At the opening session of the 12th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy on Tuesday, 18 February 2020, Eritrea was listed alongside North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Russia and other authoritarian regimes for supporting human rights abuses in the world even while they are members of the UN Human Rights Council. He singled out a number of authoritarian states in connection with their unashamed recent support of China’s abusive treatment of its minority Uyghur Muslims, a million of whom are in forced ‘rehabilitation’ camps.
Mr. Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of the UN Watch, made the remark in his welcoming statement to an audience of over 700 participants in Geneva. He was speaking on behalf of the 25 international NGOs which co-sponsor the annually Geneva Summits, which are held a few days before the opening of a New Year session of the UN Human Rights Council now scheduled to start next week (24 February – 20 March 2020). Ms. Daniela Kravetz, the UN Human Rights Rapporteur for Eritrea is expected to present an oral report during this 43rd Session of the HR Council.
The day-long 12th Geneva Summit was addressed by pro-democracy activists, victims of abuses, scholars and other prominent speakers on a variety of topics related to human rights and democracy. Civil societies in many affected countries attend the summits annually and bring with them relatives or former prisoners and other victims of abuse. This year, Africa was represented by human rights victims and defenders from Malawi and Democratic Republic of Congo. (www.genevasummit.org).
Sadly, and as always, there was no Eritrean civil society activist or a victim of abuse from Eritrea taking the podium to testify the heartbreaking human rights situation in our country.