- While the entire global community is focused on the Russian-Ukraine War, the Foundation for Human Rights has called the international community to investigate grave human rights violations, mass crimes committed by the Isaias Afeworki-led regime in Asmara.
- For many years the good people of Eritrea have been brutalized, violated, and subdued by their government. Eritreans are being subjected to forced labour and forced conscriptions.
- Research has shown that the Eritrean regime at its highest levels is involved in various illegal activities, most notably (but not solely) the organization of human trafficking through the Sinai region and Libya. For that reason, the Eritrean Regime can be characterized as an international criminal organization.
- The actions of the Eritrean Government is no more an isolated incident. The Eritrean soldiers have targeted refugee camps that houses more than 100,000 Eritreans in the ongoing war in Tigray. The people captured were subjected to forced labour and forced conscription into the military. In addition, many Tigrayans were forced to flee the violence caused, among others, by Eritrean troops – which consists of Eritreans who were forcibly
- It is evident that Eritrea is a destabilizing force in the Region. The government has been sending its troops into conflict abroad in a mercenary-like fashion, which includes control of refugees abroad, execution of civilians, rape and looting, mass displacement of populations both in Eritrea and Ethiopia.
- These displacements have led to forced migratory movement. Sadly, the routes for Eritreans refugees are controlled by high-level human traffickers that torture, extort and demand ransom. Most of the high-level traffickers are Eritreans, and researchers have indicated that they have ties to the highest level of the Eritreans Government including the president, Isaias Afeworki.
- As one of the countries that voted against the UN resolution to end Russia’s military action in Ukraine, Eritrea follows Russia’s destabilization model. Eritrea also voted against emoving Russia from the Human Rights Council and against the establishment of a Commission to investigate the violations of Human rights in Ukraine. The has been informed that Russia is providing Eritrea with military weapons. Also, the Russian mercenary Wagner Group has been fighting in Sudan and in Ethiopia during the conflict in Tigray, on the side of Eritrea and Ethiopia.
- We understand that the situation in Ukraine demands global attention, however, the situation in Tigray and Eritrea equally merits the same attention. None of the measures taken against Russia have been implemented in Eritrea. No concrete steps have been taken against the perpetrators of Human Rights Violations in Eritrea.
- Non-discrimination is a core-norm of international law. All people are entitled to equal protection of the law. Now, this principle is disregarded in the situation in Eritrea and Tigray and there is no justification for such.
- Because of the inaction of the international community, the Eritrean regime is emboldened to commit more grave violations of human rights without any significant consequences. This must stop and Eritrea must be held to account. The victims deserve justice.
For these reasons, the Foundation
A. Calls upon the European Union to urgently:
- Re-instate sanctions against Eritrea, similar to or going further than the sanctions instated by the United States, against key elements of the Eritrean State such as the EDF, PFDJ and its subsidiary bodies, Red Sea Trading Corporation (RSTC) and the entire leadership cadre of the Eritrean State.
- Stop providing any financial aid to parties in Eritrea which are linked to the Eritrean regime.
- Stop its financing of parties in Libya and elsewhere, where such financing may lead to enabling the network of human traffickers active in Libya, which include Eritrean State officials on the highest levels.
B. Calls upon the International Criminal Court to urgently:
- Commence an investigation into the situation in Tigray and Eritrea, or alternatively take all necessary steps to be able to commence such an investigation, in particular by asking for State referrals pursuant to Article 14 Rome Statute (and any other steps which may be necessary to establish jurisdiction)
- Begin proceedings to investigate victim identification and needs pursuant to article 79 Rome Statute.
C. Calls upon the United Nations to urgently:
- Re-instate sanctions against Eritrea, similar to or going further than the sanctions instated by the United States, against key elements of the Eritrean State such as the EDF, PFDJ and its subsidiary bodies, RSTC and the entire leadership cadre of the Eritrean State.
- Ensure that all organs and agencies of the United Nations do not enter into collaborations with the Eritrean authorities and stop any ongoing collaborations with the Eritrean authorities.
- Support any ongoing investigations, including any investigation into human rights violations committed in Ethiopia such as the Independent Investigation led by Ms. Fatou Bensouda, to the maximum extent.
- Facilitate the referral of the situation in Eritrea and Tigray to the International Criminal Court by the Security Council.
The Foundation will continue its research and continue to closely monitor the situation. In two months, or earlier as the situation necessitates, the Foundation will compile and communicate its findings and take further (legal) steps where appropriate.