The United Nations has urged the African Union (AU) to investigate reports citing human rights violations in Eritrea.
An initial report from the UN Human Rights Council said the organisation’s Security Council should be involved in proceedings. However, the UN’s most powerful body has neglected to take action, instead calling on the African Union to hold its own investigations.
The UN Human Rights Council published a 484-page report detailing a series of crimes against humanity in Eritrea since 1991. Describing a ‘vast security network’, the report accuses Eritrea’s government of murder, rape, torture and enslaving hundreds of thousands of people. The report called on the UN Security Council to refer the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC). However, the council fell short of this recommendation and now the AU will have to decide the course of action.
Despite the UN choosing not to refer Eritrea’s case to the ICC, rights groups are welcoming calls for further investigations. Suleiman Hussein, chairman of Citizens for Democratic Rights in Eritrea, described the recommendation as “a huge blow” for the Eritrean government.
“It is also a very strong message to those who operated with total lawlessness for so long and that it won’t be long before the days of impunity and the rule by terror come to an end,” Mr Hussein said.