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International Human Rights Day 2018

On 10 December, International Human Rights Day was observed in countries around the world. 10 December was selected as the day to celebrate Human Rights Day since that is the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This year, Human Rights Day marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being — regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. In recognition of Human Rights Day, Eritrea Profile is today publishing excerpts of speeches recently delivered by Eritrean Ambassador, Tesfamichael Gerahtu, and Dr. Nicole Miller, Chargé d’affaires of the EU Delegation in Eritrea, during events commemorating the occasion in Asmara.


  • Excerpt of Statement on behalf of Eritrea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Occasion of International Human Rights Day

By Ambassador Tesfamicael Gerahtu

Ladies and Gentlemen!

We all are gathered here to reflect on the importance of the International Human Rights Day and celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)…

…The external existential threats continued as a pattern of behavior in the last 70 years, even after Eritrea achieved its independence through heavy sacrifices that entailed a long and arduous national liberation struggle for human and peoples’ rights.

The threats imposed on post-independence Eritrea were embodied in war declarations in the pretext of “border disputes”, unjust/illegal UN sanctions and futile efforts of changing the political system and are symptomatic of the aforementioned pattern. Human right agenda served as a political tool of these wider geopolitical agendas after the failure of series hostilities. They all negate international law and violate Eritrea’s sovereign rights, right to development and right to live in peace without any threats. It is unprecedented that the TPLF-dominated previous Ethiopian Government served as the anchor and agent for the above ill-intent with negative effect to the peace, security and development of the Horn of Africa Region

In spite of their heavy influences, the above threats did not succeed to roll back Eritrea’s progress. This is the outcome of the appropriate Government of Eritrea policies anchored in the promotion of equal rights and opportunities and sanctioned by national law. Human right is mainstreamed in national development and state institutions exercise their responsibilities to affirm rights, serve the people and inculcate the culture of human rights. The effect is reflected in the peace and stability, social cohesion and responsible participation of the people where human rights and fundamental freedoms are promoted. Significant achievements have been made but challenges and problems are still there which the Government continuously works to address but much more remains to be done.

Ladies and Gentlemen

This year’s human right celebration is however, celebrated in a new dynamics of peace and development for the people of Eritrea, Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa Region at large. The failure to kneel down resilient Eritrea coupled with the Ethiopian people’s vibrant protests against the regime led to the removal of the TPLF-led Government and heralded a new dawn in the Region. The Peace and Cooperation Declarations signed between Eritrea and Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia and Eritrea-Ethiopia-Somalia signify a bold choice that heralds a new dynamics of regional peace, security and development. Its potential impact in the extended regions of the Red Sea Basin, Nile Basin, the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Aden and beyond in the Indian Ocean is also significant. In this vein, the lifting of the unjust sanctions on Eritrea is another welcome development. Eritrea is committed to deepen the atmosphere of confidence created and to exert further efforts towards viable peace and cooperation.

In this given situation of peace and the unfolding new opportunities, Eritrea will strengthen its internal dynamics, redouble its development efforts and progressively address the critical bottle necks to achieve a qualitative leap in the next few years. The aim, with time and as a process, is to create macro-economic stability, strengthen functions and institutions and consolidate the political process of nation building. Equal rights and opportunities will continue as the essence of this effort and to consolidate efforts at human dignity, betterment of life, equality, justice and progress. The exemplary responsible participation of the people and their extended mobilization, organization and creation of national capacity will remain an important drive in achieving these goals, in particular in the next few years.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Eritrea’s drive for Human Rights Council membership emanates from the above thinking and stance and recognizes the emerging global uncertainties and its implication to the international human rights system. It is committed to make a modest contribution in strengthening the viability and effectiveness of the system. Having been subjected by the politically motivated, confrontational approaches and mandates of the Human Rights Council ( HRC) which created no dividend, Eritrea in collaboration with other members will henceforth focus on the following 3 important goals that reflect its experiences of the last 7 years and will enter into collaborative efforts to depoliticize human rights issues, avoid its use for other 1. geopolitical motives by selectively targeting certain countries, oppose the attendant polarization and promote the principles of the UDHR and the goals of the international human right system
promote dignified engagement and a cooperation based on mutual respect, understanding 2. and benefit and capitalize on the importance of the UPR as the most effective mechanism of engagement and cooperation on human right issues (Note is to be made that Eritrea recently submitted its 3rd UPR Cycle National Report)  support initiatives that maximize the effectiveness of the international human rights 3. system, a system which is a result of the sacrifices made to the ideals of humanity and must not to be left to fail again as was the case with the predecessor of the HRC, the previous HR Commission

I thank you!

  • Excerpt of the Speech by Dr. Nicole Miller, Chargé d’Affaires of the EU Delegation in Eritrea on International Human Rights Day

Excerpt outlining the EU Delegation’s commitment to work with the State of Eritrea

[Begin excerpt]

The EU Delegation is pleased to partner with the State of Eritrea in the enhancement of the living conditions of the Eritrean population in the framework of a rights-based approach.

The coming year looks set to be very active in the field of human rights for Eritrea. Membership of the Human Rights Council, review within the UPR Process as well as the Chairmanship of the Khartoum Process.

Eritrea is just about to embark on a three year membership of the UN Human Rights Council. We wish Eritrea success throughout its membership, which is no mean feat and is an important responsibility. We are looking forward to working with Eritrea throughout this journey.

Furthermore, Eritrea will, next month, undergo its Third Review within the framework of the Universal Periodic Review, an instrument of the Human Rights Council that Eritrea has been fully committed to. We encourage individual states to make structured recommendations that will result in the Government undertaking viable steps to ensure the continued improvement of human rights in Eritrea.

The EU also commends Eritrea on its upcoming chairmanship of the Khartoum Process and looks forward to close cooperation in this regard. Also known as the EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative, The Khartoum Process is a platform for political cooperation amongst the countries along the migration route between the Horn of Africa and Europe, aimed at addressing the root causes of migration and fighting human trafficking and smuggling, which remain a serious concern for us all.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, hectic and exciting months are ahead of us, full of challenges as well as opportunities in terms of protection and respect of human rights worldwide. The European Union will continue to stand on the frontline to fully support every individual, every entity and every country committed to defending and implementing the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Thank you.

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