Eritrea accuses U.N. rapporteur of smear campaign, witch-hunt

The Eritrean government has reiterated its accusation against the United Nation Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Sheila Keetharuth.

In the latest instance, the information minister, Yemane Ghebre Meskel described the activities of Keetharuth as a dogged smear campaign and witch-hunting of Eritrea.

“In her dogged smear campaigns & witch-hunting of Eritrea, Sheila Keetharuth continues to fabricate/recycle false stories with mindless frenzy.

“What is more reprehensible is the UNHRC’s incapacity or unwillingness to check the excesses of this compromised person.”

It is not the first time that Eritrea has clashed with Keetharuth in the line of her work. The U.N. Human Rights chief in November 2017 singled out Burundi and Eritrea as member country’s that were threatening its officials because of their work.

Keetharuth in a 2017 presentation told a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva that Eritrean authorities had detained hundreds of perceived opponents this month after a school director who defied government orders died in custody. She added that most of those arrested were males and some were as young as 13.

She is on record to have said that leaders of the country in the Horn of Africa should be tried for crimes against humanity including torture, rape, murder and enslaving hundreds of thousands of people, a U.N. investigation set up by the Council said in 2016.

Of Eritrea’s main human rights headaches according to reports are the forced conscription of people into the military. The government insists the measure to sure up their security in the face of an aggressive neighbour in Ethiopia.

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