Björn Tunbäck of Reporters Without Borders (Sweden) and Swedish PEN has been involved in the campaign for journalist Dawit Isak’s release from the start. He told Cathal Sheerin about the campaign in Sweden and what states and intergovernmental organisations could be doing, but aren’t.
As Eritrea undergoes Universal Periodic Review with UN Security Council, the government is being asked to proof of life of the journalists who have been detained over the years.
There’s a wide gulf between the Eritrean government’s national report submitted to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and a shadow report compiled by RSF.
ARTICLE 19 is disturbed that the denial of freedom of expression, assembly and association rights remains “systematically entrenched” in Eritrea.
That’s the question 33 NGOs are asking Eritrea this World Press Freedom Day, after the Cano prize-winning journalist remains unheard from since 2005.
In September 2001, Eritrean security forces arrested 11 government officials, 10 journalists, and numerous other dissidents, all of whom had one thing in common – they had criticized President Isaias Afeworki’s leadership. None of them have been seen since.
Following Eritrea’s announcement this week that Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak is alive after nearly 15 years behind bars without trial or official charge, the International Press Institute renewed its call for the release of Isaak and all journalists detained there in connection with their work.
Dawit Isaak – co-owner of the weekly newspaper Setit – has spent half of his time in detention in solitary confinement, has been tortured and is in very poor physical and mental health.
Six Eritrean journalists, who had been held since a wave of arrests in February 2009, have been released on bail.
A Swedish prosecutor has closed an investigation into a complaint accusing the Eritrean authorities of crimes against humanity, torture and abduction in the case of Dawit Isaak.
As the human rights record of Eritrea comes under review for the second time under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism of the United Nations on 3 February 2014, PEN International calls on the Eritrean government to end violations of freedom of expression and the continuing practice of incommunicado detention without trial of writers and journalists.
On 19 November, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression held a live chat between award-winning journalist Susan McClelland and exiled Eritrean journalist Aaron Berhane, where they highlighted the challenges of expressing oneself in Eritrea’s rampant culture of impunity.
In January 2002, Eritrean journalist Aaron Berhane ran to freedom across the Eritrean/Sudanese border, leaving what is now considered to be one of the most censored countries in the world. Berhane’s persecution was part of a broader trend. September 2001 marked a brutal crackdown on free expression in Eritrea.
Reporters Without Borders submitted its contribution on Eritrea to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The report condemns the government’s total control of news and information since 2001.