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NEW YORK (July 16, 2018) — On July 12, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) submitted contributions to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Eritrea and...

NEW YORK (July 16, 2018) — On July 12, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) submitted contributions to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Eritrea and Vietnam. The UPR is a mechanism of the council established to periodically examine the human rights performance of all U.N. member states. HRF used this opportunity to draw attention to pressing human rights issues in two states run by dictatorial regimes.

In the individual submission for Eritrea, HRF explained that the country has failed to improve human rights conditions since its last official review in 2014. HRF stated that there are systematic, widespread, and gross violations of human rights in the country. The report highlighted recent cases of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings, and discussed the appalling situation in Eritrea’s military training centers, where Eritreans are often subjected to various forms of torture and ill-treatment.

“Afwerki’s regime has no respect whatsoever for the human rights and dignity of the Eritrean people. Fundamental rights such as the right to life, freedom of expression, association, religion, and due process of law are consistently and systematically violated. The U.N. Human Rights Council must urgently press the government of Eritrea to answer for its egregious human rights abuses,” said Celine Assaf Boustani, HRF’s international legal associate and co-author of the UPR submission on Eritrea.

HRF urged the Eritrean government to release all prisoners of conscience, and ensure humane treatment to those held in detention facilities and military training centers. HRF also called on the government to fully implement the Convention Against Torture and to recognize the competence of the U.N. Committee Against Torture to handle individual complaints.

In the joint submission with CIVICUS and VOICE on Vietnam, HRF stressed that the Vietnamese government systematically cracks down on human rights defenders and those who dare to dissent.

“Vietnam is one of the worst violators of human rights in Asia, but the government has so far faced very few consequences for its actions. We urge the U.N. Human Rights Council to hold Vietnam accountable and support the brave human rights defenders who continue to carry out their work even as the communist regime seeks to undermine them,” said Joy Park, HRF’s legal counsel for Asian countries.

The UPR is the first international human rights mechanism to address all countries and all human rights. Its main goals are the improvement of the human rights situation on the ground and the fulfillment of member states’ human rights obligations and commitments.

The submissions to the UPR were prepared by the Human Rights Foundation Center for Law and Democracy (HRF-CLD). HRF-CLD promotes legal scholarship in the areas of comparative constitutional law and international law, with a focus on international human rights law and international democracy law. HRF has presented submissions in the past to the UPR for Nigeria, Turkmenistan, and Cuba.

Read the full submission for Eritrea here. For more information on human rights in Eritrea, watch Vanessa Berhe’s talk from the 2018 Oslo Freedom Forum and Meron Estefanos' talk from the 2013 Oslo Freedom Forum.

Read the full submission for Vietnam here. HRF also recently submitted an individual complaint to the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention drawing attention to the case of jailed Vietnamese activist Trần Thi Xuân. Read the individual complaint here.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

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