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Statement delivered by Mr. Biniam Berhe, Chargé d’affaires en pied, Embassy of the State of Eritrea to the FDR of Ethiopia and Permanent Mission to the AU and UNECA

at the

75th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)

3-23 May 2023, Hybrid Session

On agenda item 3. “Human Rights Situation in Africa” 

13 May 2023

Mr. Chairperson,

It gives me a great pleasure to address the 75th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) on behalf of the Government of the State of Eritrea.

This session is taking place as our continent and my country are observing important milestones. The 25th of May 2023 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the OAU, the predecessor of the AU. This anniversary is an opportune time to look back at the achievements and shortcomings of the OAU/AU, to learn from the experience, and strategize on how our continental organization can fulfill the mandate of ensuring peace, security and development entrusted to it by the people of the continent.

My country Eritrea will celebrate its 32nd anniversary of Independence on 24 May 2023. Eritrea’s inalienable right to decolonization, which was denied in the early 1950’s, was achieved through a long and costly 30-years war of liberation on 24 May 1991.  Eritrea also went through a referendum process that was held in April 1993. In the event, Eritrea’s 32nd Independence Anniversary is a time to reflect on the experience of the last three decades and rededicate ourselves to build a cohesive nation worthy of the enormous sacrifices made to liberate the country and to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In this vein, the Government of Eritrea is implementing a holistic national development road-map to build on and consolidate the gains made in all sectors, including health, education, agriculture and fishery, water, social welfare, justice, environmental protection, energy, transport and communications etc. The plan is implemented in a way that ensures the participation of and the benefit of all sectors of the Eritrean society. I would like to mention some of the efforts in the various sector in order to showcase the comprehensive development endeavor.

Mr. Chairperson,

The consolidation of mobilization, organization and reenforcing of capacity remains a fundamental national development strategy, and has boosted resilience and progress. Furthermore, a policy framework that encourages private domestic investment is being updated. The opportunities include all segments of society, including Eritreans in the diaspora.

The Government of Eritrea has recently taken some important steps to develop the education sector in line with its human resource development policy and strategy. Accordingly, the Ministry of Education has been engaged in a fully-fledged education sector review. About a third of the children who were previously out of school at the pre-school and elementary levels have now been enrolled. Some steps have also been taken to expand and consolidate technical and vocational education and training. A comprehensive policy on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) which complies with the global target set for ECCE in SDG4 is being implemented. The policy on Special Needs Education/ Inclusive Education (SNE/IE) has also been reviewed and invigorated.

Eritrea continues to implement the Health sector 2022-2026 strategic plan to consolidate the Implementation of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health and Healthy Ageing Program.

To strengthen social welfare, Eritrea has developed and adopted the National Social Protection Policy and Strategy Plan that covers the period 2023-2026. In accordance with its strong commitment to the rights and welfare of youth, Eritrea has recently acceded to the African Youth Charter.

Mr. Chairperson,

In the agricultural sector, continuous efforts for structural transformation are taking place. Due to the efforts made by farmers and relevant governmental organizations, last year saw a substantive increase nationwide in planted area and harvest.

The priorities for the current year in water infrastructure are not limited to the construction of dams, but include interlinked measures such as afforestation, terracing, utilization of subterranean water etc.

In the energy sector the short-term road-map is geared at addressing the structural transition from subsistence to an industrial economy. The blueprint of the programme envisages phased implementation with initial additional output of 360MW in the immediate, short-term, phase. Moreover, the expansion of critical physical infrastructure, such as roads, is being pursued with added vigor.

With the objective of raising awareness of the public to safeguard the continuity of values and laws of the nation by enhancing active participation of the citizens, the Ministry of Justice held the Second National Law Week, from 13-18 March 2023.

Mr. Chairperson,

The interlink between peace and security, human rights and development is recognized globally. The Horn of Africa Region continues to face several challenges, the most recent one being the conflict that is raging in Sudan. The Eritrean government has called for, and is working towards, an immediate end to this tragic and deplorable conflict. In the event, Eritrea has opened its borders to receive, without fanfare, Eritrean and Sudanese civilians, as well as others, affected by the current conflict and share with them whatever it has.

Mr. Chairperson, in conclusion, I wish to reiterate Eritrea’s readiness to strengthen constructive engagement and cooperation, predicated on partnership, with the ACHPR and its commitment to fulfill its obligations under the Banjul Charter.

Thank you!

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