The United Nations (UN) is calling for the formation of a tribunal or special court to prosecute Eritrean leaders over allegations of widespread human rights abuses since 1991.
The calls come after a UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the nation found that the government enslaved, imprisoned, committed forced disappearances, torture, rape, persecution, murder and other crimes against the citizens to remain in power, according to the report.
“What we recommended among others … an array of recommendations one of them being the referral to the (International Criminal Court), another one being that the African Union establish an accountability mechanism and there are things which could be used such as universal jurisdiction and other accountability [measures] in order for people of Eritrea who have suffered human rights violations to get justice,” Sheila Keetharuth, who headed a UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights to the horn of Africa nation, told Voice of America.
The commission said that there is no political will from the government to address the abuses, adding that the absence of a constitution has forced civilians to live in fear, in the nation where there is no press freedom.
The UN said the Eritrean government’s widespread violation of human rights has forced hundreds of its citizens to seek asylum in Europe.
The government dismissed the report, saying that it has been unfairly treated by the international community despite its determination to uphold human rights of its citizens.
“Eritrea, as it will keep stressing, is a nation born in the struggle for human rights. Its number one priority remains ensuring the welfare and dignity of its people,” read the statement issued during the UN General Assembly in New York last month.
Eritrea is one of Africa’s leading nations in illegal immigrants to Europe. About 5,000 flee the horn of Africa nation every month, according to data by Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat.
At least a quarter of the 132,000 migrants who landed in Italy between January and September were Eritreans.
The nation also accounted for most of the 3000 immigrants who have died this year in the Mediterranean, trying to cross into Europe, Wall Street Journal reported.