The Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group: More of the Same Fiction on the Way?

A little over six months ago, three key members, including two of the 5 permanent representatives, of the UN Security Council raised serious questions about the integrity and veracity of the 2011 report on Eritrea of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group. The challenges from the Russian, Chinese and South African representatives questioned the veracity of the key charges by the group against the young African nations, and some of them urged the monitoring group to do a better job in its future report.

However, the group, whose 2012 report is expected soon, given its track record since its inception seven years ago, is not likely to submit a report that has integrity or veracity. In fact, we should brace for a new wave of another fiction. In all its past reports it showed a great deal of capacity as a purveyor of Ethiopia’s outlandish fabrications about its archenemy Eritrea, including placing 2000 “well-armed” phantom Eritrean “soldiers” in Somalia to serve as a cover for Addis Ababa’s invasion of that poor Horn of African nation.

The South African Deputy Permanent Representative, Ambassador Doctor Mashabane, called on the group “to execute its responsibilities and mandate ... with professionalism, impartiality and objectivity. The Monitoring Group should never be influenced by political considerations outside of its mandate.” Adding, he said, “It is important for the Monitoring Group to closely guard its independence and professionalism in the work it does to assist the Security Council with the implementation of those measures.” He also urged the members of the Security Council “to desist from any temptation to use the Monitoring Group for political ends.”

The Russian Permanent Representative, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, was equally troubled by unfounded allegations against Eritrea which led to Resolution 2023 (2011). This was how he put it: "The text of the resolution contains a range of provisions that lack adequate foundation, .... In that respect we refer in particular to the 'planned terrorist attack' in Addis Ababa during the African Union summit there. The Russian Federation is categorically against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. However, in this case, the Security Council was not presented with convincing proof of Eritrea’s involvement in that incident. We have not seen the results of any investigation of that incident, if indeed there was one" (emphasis added).

The Organization of Eritrean Americans (OEA) calls on the United Nations to put an end to this disgraceful way of gathering data on the crisis-ridden Horn of Africa. No wonder the crisis in this troubled region continues unabated and it is likely to continue because the UN body mandated to gather data to help the UN Security Council make rational decisions pertaining to the problems plaguing this sub-region of Africa. It is a shame that the UN Security Council depends on such fiction gathered by a group that seems to allow itself to be used as a tool by Ethiopia and its supporters in the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict.

The people of this war-ravaged region deserve better from the UN and its bodies.