GENEVA / ERITREA

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Crimes against humanity have been committed in a widespread and systematic manner in Eritrean detention facilities, military training camps and other locations across the country over the past 25 years when the country gained its independence. These are the findings of a new report by the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on human rights in Eritrea, presented in Geneva. UNTV CH
Description

STORY: GENEVA / ERITREA
TRT: 02:47
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 8 JUNE 2016, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

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Shotlist

RECENT, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Zoom in, exterior Palais des Nations

8 JUNE 2016, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, press briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Mike Smith, Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea: “The Commission has concluded that Eritrean officials have committed crimes against humanity, the crimes of enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, persecution, rape, murder and other inhumane acts have been committed as part of a widespread and systematic campaigns against the civilian population since 1991. The campaign has been aimed at maintaining control of the population and perpetuating the Eritrean leadership’s role”.
4. Med shot, panel
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Mike Smith, Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea: “Unfortunately the gross human rights violations we have documented are continuing to take place. They often happen behind closed doors and they continue to instil fear in Eritreans not only in the country but also in the diaspora. The issues relating to Eritrea’s military/national service programs include the arbitrary and indefinite duration, the use of conscripts as forced labour including manual labour, the inhuman conditions of service, rape and torture often associated with service and the devastating impact on family life and freedom of choice for the individuals”.
6. Med shot, audience
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Mike Smith, Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea: “The Government of Eritrea permits only four religious denominations to practice, Members of other religious denominations are often subject to detention until such time they renounced the denomination and accept membership in an officially authorized group. Ethnic minorities including the Kunama and Afar have also been subject to arbitrary detention and extrajudicial killing. The Commission has found that this extreme discrimination constitutes a crime of persecution and that it is ongoing. Rape and murder have also been committed. These two are ongoing and constitute crimes against humanity”.
8. Close up, journalist
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Mike Smith, Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea: “The Commission has also concluded that the Eritrean Government has not a political will nor the institutional capacity to prosecute the crimes we have documented. It recommends that the UN Security Council refer the situation in Eritrea to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and that the African Union establish an accountability mechanism.”
10. Wide shot, presser

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Storyline

Crimes against humanity have been committed in a widespread and systematic manner in Eritrean detention facilities, military training camps and other locations across the country over the past 25 years when the country gained its independence. These are the findings of a new report by the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on human rights in Eritrea, presented today (8 June) in Geneva.

Mike Smith, Chair of the COI on human rights in Eritrea said today to the media that “the Commission has concluded that Eritrean officials have committed crimes against humanity, the crimes of enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, persecution, rape, murder and other inhumane acts have been committed as part of a widespread and systematic campaigns against the civilian population since 1991. The campaign has been aimed at maintaining control of the population and perpetuating the Eritrean leadership’s role.”

The COI was first established by the Human Rights Council in June 2014. The Commission’s first report was published on 8 June 2015 and documented a number of grave human rights violations in the State’s military/national service programmes, including their prolonged and indefinite duration. The COI was instructed by the UN’s Human Rights Council in July 2015 to further “investigate systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights in Eritrea.”

Mike Smith said that “unfortunately the gross human rights violations we have documented are continuing to take place. They often happen behind closed doors and they continue to instil fear in Eritreans not only in the country but also in the diaspora. The issues relating to Eritrea’s military/national service programs include the arbitrary and indefinite duration, the use of conscripts as forced labour including manual labour, the inhuman conditions of service, rape and torture often associated with service and the devastating impact on family life and freedom of choice for the individuals.”

Furthermore, the Chair of the COI reported that “the Government of Eritrea permits only four religious denominations to practice. Members of other religious denominations are often subject to detention until such time they renounced the denomination and accept membership in an officially authorized group. Ethnic minorities including the Kunama and Afar have also been subject to arbitrary detention and extrajudicial killing.”

Despite requests to the Government of Eritrea, the Commission was denied access to visit the country. Therefore the COI conducted interviews in 13 countries.

The COI Chairperson said that “the Commission has also concluded that the Eritrean Government has not a political will nor the institutional capacity to prosecute the crimes we have documented. It recommends that the UN Security Council refer the situation in Eritrea to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and that the African Union establish an accountability mechanism.”
The report states that “the façade of calm and normality that is apparent to the occasional visitor to the country, and others confined to sections of the capital, belies the consistent patterns of serious human rights violations.”

The COI is scheduled to present its report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 21 June 2016.

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