A Torture Survivor Drew These Pictures To Describe The Hell Eritrea Has Become

 |  By Charlotte Alfred

In one small East African country, the rule of law has been replaced by the rule of fear.

That was the conclusion of a yearlong investigation by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, which released its report this week. The report lays out in horrifying detail the mass surveillance, torture, enslavement and disappearances under Eritrea’s totalitarian regime since that country gained independence from Ethiopia in the early 1990s. The U.N. investigators said systemic human rights abuses in Eritrea are on a scale rarely seen anywhere else in the world and may constitute crimes against humanity.

The U.N. panel, which was established in June 2014, was not able to enter Eritrea, so investigators based their 484-page report on 550 interviews and 160 written statements from people who had fled the country. Many witnesses were still terrified to provide information to the commission, fearing the reach of Eritrean surveillance and consequences for their families back home, the report said.

Among those willing to tell their stories was an Eritrean who sketched out some of the gruesome torture methods being used and provided the drawings to the commission. A human rights investigator for the commission who helped draft the report said the artist’s identity was being kept strictly confidential for his or her protection.

“The drawings were very useful to help us portray more vividly the suffering and humiliation described to us by many witnesses,” she told The WorldPost. “The ‘tying methods’ are common forms of torture inflicted on both detainees and conscripts in Eritrea,” she said.

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Torch: Victims have their hands, and sometimes legs, tied or handcuffed together, with a stick under their knees. They are hung upside down and beaten, especially on the soles of their feet. © 2015 Eritrean torture survivor

Among the harrowing testimonies in the report, one survivor recalled, “They arrested me, handcuffed me and attached a rope in order to hang me like Jesus Christ but without my arms outspread.” His hands were paralyzed for months, and the pain still lingers, he told U.N. investigators. “There are no rules when torturing. They can beat you five minutes or an hour, as they wish,” he said.

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Otto: The victims’ arms are tied behind their backs and they’re often made to lie facedown on the ground. © 2015 Eritrean torture survivor

It is hardly surprising, the commission said, that many Eritreans are trying to flee their country. Leaving itself is dangerous, as the government keeps the border sealed with lethal force and locks up those suspected of planning to escape. If they manage to get out, more peril awaits. Last year Eritreans made up almost one-quarter of the passengers on often deadly Mediterranean voyages from North Africa to Europe. Nearly 11,000 Eritreans have already reached the shores of Europe this year, according to the International Organization for Migration.

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Helicopter: The arms and feet of the victims are tied behind their backs, and they are made to lie facedown on the ground or suspended in the air. © 2015 Eritrean torture survivor

The Eritrean government on Tuesday rejected the U.N. report as “indecent hyperbole” and denied its descriptions of government-sanctioned torture, forced labor and indefinite military conscription.

See more of the artist’s drawings with the torture methods labeled, and read the full report of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea here.

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© 2015 Eritrean torture survivor

Helicopter: The arms and feet of the victims are tied behind their backs, and they are made to lie facedown on the ground or suspended in the air. © 2015 Eritrean torture survivor

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Almaz (Diamond): Victims are generally hung on a tree with their elbows tied behind their backs and forced to stand on tiptoe. © 2015 Eritrean torture survivor

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Toilet breaks: Inmates can go out for toilet breaks once or twice a day, often in open spaces covered with human waste, while guarded at gunpoint. Former detainees reported being forced to relieve themselves under extreme time pressure and in humiliating ways. © 2015 Eritrean torture survivor

8 COMMENTS

  1. its common in ethiopia too even more than this but UN what they did? they have to take action against such a brave govts in Africa.

  2. These stupid and vicious people eventually get the government they deserve, They fought Ethiopia where they live, work, and trade comfortably to live a hell on Earth, ye Ethiopia Amlak will show us the mysery f these ungrateful people who hate Ethiopians and Ethiopia despite Ethiopia has always been good for them and their suffering is not coming to an end and their fake identity and State willl collapse soon as the State itself is founded on HATRED OF ETHIOPIA than LOVING THEIR STATE ARTERA

    THANKS TO ISSAYAS ARTERAWIYANEN ARACHEWEN ABELALEGN

  3. The woyane regime in Ethiopia is not better! We hope that the UN Huma Rights Investigation Body would now turn its attention to Woyane criminals and bring forward similiar documentations. God save our Ethiopia and its tormented people from woyane-hyenas!

  4. The drawings depict the true behavior of the EPLF. What is missing in the article is the inclusion of the TPLF. In the name of freedom, they have ruined the whole generation to go to waste.

  5. This is the regime many so-called freedom fighters from Ethiopia went to seek whatever assistance and shelter they tell us they need to ‘liberate’ the Ethiopian people by means of violence. This Al-Toweel Isaias is a thug and cunningly a sociopath. He has been killing his opponents including those with the mildest criticism since the late 1960’s. He is a master of plots and double crossing with no match in that part of the world. He is one heck of a blood thirsty dictator with more than 50 years of expertise in the craft. At the end of the day he is going to gabble up these so called freedom fighters one by one sooner if not later. Mark my word for it!!! He has to. He has the urge to kill and when he hears one word out of you that is potentially different, you will bite the dust and no one knows what happened to you. He will have no mo mercy for people who he thinks are from a ‘distorted’ society. He has told us all that we people who hail from that harmonious country known as Ethiopia are nothing but ‘distorted’. Our rich recent history is ‘distorted’. Our very creation as human beings is ‘distorted’. We are ‘distorted’! Our fathers and mothers are ‘distorted’!!! Our fore fathers were all ‘distorted’!!! He has shamed us all as people of ‘distorted’ nature!!! Someone who does not think twice about disposing of his own people, imagine how it would be a cake walk for him in wringing the neck of us who are condemned by him as shamefully ‘distorted’ people.

  6. What a surprise? Where is the freedom they are talking 24 hours and 24 years? They like to be hungover on the tree….. This is freedom indeed. .. ye Ahiya siga ……

  7. Dear editors:

    What happened to my comment? Is there anything in my comment that was deemed inappropriate? I would appreciate it if you be kind enough to let me know where I faulted. I am a bog boy and no problem with any constructive criticism.

    Thanks.

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