United Nations human rights investigators say Eritrean officials have committed crimes against humanity, including torture, rape, murder and enslaving hundreds of thousands of people. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) United Nations human rights investigators accused Eritrean officials on Wednesday (June 8) of crimes against humanity including torture, rape, murder and enslaving hundreds of thousands of people. Atrocities had been committed since the country's independence in 1991 and were continuing, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry said in a report that was immediately rejected by the Eritrean government. Eritrea's poor treatment of its own people has motivated many thousands to flee the country, according to the U.N. refugee agency. The inquiry has compiled files on key suspects to assist future prosecutions, but Mike Smith, the Australian diplomat leading the inquiry, declined to give details or to say if President Isaias Afwerki was among them. Presidential Adviser Yemane Ghebreab said the report was biased and based on false evidence and failed to take into account Eritrea's achievements and the "continuing state of war" with neighbouring Ethiopia. The central accusation of crimes against humanity was "laughable", he said. Eritrea's government did not allow the inquiry team to visit the country, although its diplomats met the investigators at the U.N. headquarters in New York and in Geneva. The U.N. Human Rights Council will debate the report on June 21, and Eritrea will be the subject of a resolution brought by other African countries. Diplomats say Eritrea lacks allies who will defend it.