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The Day of Reckoning

It will have been a year on June 23rd since the UN-appointed Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea (COIE) presented its first report on the human rights situation in the country. The report documented personal testimonies from hundreds of victims and witnesses of a range of human rights violations committed by the Eritrean government “on a scope and scale seldom witnessed elsewhere.” Having unanimously endorsed the report, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) condemned the regime and extended the mandate of the COIE for another year requiring it expressly to: “investigate systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights in Eritrea with a view to ensuring full accountability, including where these violations may amount to crimes against humanity.”[1]

The COIE (eager to fulfill its mission) and the Eritrean regime (determined to display its defiant reaction to it) have been on a collision course ever since the commission took up its latest mandate. The momentums that the contending parties have been building in the process will inevitably clash in the weeks that straddle June 26, 2016 – the much awaited date when the COIE are scheduled to submit their second report to the UNHRC. That clash is expected to trigger a political firestorm between the protagonists and their respective supporters. It remains to be seen what to make of the pieces that will be picked up when the dust finally settles.

Contextual Brief

Both the establishment of the COIE and extension of its mandate represent an advanced stage of international efforts aimed at ending the brutality of the Eritrean government and seeking justice for its victims. This is a long-standing human rights crisis that is coming to a head, and a review of its genesis and evolution would be in order. But in the interest of brevity, only the key events of the process will be highlighted here.

Since 2001, mainstream media have been reporting on Eritrea’s disturbing pattern of unmitigated political repression and horrific human rights violations. Through its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism, the UNHRC had earlier made recommendations for ameliorating human rights violations in the country, but the regime failed to take heed. A decade-long human rights activism finally generated a critical mass of international support which prompted the UNHRC to act: A Special Rapporteur (SR) was appointed in mid-2012 and, two years later, a three-person COIE was established to investigate the human rights situation in Eritrea.

An Isolated and Combative Regime

One would have expected the government to have seized upon the appointment of the SP as an opportunity to constructively engage the UNHRC and perhaps agree on phased implementation of key UPR recommendations. Instead, the government chose the path of confrontation and greeted the appointment of the Rapporteur with hostility thereby barring her from entering the country to exercise her mandate. Regime authorities claimed that the UN agency’s standard mechanism for Eritrea is “politically motivated” and branded its information-gathering process “political witch-hunt”. Paranoia led them to imagine an international conspiracy seeking regime change in the country, and to feel anti-Eritrea animus emanating from pretty much the rest of the world.

The imminent release of the Commission report in June 2015 not only intensified the regime’s vitriol but also triggered mobilization of its supporters in the Diaspora. The regime’s embassies and PFDJ offices in Europe organized and funded the busing of hundreds of supporters from across the continent to Geneva to protest against the COIE whom they accused of being “a tool of the US government” and branded their findings “fabricated lies.”  In a display of behavior that bordered on hooliganism, supporters harassed anyone that did not share their views. Even members of the Commission were not spared the group’s hostility and were “subjected to various threats and acts of intimidation in their hotel and in the streets” in Geneva.[2]

Escalating Confrontation with the UN

In the year since the COIE’s mandate was extended, Eritrean authorities have stood firm in their refusal to let commission members into the country. Yet, they continue to fault them for reaching conclusions about the country’s human rights situation “without having set foot in the country!” But beyond its confrontation with the UN agency, the regime has been working on a project for escalating its stance of public defiance.

Documents recently leaked from Asmara exposed a government plan for an international campaign aimed at collecting COIE-denouncing statements from 300,000 Eritrean exiles in 25 countries. The document “shows in detail the clear line of control from President Isaias Afwerki and his closest circle of advisers, through the embassies and into the ruling party’s network in each country, to members of the Eritrean exile community.”[3] The campaign also includes mobilizing regime supporters in the Diaspora to stage anti-COIE rallies in the days leading up to the release of their report.

Whatever number of signatures the campaign generates, it can only be testimony to the level of fear and control that the regime’s surveillance network maintains over the Diaspora and refugee communities. Challenged by the UNHRC on their governance, Eritrea’s despotic rulers sequestered their already-muzzled population to prevent them from telling the truth. They then scoured the world for vulnerable Eritrean refugees (who fled the country to escape the regime’s brutality), and exacted their signatures through coercive tactics: threat of retribution against family members; denial of critical services needed to secure/maintain residence.

The Battle for the Truth

The Eritrean government aims to turn international public opinion against the COIE by launching a campaign it hopes will undermine the veracity of the Commission’s findings and the validity of their conclusions. But, the international public is too well-informed about the realities of Eritrea and its authoritarian system to fall for such manipulative charades.

Both in the logic of the objective(s) it seeks to achieve and in its timing, the government’s latest campaign is incongruent with the transparent, multi-staged mechanism with which the international community has been assessing the country’s human rights crisis. Documenting 300,000 citizens who were not victimized by the regime cannot conceal the fact that there are thousands others who were! Eight hundred of them did come forward to freely give the COIE personal testimonies of their brutalization at the hands of the regime.

But even more critical to the case is the fact that the regime is essentially trying to fight a battle it had already lost. A year ago, both the UNHRC and the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly unanimously approved the COIE finding that “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations are being committed in Eritrea.” The UN effort has since moved on to the next stage of the investigation where the commission has been working to establish the criminality level of, and accountability for, those violations. That task has just been completed, and the day when the verdict on both of these issues will be delivered – the Eritrean regime’s Day of Reckoning – is finally upon us!

The European Parliament recently noted with grave concern the activities that the PFDJ’s youth organization carried out in the Netherlands early this year with the support of the political leadership in Asmara. Those events have clearly demonstrated the length to which the regime and its clandestine political network in Europe will go to silence their critics.[4] Many are fearful that the regime’s agents provocateur may instigate hostility and intimidation during the anti-COIE demonstrations that government supporters plan to stage in the coming days. It is in the interest of European countries, and of Switzerland in particular, to ensure such will not be the case.

European governments must draw lessons from the Dutch experience and from last year’s Geneva incidents and heed the recommendations that the European Parliament issued in its March 2016 historic resolution on Eritrea. That resolution “Urges the EU Member States to investigate the role of the PFDJ and its various wings, including the youth wing, and to prohibit all forms of association and activity that directly support control and surveillance exercises in Europe, undermine democratic principles and the rule of law, and create patterns of intimidation and extortion; …”[4]

Too much is at stake to let the Eritrean regime have its way in Europe this time around!

[1] Commission inquiry on HR in Eritrea
[2] Id commission of inquiry on Eritrea 23rd meeting 29th regular session of human rights council
[3] Eritrea the battle for international opinion
[4] European parliament takes strong stand on Eritrean repression

About Yohannes Zerai

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[Editor’s note: Reflections is Beyan Negash’s new column. He selected, edited and presents the following …

  • Abraham H.

    Selamat Awatistas,
    Congratulations to all Eritrean justice seekers on the this day of great significance in the struggle for justice in our country. The recommendations of the COIE to refer the case of human rights violations in Eritrea to the ICC as well as its calling for the active involvement of the international community in the issue is a step in the right direction towards holding those responsible for these crimes into accountability.

  • AMAN

    What’s up
    Dear Awates !
    =====================================================What negatively affected and undermined Eritrea’s efforts of leading
    the whole of Ethiopia & all Ethiopian ( Erythrean and Abyssinian ) peoples
    to create a truly freed, Liberated peaceful and stable homeland country
    through a strong and determined anti colonial struggle against colonialists
    and foreign powers and their neo-colonial design and new approach of the
    same substance but different form to subjugate the people and the country
    back into their fold; is only the weaknesses and illiteracy or ignorance of world
    politics by successive regimes who ruled the country, Ethiopia since the end
    of WWII. The weakness of these feudalists opened the way for Ethiopia to
    fall into colonial hands back again and remain only partially free country while
    many African states and Nations were getting Freedom from colonialism.
    Ethiopia’s path under HSI was to the opposite direction managed well for the
    interests of colonial foreign powers through a single agent HSI.
    Eritrea, its place and leadership in Ethiopian and Horn politics was fully determined
    and in the highest gear to completely wipe out colonialism and any legacies of its
    rule from the region when HSI conspired to let colonial rule in back again through
    the window or back door only with a plan ( with the help of neo-colonial and foreign
    powers) to undermine the Eritrean State leadership of new Ethiopia or in the newly
    formed Ethiopia.
    Ethiopia had remained only as a semi Liberated ( not fully independent country ) until
    1991 though many of its peoples wrongly think or thought it was a free and an independent
    sovereign country. Without knowing that only HSI was sovereign and all the Sovereignity of
    the country rested on HIM.
    Then came a coup,,,,,,,,and …….then came two Ethiopias !
    So in its history since 1945, Ethiopia is for the first time moving towards independence AND
    Freedom to become a Sovereign Nation for the first time in its history with all colonial and
    neo colonial direct and indirect legacies only been defeated and eliminated in 1991 and ever
    since then only.

  • Abi

    Hope nebsi
    I don’t know about the two million ( 2,000,000 ) Amharas . There are 6,000,000 Amharas ready to take over Eritrea soon. How is your Amharic? Repeat after me
    Erasen berase begeza milase kalanqolaPelaTeskut man yanqolaPelaTisilgnal? If you fail to repeat this three times, I personally kick you out of Eritrea.
    Ready or not here we come!!

    • Hope

      Ras Abi:
      Do you have selective dementia?
      Let alone 6 million against 6 million ,the 65 million did nothing to the 3 million!
      Rather the 3 million crashed the 65 million to the ground.
      Eritrea is an Independent State since 25 years. and celebrating the 25th Anniversay/Silver Jubilee and marching towards the 50the Anniversary/The Golden Jubilee!
      But am aware what you are talking about.

  • Berhe Y

    Selam Hope,

    Forget about the 2 Million, Can you name ONE and ONLY ONE political figure, journalist or known person who was disappeared from the face of the earth without any trace in Ethiopia today?

    All members of parliament in the world by the nature of their position, they have immunity. The Isayas shifta government disappeared prominent member of the parliament, including former ministers who use to dine, wine, meet and greet world leaders and they have disappeared from the face of the earth without any trace.

    Instead of crying justice now, and why Eritrean is singled out, why don’t you try to answer a simple question. If the Eritrean government can disappear such prominent members of the parliament, what it is can and allowed to do to ordinary citizens.

    You know if you are familiar with credit history..what would be the credit of the Eritrean government in treating it’s citizens. Hope, zeHope, this helps you see why.

    Isayas was digging his own was just a matter of time..he will be hiding in the sewage and he will be dragged like mouse…


  • Ayneta

    Now is the time to redeem yourself. For years you have been telling us you despise any involvement of Ethiopia in Eritrean matters. Now you have a group that is more Ethiopian than TPLF in its claim that has dubbed itself Ginbot 7. They are expressing their naked allegiance to PFDJ. You never said anything when Demhit soldiers embarrassingly commended the streets of Asmara some time back. Hope you will bash Ginbot 7 this time and redeem yourself. Otherwise, Awate will officially label you ‘the great traitor”.

  • Abraham H.

    Dear Awatistas,
    Now we know what the blood sucker Ginbot 7 stands for. These imperialists and Amhara supremacists have now found an accomplice in Isayas Afeworki in their historical enmity towards the Eritrean people. The good thing is that they have exposed themselves in their ill wishes both towards the Eritrean and Ethiopian peoples. And the Eritrean people would once again deal them a humiliating defeat together with their traitor Isayas junta host.

    • Hope

      Selam Abreham:
      Let us be realistic and honest here.
      I care less about the unknown but about the KNOWN.

      -Who has kept Eritrea and Eritreans a hostage?

      -Who declared the No War No Peace Policy and why and what are the evident consequences on Eritrea and Eritreans?

      -Who wished the over night collapse of Eritrea?

      -Who set up the Dirty Tigray Camps,for what purpose and who sponsored it and who said what about this?

      -Who sanctioned Eritrea and on what basis ,for what purpose and whith whose support?

      -Who is lobbying against the EU Development for Eritres and Erittresns and why?

      -Who is torturing and mistreating the Eritream Refugees in the Tigray Camps?

      -Who deported 80,000 Hard working and Innocent ERITREANS and Ethiopians of Eritrean Origin bare-handed and Bare-foot and in the worst inhumane condition by looting up their life-long earning simply coz he /they did NOT like the color of the eyes?

      -Who escalated the war of 1998 and declared officially against Eritrea just to teach the Eritreans a lesson coz ERITREANS used to call them Agames?

      -Who boycotted our Ports and why?

      -Who invaded Adi Murig and why?

      -Who tortured ERITREANS on the border and why?

      -Who incorporated a big chunk of Sovereign Eri Land to Tigray unilaterally and why?

      -Who wished and declared for a slow DEATH of Eritra and Eritreans?

      -Who attempted to reverse ERITREAN Independence or tried to capture Aseb?
      I know ONE FACT:
      That Ginbot -7 did not say or did these!
      Ginbot -7 against Eritrea and ERITREANS and against their Independence?
      Am not aware of this.

      Day dream?

      By force?

      There is another FACT that I know :
      -No one and no power under the Sun can or will intimidate ,bully or harrass the New ,the United and Strong Eritrea!

      • sara

        Dear hope-the truth teller
        bringing here too much facts/truths is not safe play , play it right to see another day..

        • Hope

          Shukren a Ghezillion Habibti Wo Ya kibirti Ikhttina for your advice

          I believe in the Golden Advice from the Highest Priest and Teacher ,which says:”The Truth shall set you FREE”!

      • Abi

        Hope Gerageru
        Too many ” who” questions. I have one answer for your satisfaction. Every evil deed has been done by your nightmares called the AMHARAS.
        That was easy! Now , move on.
        ” The new, the United and strong Eritrea” is kinda interesting. Hey, you forgot the ” unique “.

        • Hope

          I think we can deal with the Amharas easily and positively compared to the above named or called ” Who”.
          Remember what Shaleka Dawit said at ESAT?
          ” Eritrea is now a UN-recognized Independent State and Aseb is none but Erirean!”!
          If we will have such a kind of a Partner and Neighbor,who or which can work for a Genuine Peaceful Co-existence and Regional Economic Integration,what else do we need ?
          If ERITREANS and Ethiopians choose and decide to be ONE people in the next 25years or so,let it be as long as it is done by the peoples’ consent and free will!

          • Abi

            Hope Nebsi
            You think you can deal with the Amharas?
            Look the seemingly intelligent Abraham H is saying.
            ” These imperialists and Amhara supremacists have now found an accomplice in Isayas Afeworqi in their historical enmity towards the Eritrean people. General Abraham H is vowing to destroy them one more time.
            Could you please tell him it is 2016 not 1961 ? He is suffering from PFAS ( Post Fake Amhara Syndrome). I think he just finished reading Miryam Was Here. He is shivering, he is angry, he is ready to pick up his rusty AK to destroy the imperialist and supremacist Amharas.
            Ende amora bero Abraham kech ale
            Amharan liqeTa eyetechakole.
            YeKiristos enat Maryam tiTebqen
            Yemdritwa Miriyam endataschersen.

          • Abraham H.

            I don’t need to read books to know about the atrocities of the previous Amhara-led Ethiopian regimes because I have lived them. Almost every Eritrean family bears the scars from the brutalities of those regimes; I myself have lost close innocent civilian relatives who were killed in cold blood just for calling for leniency from the occupying Derg troops. Again by alligning itself with and supporting the butcher PFDJ junta, the Amhara-led Ginbot-7 has shot itself in the foot, and has exposed what it has in store for the Nations and Nationalities of Ethiopia, should it come to power.

          • Zara Yaqob

            Hi Hope,

            Is “regional economic integration” a code word for leeching from Ethiopia ?

  • Gebre

    Dear Zerai,

    Well documented! But the Eritrean issues are now running beyond the boarder of Eritrea. The Derg gadgets also become a holy savers of the Eritrean people and put a plea and stand behind the Eritrean traitor (see the Ginbot 7 plea). In fact the Derg gadgets undercover are doing their assignment-kill the remaining Eritrean people. It is easy to see their signature/name and put them under law. The confrontation should be left to the Eritrean people not to be organized by Goshu Wolde and Dawit W/giorgis.


    • Hope

      Dear Gebre:
      Too late now.
      Crying Crocodile tears after the damage ???
      There are NO Permanent Friends but Permanebt Interest!

  • Yonathan Sebhatu

    Drar Y. Zerai
    Brief and yet through out, a level of clarity to a lengthy and complex process, an objective reporting on a matter that is hard to extricate oneself from the temptations to damp a heinous regime, never mind grant it the status of a protagonist to an international body, this article is beautifully written about the victory of the Eritrean people against the despot. So far, this victory is the only one that has the potential for a consequence to this gang of criminals terrorizing our people

  • Mek1

    Hi Yohannes,

    It is not about whether the government is dictator or not, you are stuck up on one view, to nail the government for its actions, how is it possible without sacrificing the country and its people? Using the human and international organizations? Are they trust worthy? You don’t demand trust you earn it, have these organizations earn the trust of Eritrean people for the last 6 decades? They turned their blind eye when Eritrean people were bombed with napalm, cluster and chemical bombes, when the people were run by tanks alive and villages were wiped out by shelling with mortars and BM launchers they were mute, finally when the war was over with Ethiopia in 1991 Eritrea had millions of refugees in camps which needed resettlement and UNHCR was asked to find founds for them it was not even billions of dollars and they refused to give the money, In fact it was a missed opportunity for the world to compensate what they had missed for decades and it was yesterday when war broke out again, 70,000 Eritreans were deported empty handed from Ethiopia in the presence of all international and diplomatic community seating in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, last and but not least when the boarder commission award Bademe to Eritrea, the international community did nothing till this day, all these were human right violations and they were not addressed, tell me now what happened they are looking human right abuse in the country ? Because their eyes open now to see? They have been betraying the trust of Eritrean people for long and don’t ask the people to be naive like you to consider what is coming is a day of reckoning!!! History is a teacher and the people have learned, nothing good could come from the so called international community; Eritrean people know Isaiah’s is a dictator but left without alternative and have decided to live with the devil they know until next time.

    Many Eritreans talk about isolation including you without thinking, let’s be honest with ourselves, when was the last time that you remember the international community was with Eritrean people, Past, present and future? None!!!!!!!!! Even when the world was divided with ideology, pro- west and pro-east, political groups and guerilla fighters inclined to their ideology were getting help from one of them but not true in Eritrean case, if we speak about isolation as if it is happening only right now is wrong, it started long time ago when the world ignored Eritrean plea for their freedom at the UN headquarters decade ago and ignored and when Eritreans are asking for the world body to uphold the court ruling of EBBC has been ignored for 13 years, that is isolation to me, Eritrean People were left to fend for themselves without any help from the world, that is isolation to me and the sad part of it is, the isolation was not a choice it was imposed on the people and it has been a life style now and everyone has develop the attitude of self-reliance. You are dying to see changes in Eritrea so is everyone but not at the expense of its people and its sovereignty especially when it comes from human right organizations and others with ulterior motives who have showed indifference to the sufferings of Eritreans for long is hard to swallow to anyone except the naive.

    • Nitricc

      Hey Mek1: I can see where you are coming from but you are assuming Eritrea possesses real, responsible and tangible opposing forces. True; there are groups of people they call themselves “justice seekers” but in reality they could careless what happens to the nation as long as the government detached by any means necessary. So, they are not for justice, rather they are for revenge and that why I call them revenge seekers.
      What this toothless people forgetting is the government doesn’t equate the country. The government will go but the country is here to stay for ever. For revenge seekers to go this far to get to the government is stupid.
      The UN or anyone else doesn’t give a hoot about human right or democracy. The only reason why they are after Eritrea is because Eritrea won’t bend like the other African country. In their eyes; no slave should fail to bend for his master i.e. Eritrea must be punished under the cover of human rights; democracy and all the bull-sh***ts. What sucks for revenge seekers is that there is no diam thing the UN going to do. the UN will say the usual garbage and the revenge seekers will dance in the streets of the white man and PFDJ will carry on; the end of the story. at the end of the day; when the dust settles there will be a judgment day for those who betrayed the nation.

      • Mek1

        HI Nitricc,
        this is What I said about the opposition before on this web site;


        11 days ago

        Hi Awate, the Family feud web site, the same people the same idea the
        same narrative I am afraid you may dress the same like the old
        communists, I always hesitate to comment, because nothing fruitful come
        out of it. I lived in Ethiopia and I saw the Eritrean opposition they
        were not even agreeing on how to use cooking pots and buckets to the
        point of taking their case to the weyanes and they were a laughing
        stock, do you call this politicians or opposition? What they know is
        Higdef this Higdef that and it is not politics, that is an old women
        talk, with no feasible alternative, they group themselves under the
        umbrella of hatred of Higdef that is not alternative and attractive.
        Give up!!!

        I don’t assume there is no opposition I know for the fact there is none.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam Meke-1,

          Doesn’t PFDJites have the same idea and the same narratives originate from the same man? The idea of the opposition is the alternative idea to the idea of PFDJites, if you believe on competitive alternative ideas.Two opposite ideas the public to chose from. Don ‘t you think so if you believe on democracy?

          • Nitricc

            Hey Aman-H: it is my lucky day. Can you please enlighten me what the so-called opposition idea, plan or program is? I have been searching for years and I am unable to locate the oppositions’ purpose and idea?
            We already know what the PFDJ plan is and if you ask me and the silent majority; they rather stick with what they know than the alternative.
            Again what is the opposition’s program? Please don’t tell me “democracy” because it is not possible real democracy in Africa. It can’t be real because it is not done by the real people who are stake holders of their country. If there is going to be democracy in Ethiopia; it will be so a democracy that serves the interest of the USA; nothing to do with people of Ethiopia. As long as any African country is dependent of any westerner’s country; rest assured the interest of the west will be the system of that particular African nation. Unless Africa is independent of any westerners; there is no democracy that will be real and beneficial the people. NO! So spare me the democracy crap.

          • iSem

            Why do not just collect your mercenary salary from PFDJ, you are not qalified to talk about Eritrea, Yemane Baria sang: “ኣብ ርእሰ ውሳኔ ናይ ህዝብታት ዘይ ኣምን፡ እንታይ አፍሊጥዎ ንሰላም ዝልምን”
            For a self crowned truth teller, now was your chance as many others that you have sqaundered in favour your paycheque to tell truth about PFDJ,
            At a time when they are so desparate to beg the help of Gunbot 7. No head of state attended the so called Silver Jublee in Eritrea an IA again insulted you guys because he can. because you are his personal property.
            Here is the link where the PFDJ gangs of Toronto were making fools of themselves, with a dwindled attendance. The speech of the Gunbot 7 rep starts at 25 seconds, it is in English.


          • Mek1

            HI Amanuel,
            If you try to mimic the PFDJ you are doomed, for an idea to be alternative it should not be only opposite to PFDJ’s, but it has to bring a different outcome, if the way PFDJ lead the country is wrong and it is bringing disaster to the country, your alternative should be a way of healing and unity, that is opposite and and alternative with different outcome, but if you are divided by ethnic, religious and village line, true it is different from PFDJ, but I grantee you, it will bring more disaster then PFDJ’s and I don’t called it competitive alternative but I call it diametrically opposite disaster.

        • Nitricc

          Hi Mek1
          I see your take and I understand your point. The problem is we have dishonest and opportunistic Eritreans who would do anything to harm the country by the way of harming the Eritrean government. I have no problem if they single out and fight the government of Eritrea but to go all out at the expense of the Eritrean people and nation is stupid. At end of the day it is about your people; about your tribe and about your country. For those people who are harming the country thinking they are harming the government will pay the price of their actions. I have no idea what constitute their moral character. Once; Alasdair Macintyre said the following in defending this community and people!

          “I am never able to seek for the good or exercise the virtue only qua individual …We all approaches our own circumstances as bearers of particular social identity. I am some once son, daughter, a citizen of this or that city, I belong to this clan, that tribe, that nation; hence what is for me has to be good for the some one who inhabits those roots. I inherit from the past of my family, my city, my tribe, my nation a verity of debts, expectations and obligations. This constitutes the given of my life, my moral starting point. This is, in part what gives my life its moral particularity”

          The more the anti government groups use external forces to bring change, the more they harm the country and the people and the more the people to stick with the government at all costs. Because that it is their “LIFE MORAL PARTICULARITY” and an obligation to defend to death.

  • Yoty Topy

    Greetings Awate readers,

    So many qualified contributors and debaters on this great forum. I wish there were more female writers and debaters.

  • Dayphi

    Zkheberkum/ kn Awetawyan:
    Mefellemta, b’sm Amllah Meharin Lewwahin zkhone Goita ijimmir.
    Ab WerHi Ramadan eyyu n’mejemmeria ezi Qur’an zwerede [ kab l3ool Goita ] nweddi seb memriHi metan k’khewwin…
    . (2:185).
    — B’mkhniat WerHi Ramadan m’taw, bmejemmeria n’Aslam Eritreawyan, ab3addi zellewu ab gdam, n’Haffash Aslam hzbi Habesha, kem’u wn nkhullu bihere Islam ab mibraqat zelewun ab mi3rabat iza 3alem sennay tmnitey inda zergaHku, khair shshay zmeleo werhi yigberelkum. L3ool Amllah tsomkum, tsloatkum, qurbankum, zokatkum, mhlelakhum, k’qibbelon kt tzedqun n, 3ulunnati elimmin.

  • dawit

    Dear Ayneta,
    Why go to funeral when you can go to a wedding party. Dawit is preparing for Eritrean 50th. Golden Anniversary. Tsnat yehabkum

  • saay7

    Selamat Yohannes & all awatistas:

    Thank you for laying out the facts succinctly. Here is my input which is complementary:

    1. We won’t have to wait until late June to get the CoIE vs Isaiasists combat. This coming Wednesday, June 8, at 11:30 Central European Time (3:30 pm Pacific Standard Time), CoIE will hold a televised press conference. The UN is going to livestream it here:

    2. The big question is whether CoIE will find that the crimes of Isaias Afwerki’s clique “constitute crimes against humanity” and if so, so what then?

    3. My take:

    a. Isaias Afwerki and company must be scratching their head wondering whatever possessed them to have Eritrea be a signatory to the Rome Statute which empowered the International Criminal Court (ICC). They can always say that, like many countries, they never ratified it, but they did sign it when they were trying oh-so-hard to impress the Clinton Administration as pro-Western State;

    b. Crimes Against Humanity is Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This article was a product of the post-Yugoslavia and post-Rwanda era. To quote from the statute directly:

    Crime against humanity means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

    (a) Murder;

    (b) Extermination;

    (c) Enslavement;

    (d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population;

    (e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;

    (f) Torture;

    (g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;

    (h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;

    (i) Enforced disappearance of persons;

    (j) The crime of apartheid;

    (k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

    The Rome Statute further defines some of the concepts above as follows:

    (a) “Attack directed against any civilian population” means a course of conduct involving the multiple commission of acts referred to in paragraph 1 against any civilian population, pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to commit such attack;

    (b) “Extermination” includes the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population;

    (c) “Enslavement” means the exercise of any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership over a person and includes the exercise of such power in the course of trafficking in persons, in particular women and children;

    (d) “Deportation or forcible transfer of population” means forced displacement of the persons concerned by expulsion or other coercive acts from the area in which they are lawfully present, without grounds permitted under international law;

    (e) “Torture” means the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, upon a person in the custody or under the control of the accused; except that torture shall not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions;

    (f) “Forced pregnancy” means the unlawful confinement of a woman forcibly made pregnant, with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of any population or carrying out other grave violations of international law. This definition shall not in any way be interpreted as affecting national laws relating to pregnancy;

    (g) “Persecution” means the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity;

    (h) “The crime of apartheid” means inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime;

    (i) “Enforced disappearance of persons” means the arrest, detention or abduction of persons by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing them from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.

    We will know more on Wednesday but whether CoIE is able to prove it or not, Isaias Afwerki and his clique are guilty of (1) extrajudicial killing (murder), (2) forcibly holding human beings for indefinite period and treating them as their property (enslavement), (3) prisons dotting the entire country (imprisonment and severe deprivation of physical liberty), (4) casual and extreme violence design to inflict pain and punishment (torture), (5) group persecution (at the very least on the basis of political association; compelling arguments can be made on persecution of religious minorities); (6) refusal to acknowledge to anyone where prisoners are held and to pretend they never existed (enforced disappearance of persons.)

    My sense is that CoIE WILL be able to demonstrate that all of the above, 1-6 occurred. The organized campaigns and petititions (including by Eritrea-based Ethiopian opposition groups*) can only demonstrate that these crimes didn’t happen to them; they don’t prove that they didn’t happen to those who are claiming it happened to them. In other words, they are not, as lawyers say, exculpatory evidence.

    What next? If there is anything we have learned from the Hanish Crisis and the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, Isaias Afwerki spares no expenses to get first-rate lawyers when he wants to argue cases in a court of law. As a politician, he has already prepared the population not to notice a change of behavior following an indictment: he doesn’t travel anywhere now: not to AU, not to IGAD, not to COMESA, not to Africa-India and Africa-China Summits; and he won’t travel anywhere post-indictment.

    When Omar Al-Bashir was indicted, several African countries (including Djibouti) demanded that all African countries who are signatories and ratifiers of the Rome Statute walk-out in protest. No doubt, a similar pan-African sentiment will be manufactured: dictators are excellent in rousing national and ultra-national and when necessary pan-national passions.

    As with almost everything he has done since he assumed power, Isaias Afwerki will leave Eritrea with one more blot: the first African country to be sanctioned by AU is likely to become the first African country whose first president is indicted for crimes against humanity.



    • Abi

      Hi Saay 7
      It is good to see all seven of you.
      Go Cavaliers!

    • dawit

      Selam Saay,
      Welcome back, I was hopping you will be back sooner to deliver your customary rebuttal speech to PIA’s great speech to the world on the occasion of Eritrea’s 25th. year Jubilee anniversary. But instead you came up with your recycled COIE staff for June 8 from MS. Sheilla’s press release and as usual it will buried by the great Eritreans Mekete Celebration by June 21 in Geneva. By now it must have been clear that false allegation can not triumph over the truth of Eritrean people history.

    • Hope

      Selam Ato Salih AA Younis:’
      Welcome back!

      Am glad you are near- done with your home work on the preparatory draft on prosecuting:
      -The Office of the President
      -The Min of Defense
      -The Min of Interior/National Security
      -The Min of Justice…,if any.

      I have no choice but to agree with your first Seven Steps/Features /Requahitat /Failures to prosecute the Gang in question .

      My obs:

      -Since you admitted that Eritrea as a Nation,and ERITREANS as a People,by default,are sanctioned at the same time by the
      AU,The EU,the UN,the USA,by IGAD,etcetera…,it would be a good service to Justice,Reason and Fairness to dig more and argue in detail as to why Eritrea as a Nation and ERITREANS as a People are being singled out by those cowards and sanctioned rather than targeting the Main culprit.

      You would not argue otherwise as it would not serve your agenda and their agenda as well!

      Your simple answer is going to be as you said it before,coz of PIA.

      But history and facts on the ground tell us otherwise; and to refute history and the hardcore facts on the ground is but beyond “Hypocrisy”and “Bigotry” -to borrow these “new words” from the Forumers here.

      We all know why Eritrea and Eritreans are being targeted selectively and exclusively.

      Now,as I responded to Berhe recently ,the COIE becomes a politically motivated tool based on the very fact you just mentioned and listed that Eritrea will be:

      -The only African country to be sanctioned by the Corrupt AU and its satellite branch,the IGAD,both being monitored and manipulated by the same bloody enemy of Eritrea that U and me know that,that is the fact!

      -By simple logic,and even by defauls,the AU and the IGAD are not the ones,who sanctioned Eritrea but the TPLF Mercenary fully backed by the CIA based on the mere facts that you know better than any one else here.

      -The ONLY Country in the world sanctioned by the whole world including the UN,the USA,the EU,etc….at the same time .
      But you know who and which that “Whole World” is and as to why that Whole World sanctioned Eritrea and Eritreans!

      Moreover,you didn’t tell us the details as to why and how all these world bodies sanctioned Erittea,other than the same answer you told us that PIA is/ being the main culprit by completely ignoring the historical and current gross facts on the ground.

      But you also ” forgot” to tell us that :

      -Eritrea was the only nation and Eritreans were the only people ,who were denied their RIGHT to self determination when other Nations were given given the ” Green Loght”!
      _That the same entities you boasted about respecting Human Rights and International Laws have been the same ones,who have not respected any kind of Human Rights and Intermatonal Law

      -Worst,they are the same entities,BTW,and after all,not only ,who have denied Eritrea and Eritreans the basic Human Rights over 50 years and to this date but also who have been involved in the Human Rights abuses of ERITREANS directly or indirectly.

      This is ONLY for the sake of Arguement about the other side of the Truth when it comes to the Basic Rights of Eritrea and Eritreans as a perpetual victims of the same Pseudo-Justice -Seekers and Human Rights “Pseudo-Advocates!

      Hope the COIE will target ONLY the real culprits and not Eritrea as a Country and Eritrea as a People.

      But am concerned that based on history and historical facts,Eritrea and Eritreans might end up to be the victims of the same historical enemies of Eritrea and Eritreans!,and I will PRAY hard so that it will not be the outcome./the case.

      Finally,I kindly ask you as to why :

      -the COIE has never considered the DAILY real and perceived threats,the obstacles,the containment,the and the isolationist Policies of the TPLF and its Masters against Eritrea and Eritreans and the hell Eritrea and Eritreans have gone through !

      Coz of PIA???

      -As to why we ignore the fact that the USA has blocked the lifting of sanctions ; and its role of facilitating the Human trafficking ,not to mention the selective and preferential treatment of ERITREAN Refugees but at the same time crying crocodile tears as if Eritrea is the only culprit to be sanctioned by all world bodies.

      Constructive Engagement and Persuasive Policy should have been the way to go but those same World bodies rather chose a destructive approach otherwise,which tells you volunes and makes the COIE to sound a politically motivated tool ???

      Coz of PIA?
      This is my naive opinion though and arguing for the sake of it as well.

    • Kim Hanna

      Selam saay7,
      Great to hear from you. I hope you were in a position to enjoy game 5,6,&7 of the Warriors and Oklahoma matches. I was not expecting to hear from you till the whole thing is over.
      Now my inexplicable apprehension is abated by 50%. I am sure the remaining half will entirely disappear when Hayat Adem reappears at Awate Forum soon.
      Mr. K.H

    • Berhe Y

      Dear Yohannes, Saay and All,

      As you predicted the CoI finds the Eritrea government officials have committed Crimes against humanity and it recommends the UN Security Council refers the case to the ICC.

      This is a huge success to the justice seekers and for those who have been working relentlessly to see this happen.

      I think what we can do is to see what’s next?


  • Hope

    Selam Ayneta:

    -Why would you care about Dawit you should not care about?

    -Isn’t he entitled to do and to support and celebrate as well what ever he wants to ?

    -Who assigned you to be the Prosecutor and the Judge?
    You are beyond evil indeed diur to your evil wishes to others!

  • Berhe Y

    Selam Hope,

    Blah, blah and more blah, we heard it everyday and the same story. What’s got disappearing Eritreans from the face of the earth, limit freedom of movement, freedom of expression, association, worship has anything to do, with Liybia, Iraq or Syria.

    Chamaka maere egriKa. You know Museveni was in power for 34 or so years, Paul kigame for 22 or so years, Digibutee, probable the same party / family. Kenya is no different. Sudan Al Bashir for 27 years, Ethiopia is no different, had Melles was alive, he would probably still be in power, and I think the current leader is just a continuation of the same party. Egypt, Mubarek was in power for 30 years and they had a little bump and the same party / group is back in business. Somalia, Budindi are even worst.

    You can look across the sea and the story is even worst.

    The EPLF and PFDJ based on the popularity and the universal support, they would have looked like Scandinavian courties, if they had left the people alone.

    Simple gesture like:

    No national services
    Free press
    Freedom of religion, association and movement
    Rubber stamp elections

    I mean the expectation is so law and the competition is so easy, they would have qualified for Nobel peace prize.

    But none of these groups treat their own people the same the PFDJ is treating it’s people, with exception of Sudan in the darfur, which paid the price and now almost the problem solved, with the help of the international community and the ICC.

    This is going to be so good and the PFDJ will be crying Justice like a baby that they denied their people for so long, and you are going to repeat, national interest, Liybia, Iraq, conspiracy.

    Bzeben wube ztsememe wube endabelle mote.

    Or is it, four legs good two legs bad.


    • T..T.

      Hi Berhe,

      You are right; the crying PFDJ deserves to get to know itself. When the world tells them “your policies smell like rotting garbage and that’s why the Eritrean youth are fleeing because they cannot endure the stinky minky of your governance,” it is time for them to listen and surrender.

      Yes, it is time for them to know that they are a problem to the whole world. They don’t have to be disrespectful. They have to come clean disclosing complete list of all those in prison, those who died in prison, and those innocents whose bodies are decaying and smelling in the valleys and mountains. The PFDJ should allow the UN to help the Eritrean people get rid of all pollutions caused by Isayas including the poisoning of his long time comrades, disappearances of those who oppose the regime, and the bodies of eye witness dumped into trash bins.

      • Berhe Y

        Dear T.T.,

        Last weekend, there was Eritrean soccer and celebration of the independence. The OFDJ was all over asking people to sign petition, the church, community center, the soccer field. I did not want to argue as most of those were told what to do, I kept saying “ferimna eina”.

        I remembered what sactism said a month ago, I have not seen update lately.


        • T..T.

          Dear Berhe,

          I had a chance to advise opposition supporters (not members) to sign the petition and indicate u.d. (united to defend) after their signatures. They told me everything done as advised. They also convinced others to do so, adding “u.d.” after their signatures.

          Between you and me, that “u.d.” if caught by the UN, it stands for “signature under duress.” The opposition should now push for signature investigations because some are forged and some are u.d. (under duress). The middlemen like Hope aaaare reallllly in trouble.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear T.T.,

            I wish you had told me, I would have signed with u.d.


          • T..T.

            Dear Berhe,

            Ginbot-7, an Ethiopian opposition org. based in Eritrea, claims that it is lending support to Isayas by appealing to its supporters and members to sign the petition against the UN’s action. The UN’s action is only directed against the criminals, Isayas and his general, for violation of Int’l humanitarian law and to be tried by the Int’l Criminal Court (ICC). The video below is an evidence that all petition signatures are illegal, some forged, some purchased, some under duress, and some bear names of already dead people:



          • Hope

            Dear TT
            Never mind and no worries!
            Let alone the fake and exaggerated COIE,no power under the Sun has and will subjugate Eritrea.
            The Dictator and its cronies will go sooner or later but Eritrea will stay TALL and FIRM!

  • T..T.

    Hi all,

    Isayas might have obtained signatures of the unliberated Eritrean Diasporas, like Hope, dawit, and what her/his name(s). These unliberated Diaspora Eritreans can be left for the Eritrean opposition to liberate them from deafness and blindness to the realities that the whole world sees.

    The UN’s COIE has called on all these unliberated Eritreans to put their feet in the shoes of the victims of the tyrant. But, know what? These unliberated Diaspora Eritreans do not have human feet to put their feet into the victims’ shoes. As a group, using Isayas’s one-heart, one-eye, one-head and one-leg, they think they are a one gigantic footed that doesn’t fit into the victims’ feet. But the truth is, if it doesn’t fit, it must be a non-human foot. Woe to these unliberated Eritrean Diasporas for using Isayas’s one leg, whose foot already missed the rock to be stepped on and instead he has put it down on water to sink this month deeper and deeper into the awaiting swallowing sea water.

  • Hope

    Selam Yohannes:
    Very good analysis !Have no qualms with the facts you stated and argued about the failures of the Regime in question and the legitimacy of the COIE based on the fCts on the ground despite its bad and politically motivated approache..

    Few Obs and concerns:

    -Could that COIE thing have some hidden agenda and motive against the National interest of Eritrea including the Sovereignty of Eritrea considering the historical facts ?

    -Since there are similar and even worse Nations than Eritrea why would be Eritrea singled out and argeted ?

    -Don’t you believe that some enemies of Eritrea could be behind it as well?

    -Considering your previous Articles dealing about the change of heart of the EU towards Eritrea for obvious reason of exploitation of Eritrea’s Natural Resources ,why would you believe now that the EU should make a U-Turn against Eritrea?

    -Why are you ignoring the negative role of the other parties-the real and the perceived enemies of Eritrea?

    • Berhe Y


      You are entitled to your opinion but you are not entitled to the facts.

      You said :

      Since there are similar and even worse Nations than Eritrea why would be Eritrea singled out and argeted ?

      Which country is the same or worst condition for systematic human rights abuse by its government? If you day North Korea, they are already under the watchful eyes of the UN.

      Again the comparison is for celebrate and systematic a use by a world recognized government.

      Terrorists like al Shebar or Isis do not count, unless you are comparing the government with terrorists organizations.


      • Fiseha

        Berhe, that is the problem on the so called opposition, why do you go that far to North Korea when you have a country close to you such as Ethiopia? Woyane regime killed hundreds of innocent Oromo in broad day light who protesting peacefully. Don’t you think that is even way gross human rights violation? There is no even a slight comparison to Eritrea. That is really clearly will show you all this COI are politically motivated based on fabricated facts in Ethiopia and Djibouti. Eritreans all over the world should denounce this plot because it is against the interest of the people and sovereignty of a country.

        • Berhe Y

          Dear Fiseha,

          If you are serious I would like to engage you. I am not going to defend the Ethiopian human rights records, and for that you can read all international organizations’ reports.

          What I asked was for a systematic deliberate abuse of human rights. For that let’s start here…

          How many politicians, mothers, youth, journalists have the Ethiopian government disappeared from the face of the earth without due process. Even giving someone death sentence, is justice as long as there is due process, which means the accused has to face the accuser and he/she was given to defend themselves in court.

          The Eritrean government for the past 15 or so years, it disappeared people from the face of the earth without bringing them to justice..

          That’s what this CoI is all about..


          • Yemane

            Dear Berhe,
            Thanks for clarifying the human rights conditions in Eritrea for those who have fallen for the excuses brought by the dictatorial regime. I can’t understand how these regime supporters can defend a regime that cooks people (some they’ve known for decades) alive in places like Ella-Ero and so many underground cells without due process of law and a day in court.

          • Guest

            Hi berhe
            The court in ethiopia is a jock it is about getting aid from the wesr nothing to do with human right

          • Berhe Y

            Selam Guest,

            It’s better they are not disappearing people from the face of the earth, without knowing what happened to them.

            The family know their whereabouts
            The family visit them
            They send them food, clothing etc
            They are brought to court
            Etc, etc

            For sure no heaven but no hell like Eritrea either.


          • Fiseha

            Berhe, We are talking about COIEritrean singling out Eritrea for human rights violation. Are you telling me COI is doing for Eritrean people seek? Why not care about Ethiopian people who have been killed by woyane for years since 2005.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Fiseha,

            Yes I absolutely believe they do. The problem with the PFDJ supporters and the PFDJ government is they think the world is run the same way like they do. Controlled by one person and that everyone else is like zombie taking order. It’s not, there are many layers in the government and each work the same some times and independently another time and everyone has a separate mandate.

            Since the killing of those 200 Ethiopians after the 2005 election is your measuring stick, let’s see how is that different. I don’t know if you are familiar but the UN approach is always first engagement and then take extreme measure as in case of Eritrea.

            So they called upon the Ethiopian government to investigate, they called not to use lethal force, they called to release the prisoners, etc.

            Ethiopia for the most part complied. As long as there is progress it’s good for the UN. In case of Ethiopia they didn’t get up in the morning to go and kill those 200 people intentionally, the demonstrators, the burning of tires, killing of solodiers (according to the authorities) that let to incident. When tension is high, this things happen.

            But most important is try to prevent from happening again and make those responsible accountable.

            ERITREAN government may not killed 200 people in broad day light but it intentionally setup a system where abuse including sexual, extra judicial killing and other things are happening and the government refused to investigate and refuse to admit and refuse to fix the problem. In other words NO progress to fix things.

            That’s tge main difference. Do you know how many countries the UN assign SR? And that’s what you should look into before you think Eritrea is singled out or not. And all countries allow the SR to come in and investigate, Eritrea doesn’t then the file goes to next higher body.

            You know what will come next, ICC.

            Like they say, those who live in glass house should not be throwing stone or something. It’s like that it’s getting what it deserve.

            You may not be aware, but Eritreans were calling for the UN since 2001, and it took almost 10 years to act.

            What did the ERITREAN government did since. Even if it released political prisoners, as an occasion of the 25 years silver anniversary that would have been considered a HUGE progress and it would have make it favourable, but Instead it’s collecting petitions, it doesn’t matter.

            What’s the petition for anyway, to agree with the Eritrean government to continue to arrest people without due prosess? That’s what it’s accused of.


      • Hope

        Selam Berhe:

        I took it for granted that you know that the Saudi Kingdom,the richest country per its GDP ,has one of the WORST HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES ever recorded in the world history,not to mention the more than 50% Youth Unemploment and that of the Women Abuse besides the unwarranted beheadings of people.

        And yet,the coward UNHRC and its puppet agents and its own Masters-the criminal CIA,M16 and Mossad are not only silent about it but they are the very defenders and protectors of that Abusive Regime,the Mother of all Terror Sponsors!

        Again,this is not to sympathize with the Regime in Asmera or Massawa but to answer your questions and for the sake of Arguement .