Is the EDA’s charter an obstacle to participation?

                                             By Fesseha Nair

My previous article was on “national conference” not on EDA and the Sharia Law but how Mr. Yishak connected the sharia law with my article and its analysis is simply to attack my personality, because I have directly pointed the actors and designers with an attitude of suspicion, fear and dismay from the Islamic teachings in Eritrea and the Moslems in Eritrea. This is the trend and culture that need to be discussed impartially and be changed; otherwise it will lead us to destruction.

The hate politics of Islam has its source from the Eritrean Tigrinya speaking Coptic Christians. This trend has its historical reasons is living and still nurtured and cherished by elite Eritrean Kebesite Coptic Christians, for example the hate campaign run by Meskerem and Dekebat is a tangible witness of defaming the Moslems and their all sacrifices for self –determination of the Eritrean people. I myself am catholic Christian and abide by the laws of catholic teachings in my private life. The sub-articles in article 1 under the fundamental principles of the charter never say that Eritrea will be ruled by Sharia law or Christian law.

Look below;

1.4.        Strive to establish principles of respect for religious freedom, cultural indigenous beliefs and universal liberties pursuant to traditional and national diversities. Ensure that Eritrean nationals and nationalities have the right to self determination founded on the principles of equality and mutual respect.

1.5.        According to the constitution, Moslems have the right to apply” Sharia Law that regulate their day to day activities. Christians too, have the right to apply their religious beliefs and the right to practice their religious rules regulating their  relations.



Most pressing issues in Eritrea since the birth of Eritrean nationalism are the issues connected with identity – religion, ethnicity, territory and culture. Either political parties during the political struggle or political organization never tried to formulate policies to deal with such issues.

After the independence of the country and before it, to claim your rights was forbidden. If you ask your rights, you are called religious, tribalist and regionalist. The multiple- identity of Eritreans is natural and was not created by colonialists as said by some semi-intellectual Eritreans.

Those who call themselves the experts of the rights and duties of citizens should analyse for us what are these rights and duties? When the Eritrean communities ask their rights, there are some people who become crazy and do everything to stop these demands.

 I would like to remind the so called Eritrean politicians to read further the following references:-

  1. Cassesse, Antonio. 1995. Self –determination of peoples: A legal appraisal. Cambridge University Press
  2. Packer, J. and K. Myntt.eds.1993. Protection of Ethnic and linguistic minorities in Europe. Abo: Abo academic University.
  3. Thornberry,Patrick. 1991. International Law and Rights of Minorities. Oxford: Clarendon press.
  4. United Nations. 1989. A compilation of Human Rights instruments. Geneva: United Nations


Democratic procedures and values provide the means to deal sensibly and fairly with civil conflicts. If democracy is to serve as a framework for peaceful coexistence of communities in Eritrea, it has to be defined in both procedural and substantive terms.

The fundamental challenges of our time are the concept of state accommodating a diversity of cultures, religion, languages and communities. What form of state and government can accommodate this diversity is not clear by those who call themselves political organizations. Organizations that have no clear stand on the fundamental rights of the Eritrean diversity are sooner or later failures or are gradually become one-party state and dictatorship.

There is a disagreement on values of human rights by some Eritrean elites. Tensions exist between those who support religious and ethnic principles and those who espouse individual claims. The principles of religion and ethnicity in the EDA’s charter are based on the Universal Human rights  principles-which was the extension of the UN Charter that addresses ethnic and religious conflicts in the world. ( SEE , the two covenants in 1966- the interanational Covenant on Civil and poltical rights ( ICCPR) and the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, together with the Universal Declaration of human rights form the International bill of rights.


“ Acts committed by the regime in Eritrea are to destroy, in whole or in part, a national , ethical, racial or religious groups are evidences why the EDA charter has adopted the two articles to protect the rights of the Eritrean people as instruments dealing with religious and ethnic persecution. A political organization striving for democracy, human rights and rule of law denying these rights is not a democratic organization


The provisions in article 1 number 1.4 and 1.5 agree with the international conventions and human rights declarations. The charter defines the legal and constitutional norms that protect the rights of religion and ethnicity in Eritrea, based on the principles of fairness, social justice and good practice, they provide a substantive framework for the operation of democracy and place a limit on the power of majority.


 I would like to ask Mr. Yishak to go back to the Eritrean history and reassess it correctly based on genuine historical facts.                          


Religious and ethnic conflicts in Eritrea were evidenced since the birth of Eritrean nationalism and has continued, This article is not to respond to Mr. Haileab, or to respond those who write false articles in Dekebat and Meskerem websites.  But, would like remind that the misinformation propagated by them, in analysing the internal conflict was partial and is heading towards destructive stage by using abusive descriptions on the believes of islam and Moslems in Eritrea.


I have mentioned the unionist , nhana ilamana and the regime in Eritrea that their real political cleavages were or are not originating from Eritrean broad nationalism,  but Tigrinya Christain Highland nationalism. A good writer focuses on the historical facts without partial and emotional expressions. But, Mr. Haileab lacks this knowledge and wants to twist the true history of Eritrean nationalism by accusing the Eritrean Moslems and their religion as  hinder to Eritrea’s nationalism and sovereignty.


You can say anything about my personality, but abusing and defaming the religion of others is unacceptable and is beyond the law of freedom of press. The verses you have quoted and explained will be examined and can be case for taking legal proceedings.


The article written by Yishaq Haileab under a title, “ Yet another commentary on the disturbing aspects of EDA’s Sharia Charter” published in the ELFRC’s website-Nharnet, later withdrawn was nothing but just an emotional expression of our friend without considering its consequences. I would like to thank to the Nharnet Webmaster for its immediate steps by withdrawing the rubbish article written by Haileab.


Mr. Haileab and his likes would have been involved in bringing the internal conflict out of prolonged phase of violence and design feasible and sustainable model for its peaceful management instead of blaspheming religions of others without no knowledge and reason.


The EDA charter is not a constitution but an agreement between member organizations of the EDA. It is a tool addressing effectively the conflict issues, it can be improved and revised if the members agree on it but the external pressures by non –members is not the correct way to change the articles in the charter.

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Posted by on Apr 11 2006 Filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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