritreans that have relatives inside Eritrea now everything about it. Also for me personally, possible methodological shortcomings could not be any reason to reject the report, as I know from my own experience that there are many Eritreans that have gone through such horrors as described in the report. I wish you hold these same methodological standards when IA dismissed our constitution without publishing any report! Or in regards to published evidence against those who have been arrested.

      Probably many people that demonstrated against the report know about the arbitary arrests, indefinte national service, no freedom of expression and other issues mentioned in the report. However, they may believe that such mechanisms serve some higher purpose or they simply do not want criticize the regime because they have built a house in Asmara, and they believe that doing that might have negative consequences for them. Other practical reasons for not openly rejecting the report ,such as, not wanting to run in any trouble when visiting your mother in Eritrea or still travelling with an Eritrean passport (those who are in the Middle East) do not favor the GOE, but are actually confirming the findings of the report.

      Even PFDJ supporters that believe that there is no room for any other political party than PFDJ in Eritrea should be supporting the report, as it might put some pressure on IA to start reforming the GOE, even though I myself find this highly unlikely to happen. No one wants to go to the UN to discuss our internal problems, something that should be done in Asmara, however, people are left without any other choice.

      • Nitricc

        Hi Fenomeno:
        I think your understanding of my point a bit skewed. I am not denying there are problems and the large part of the problem is the Eritrean government it self. As Vincent Asenege put it eloquently; paraphrasing it; it is understood what the west is trying to do to Eritrea; it is understood what the UN is trying to do to Eritrea and it is understood what the US is trying to do to Eritrea but at the end; Eritrea have to adjust; change; adapt and do something. The Eritrean government did nothing; why should they? The exodus of the Eritrean youth benefits the government; it relives two extremely volatile pressure points for the survival of the government. It is not secret the youth is a main engine for a change in any society and when the youth is leaving at the rate the Eritreans are leaving; it is impossible to expect any kind of change from the inside. I.e. the government is not reactive or pressured to do anything. The second pressuring point to the government is economics. Every Eritrean who is out is sending money to their parents and loved once inside the country and this flow of money is tremendous advantage and pressure reliever to the Eritrean governments. I understand the thinking of the Activists; the oppositions and the west in general; the idea was if we strip the youth from the hand of the government; the government will weaken economically and psychologically; ultimately to collapse; that idea is much flowed and a mistake. If all the youth who left the country in the last 3 years stayed in the country; the energy of those thousands of youths could have ignited a pressure the government wouldn’t stand. And change could have achieved long time ago.
        Point; there was a reason why the government stays silent when Eritreans drown instead of making a teaching point in discouraging people to stay home.

        • Amanuel

          Hi Nitricc sorry you were responding to Fenomeno but I can’t resist to add a third benefit for the regime that is the funds it’s gangs will collect from trafficking the youth. BTW did you realise that you are agreeing with the report assertion that “the government action are systemic and deliberate.”

        • sara

          Dear Nitricc
          i read above of eritreans in middle east etc, in middle east there is no asylum otherwise i will do the same inorder to get those benefits that entails asylum in the west, you know of course the details.
          if the saudis and emiratis could offer asylum and later their nationality/passport… wow
          we will write/tell everything ugly under the sky about eritrea and isias, gehrahtu etc

        • Fenomeno

          Dear Nitricc,

          I could not agree more if you would have said that the exodus on the short term has benefited IA. It has definitely not benefited the Government of Eritrea, as some of it brightest minds have left the country. I am saying on the short term, as you do not know what this youth will do in the long term, do not underestimate them.

          However, you were implying that Eritreans should reject the report, partly because of the demonstration on Monday and because of some methodological concerns that you have. That for me does not make any sense. If I myself have enough information to know that the GOE has been engaged in many wrongdoings, that are not only unjust, but also weakening the nation. Then I will not reject a report that states these problems, because of the fact that some 1000s, mainly Europeans, gathered to hold a demonstration. Do not forgot that these people are partly the economic and social benefitors of the status quo (maybe without really realising it), as they (i.e. we) are the ones that are exempted from serving the country, but are able to enjoy the fruits (identity, cheap country, leaving whenever they want, building houses). Not really a classless society as some say.

    • selam

      Dear nitricc
      No body believe UN is a balance and fair , it never was and never will but what shall we do with no opposition who can stand on the side of the Eritrean people while they suffer from crazy leader action. Lets hope these some crooks will not sale our people’s aspirations and put more damege than DIA. Lets hope Eritrean problems get solved by Eritreans not by UN , weyane paid crooks. If such libyan style is on the way , you will see all these PFDJ and fake opposition activists take their cheque and sit in AMERICA AND EUROPE. I am 100% sure all people in awate.com forumers are not going to go to Eritrea and fight for what they believe. They talk , talk just for publicity stunt or as most Ethiopians in this site tend to tell the old play book of mamma Ethiopia.so nitricc lets just say this is the time to come to reality.

      • Nitricc

        Hi Selam; well the Eritrean government usually uses time kill sown hot moments. But this time around; they have to do something and they will; because they have no time to kill. I have said it before and let me say it now; there is one change that is coming and that is from the president of Eritrea. No opposition; no UN, no US and no EU; no revenge seekers; are capable of bring change. When PIA says time to change; change will come.

        • Haqi

          Isn’t it sad when one single person made of bone and flesh to decide the faith of millions? You should be angry and outrage instead of defending him

        • haileTG

          Selamat Nitricc,

          The president is notoriously known for failing to deliver virtually on 100% of anything that was hoped from him. And let’s make it clear the true heroes of independence are behind bars, he is just a cheap lair. Given that he is a well known impotent on delivering anything worthwhile, what is the chances he will deliver face saving to his supporters who are expecting the impossible from a tired old septuagenarian? IA and his supporters will be overwhelmed and overpowered. That will conclude this chapter of our history for good or worse. Let’s hope it would be for a better.

        • Fenomeno

          Hi Nitricc

          I also gave a reply on your other comment, but still I can not completly comprehend what you are trying to say.

          So, you are in favor of (big) change?
          You believe that PIA is the only one able to change the country.

          Due to the report IA will be forced to do something* (rapidly).

          But you are rejecting the report? This does not make sense for me.

          *I assume this something is some kind of positive change.

    • Amanuel

      Hi Nitricc most people were mislead that they were told they are travelling against sanction not the report.

      • selam

        Dear Emma
        It is really very hard to do anything with such kind of attitudes. They can never ever carry DIA photo to say no to sanctions . It is halv of the process if you identify and know your enemies . You are still in denial of the fact that PFDJ has very active supporters from all age groups of Eritreans. Act like some one who is ready to walk the talk , stop the mindset of denial. PFDJ supporters are real and we need to threat them as real opponents. It is really hard to work with people that deny your existence , and you are not different from PFDJ mindset that the other doesn’t exist. It is diservice to our people.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Hi Selam,

          I hope you don’t have confusion between “Amanuel Hidrat” and “Amanuel” two different commentors in this forum. I wish Amanuel to add his last name for purposes of clear identification one from the other.

          Amanuel Hidrat

          • Amanuel

            Hi moksi I think there is no confusion. It is clear that yours has Hidrat. The problem is that the urge to reply gets the better of people like Selam.

          • selam

            Dear Amanuel Hidrat
            come on i am not confused , you are another Amanuel , i know that on this comment but you are right one time i was thinking that both names belong to one person any way , i am glad you are not .Because this amanuel seems to lose every thing on his trip.

        • Amanuel

          Hi Selam first please don’t use Emma if you are crosponding with me. If you must know it’s girls name on my side of the Atlantic. Back to the issue at hand. You are getting a head of your self. I am not denying the existence of supporters of the regime. I am answering the last question Nitricc asked. It is true most of the people went to Geneva hasn’t read the report but they were tricked that they are demonstrating against the sanction. My self and members of my family received several calls telling us to go to Geneva and demonstrate against the sanction. The compain was lets go and oppose the sanction. I am not asking you to work with me. You are a closet PFDJst and cant fool any one.

  • Semere Andom

    Hi All:
    The tortoise, the UN has finally almost arrived at its destination. The UN is slow and its sluggish steps have cost humanity a great deal, but when it arrives it beats the hare.
    This report, this conference, the answers of Mr. Smith and yesterday’s discussions hav proved that the UN has finally heard the wailing from the prison, has finally felt the lamentation from the old, the child and women in the dungeons of Ela-Ero and the many underground prions that outnumber the institutions of higher learning in Eritea. The inter.national community has at last felt the excruciating pain we all feel when a fellow human is suffering

    Mr.Smith’s slapping of the Mr.Gerahtu, his unequivocally answers; his clarity on the choices that the regime has, his unvarnished confidence in the people who shared their experience of torture; calling them, many of them were secure in their host counties proves that the international community, after all the bickering and balancing their national interests even with the coating of diplomatic refining, the message was clear.

    Mr. Smith also slummed the PFDJ for their habitual unstately manner, their sort of 03 modus operandi, unbecoming of a government even when dealing with the interntion community.
    No people succeed alone in any struggle, the people who are affected do the vision, the heavy lifting and friends will chip in at the beginning, just like angel investors, once the heavy lifting continues, the success attracks more friends, as the wailing goes louder, many their innate humanity will compele them to act and the field slowly with toroise steps tills toward the victim. this was the case during the armed struggle and now it seems that 24 years after we got the systems that we do not desrve, the international community has been bothered by its conscoious enough that it took the bold step to come up, in effect to certify what Eritreans have been telling it fore 24 years now. It is like the 1993 refurndum, a process which made our independene official, certified by our roommates in this plant.
    this historic report will go down as a positive not for the UN, a bad stain in our history and a stubborn stain to agument and magnif the innumberabley indilable stains that the EPLF and PFDJ have accumulated over the once prestine Eritrean “garment”

    But the “promiscuous” PFDJ supporters, those who in private intimately know the damage the regime is doing to our nation, but in public defend it by repeating its lies and showing their faces, not only to earn the useless description of “hagerawi” but to save their investments and to secure that they have sold their souls, the future of their kids to the Babilion that the PFDJ nation is.

  • Mizaan1

    It is so agonizing to hear Gerhatu on a reading marathon. Why didn’t they have that woman read this (I forget her name, the American woman…).

    Here is what the president of the council said after Gherhatu’s travesty of a comment (travesty to use his words):

    “I would like to ask the distinguished delegate from Eritrea to use language in the future that is adequate for this council and preserves the integrity of our mechanisms. The commission is not ignorant and they don’t have a sinister political agenda and this is not a travesty of justice. I must reject this formulations.”

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Mizaan:
      It shame to be represented by these people. He sounded foolish when he said there are 1million Eritrean, this is stupid rebut because the so called million Eritreans most of them did not leave under PFDJ so it is useless to interview them and also it is useless to interview the PFDJ supporters
      The mandate was to find out from people who lived under PFDJ if they were subjected to human right violation and the number who left the country after living for some years under PFDJ is way way less than the million they are throwing.
      I think 700 testimonials is representative enough and someone close to the report told me they the CoI was overwhelmed by the response, they were expecting 200 and that would have been representative.
      The inadequate and unfit language the messenger of PFDJ used is the implement of PFDJ, it is actually celebrated to use vulgar and antisocial language, so no surprise there.
      Let me help you with the name of the woman, she is Selam:)

    • sara

      Dear Mr Mizaan 1
      i think truth hurts, that is why the president of the council has to say what he said. haven’t the same counsel
      used the same language about the distinguished wedi gerehtu and his colleagues , why it is haram to wedi gherahtu and halal to the president use same language.
      ato Mizaan, may be we could learn something from you, be kind to tell us what and how you would address or reply to the council in such a situation. you know we are here to learn something new every day, thanks to awate.

  • derbew

    Hi At

    I found the report very credible and the stand of the government of Eritrea incorrigible. The Eritrean delegations rebuttal was embarrassing and shameful.

    Albeit it is a response not written by the delegation or the ambassador who delivered it and I am sure despite delivering the burden he was given to carry inside he feels dead.

    The world spoke in the conference hall of the UN human rights council meeting in one voice that Eritreans have suffered in the hands of evil compatriots and suffered for too long most abhorrent and brutal systemic torture, detention, disappearances, sexual violence against girls and women, indefinite military service, shoot to kill at border crossing etc… that the length of the inhuman act perpetrated on Eritreans by the Isais regime is unbelievable.

    If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind that the stories that were told and retold by the individuals who suffered this inhumanity was systemic this report of the investigators and their calm and deliberate presentation, response to questions and clarity of their method and goal or purpose of the investigation and last but not least sadly brings reality home.

    From the scores of abuses and torture described by the investigators one would think Eritrea is being ruled by invaders who have no an iota of care for the people or country namely Eritrea for which they the rulers espouse to have fought for.

    It in deed is a gross and abhorrent systemic violation of the rights of Eritreans and an act agains humanity that farther investigation is needed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

    One of the most shameful acts of the collaborators of the brutal regime in diaspora was to threaten the duly appointed and well respected members of the UN investigation committee. This is a typical modes operandi of the government of Eritrea, a tactic that the regime uses to intimidate Eritreans in the diaspora day in day out. The Government of Eritrea often mobilizes its supporters in diaspora to intimidate Eritreans that oppose the system and inflicts physical and verbal abuse, threaten action on their relatives at home and silence them so they don’t express their views.

    Abuses and attacks like this on Eritreans in the diaspora should be reported to law enforcement where it happens, so the collaborators of the dictatorial regime that do those illegal activities and the dirty work of the internationally condemned regime can be brought to justice.