By Sophia Tesfamariam
Eritrea rejects in the clearest of terms Amnesty International’s wild accusations that it has “jailed at least 10,000 political prisoners.”
Amnesty’s transparently political assault on Eritrea is totally unsubstantiated, with the organization unable to back its claims with facts. It is hardly surprising that it admits that it does not “know the exact figure.”
Amnesty claims that the prisoners are kept in “unimaginably atrocious conditions.” Once again this merely reflects its own fanciful flights of imagination and is not based on credible evidence.
Amnesty’s cynical manipulation of human rights does not only further erode its credibility but it is also a disservice to human rights and the thousands of concerned people who back its campaigns.
Amnesty International knows full well that Eritrea was born in a remarkable thirty year struggle for human rights. The consolidation of the human rights of the people of Eritrea in their diversity- ethnic and cultural groups, women, youth, children, the disabled- remains an overriding priority for the government and people of Eritrea.
Eritreans are the first to admit, and need no prompting to remind them, that they still have a long way to go to secure a life of dignity and prosperity for themselves in their young nation. By the same measure, they don’t hesitate to strongly rebuff all those who abuse the vital cause of human rights in the pursuit of a political agenda aimed at undermining Eritrea’s efforts at comprehensive nation-building.
Stepping boldly into the political, Amnesty International claims that “Twenty years on from the euphoric celebrations of independence, Eritrea is one of the most repressive, secretive and inaccessible countries in the world.” Eritreans and the thousands of foreigners from all over the world who work and live in Eritrea cannot but wonder how far off the mark Amnesty chooses to be, as the sordid picture it paints resembles little to the reality.
Undeterred, Eritreans and their friends, not just in Eritrea, but all over the world will be participating this month “in euphoric celebrations of independence.” Of course, Amnesty International will take no notice of these indicators of the Eritrean people’s stance, smug in its self righteous belief that it can, with impunity, attack and denigrate a young nation, which despite many odds, manages to progress and improve the lives of its citizens.