Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Eritrea. Addendum: Views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review
26. NATIONAL SERVICE, UNDER-AGE MILITARY CONSCRIPTION, AND TORTURE (Recommendations 62-63; 67-71) Rejected:
Members of the Eritrean Defense Forces are highly disciplined and humane. In rare cases of abuse, severe punishment is imposed on offenders. There is no under-age recruitment in Eritrea’s Military and no person is tortured or subjected to cruel and degrading or inhuman treatment by the police or the military as a general practice. Nevertheless, the Government spares no effort in prosecuting anyone found guilty of subjecting people to inhuman and degrading treatment, torture, or exacting forced and/or free labor of the youth in the National Service program.
27. NATIONAL SERVICE (Recommendations 64-66): Rejected.
The SoE considers as sacred its constitutional duty and responsibility to defend the country’s sovereignty and A/HRC/13independence. National Service, which is enshrined in the Constitution, was established with that sacred duty and responsibility in mind. Today, Eritrea is under a military threat not the least because Ethiopia continues to hold Eritrea’s sovereign territory in flagrant violation of international law and the final and binding ruling of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC). As long as that threat exists, Eritrea has the sovereign right to protect its sovereignty and independence the way it deems appropriate. The inability or unwillingness of the international community in general and the sponsors of the Algiers Peace Agreement in particular to hold Ethiopia accountable for its refusal to abide by the EEBC ruling and international law, has been one of the serious causes for the deterioration of peace and security in the Horn of Africa. The double standard with which the international community treats Eritrea vis-á-vis Ethiopia is there for the whole world to see.
28. Moreover, Eritrea would like it to be known that it began its demobilization program in 2002. During the last five years, graduates of the Sawa School have been, depending on their academic performance, provided with basically three career opportunities: joining degree program institutions, 1-3 year diploma or certificate schools or the civil service.