Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki is seen in Mogadishu, Somalia, on December 13, 2018. CPJ recently joined a complaint to the U.N. on behalf of jailed Eritrean journalists. (Reuters/Feisal Omar)

CPJ joins UN complaint on behalf of jailed Eritrean journalists

On July 21, 2022, the Committee to Protect Journalists joined the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights in partnership with seven other rights organizations and lawyers in a complaint filed to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention calling for accountability in the cases of Dawit Isaak and fifteen other journalists held behind bars in Eritrea.

The groups called for the immediate and unconditional release of Dawit and the other journalists who have been held in arbitrary detention, without trial and or access to their families or lawyers, for more than two decades, making them the longest known cases of journalist imprisoned around the world.

Mohammed Abdelsallam Babiker, the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, was quoted in a press release announcing the complaint saying that Dawit’s case was representative of not just the journalists who have been detained since the early 2000s, “but also that of hundreds of prisoners in Eritrea languishing in jails without due process of law for their real or perceived criticism of the government.”

In the press release, CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal said CPJ would continue to “pursue every path to justice” in the cases of Dawit and his colleagues.

Read the joint statement here.