21 December 2012
GENEVA (21 December 2012) – The newly-appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea, Beedwantee Keetharuth, on Friday urged the Eritrean authorities to cooperate with her mandate, as required by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
“I hope that the Eritrean Government will consider the mandate of the Special Rapporteur as an opportunity to start a fresh and constructive dialogue on human rights issues that have been raised by the international community and other stakeholders,” Ms. Keetharuth said. She also noted that the primary concern of the Special Rapporteur is to provide an objective, fair and impartial picture of human rights in Eritrea.
The human rights expert also said she trusted the Eritrean Government would view her mandate as an opportunity “to carefully address Eritrea’s compliance with its human rights obligations as contained in international treaties to which the country is a party.”
As Ms. Keetharuth is due to present her first report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2013, she requested meetings with Eritrean diplomats in Geneva and in London at the start of her mandate.
“The aim was to introduce myself and present my vision of the mandate in a spirit of openness, as well as to explore avenues for cooperation. Unfortunately these meetings have not yet taken place,” Ms. Keetharuth said. “I have now requested to travel to Eritrea in early 2013.”
In the meantime, the Special Rapporteur will engage with all others concerned by human rights in Eritrea, including those who consider themselves to be victims of alleged human rights violations, human rights defenders and other civil society actors.
Beedwantee Keetharuth was appointed as the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea during the 21st Session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2012. She took up her functions on 1 November 2012. As Special Rapporteur, she is independent from any government or organization and serves in her individual capacity. A lawyer from Mauritius, she has extensive experience in monitoring and documenting human rights violations, advocacy, training and litigation in human rights in Africa.
UN Human Rights, country page – Eritrea: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/ERIndex.aspx
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