Geneva – Eritrea was on Monday accused of enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture by a UN review of its human rights record.

The lack of freedom, isolated and autocratic country`s brutal repression of basic rights which prompted a mass exodus was condemned by Diplomats at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The government of Eritrea’s “widespread violation of human rights and the lack of prospects for participatory democracy contribute to large numbers of Eritreans fleeing the country,” US representative Peter Mulrean told the assembly.

Chile and other countries insisted that all reports of enforced disappearances were to be investigated, Denmark said it had done far too little to eliminate torture and Estonia lamented the “disregard of freedom of expression”.

Tesfamichael Gerahtu, Eritrea’s ambassador to Britain, batted away the slew of charges, insisting that if anything was limiting human rights in Eritrea, it was the “unjustified sanctions” imposed on the country by the international community.

“To add insult to injury, Eritrea has been subjected to a litany of accusations of gross violations of human rights,… (that) are mainly motivated by sinister political agendas,” he told the council.

Reporters Without Borders has ranked it the worst country in the world for press freedom, but Gerahtu insisted “There is no media censorship in Eritrea.”

A total of 10 journalists and 11 opposition politicians arrested in a 2001 crackdown, most of them died in custody while others are still being held in secrete locations “were not detained because they expressed their ideas, (but because of) treason.”

“I wish there had been a lie-detector device there. It was a mockery,” exiled Eritrean journalist and writer Dessale Berekhet Abraham said.




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