Skip to main content

Legal Help | Ayuda

International Mechanism Submissions

Eritrea - Universal Periodic Review - Death Penalty - October 2023

Date: October 20, 2023
Country: Eritrea
Issues: Death Penalty
Mechanism: Universal Periodic Review
Report Type: Stakeholder Report
View and Download Document:

This report addresses Eritrea's compliance with its international human rights obligations with respect to the death penalty; prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; conditions of detention; enforced disappearances; arbitrary arrest and detention; administration of justice and fair trial; and human rights defenders.

Eritrea has not formally abolished the death penalty or implemented a moratorium on executions, nor has it limited the application of the death penalty to the "most serious" crimes. Although Eritrea has not sentenced anyone to death or executed anyone in many years, capital punishment remains a possibility under Eritrea's existing laws, particularly given the lack of an independent judiciary and insufficient safeguards to ensure fair trials. People serving criminal sentences in Eritrea experience poor detention conditions, including torture, overcrowding, insufficient food and water, and unhygienic surroundings. Arbitrary arrest and detention and enforced disappearances are common, particularly with regard to people perceived to be government critics.

This report examines the current state of the death penalty in Eritrea and recommends Eritrea (1) abolish the death penalty and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This report further recommends that, in the interim, Eritrea should: (2) institute an official moratorium on executions; (3) limit the death penalty to the most serious crimes, as defined by international human rights standards; (4) ensure timely access to competent counsel for all defendants accused of capital offenses; (5) take comprehensive steps to eliminate the use of torture and ensure that courts do not consider evidence obtained through torture; (6) provide for independent judicial oversight of conditions of incarceration; (7) codify and enforce rights safeguarding fair trials; and (8) discourage threats and prosecute violence against human rights defenders.