In a twist of irony, Eritrea - which is often dubbed the "North Korea of Africa" for its harsh authoritarian rule - has apparently copy and pasted text from a North Korean statement in an official reply to a UN human rights council report detailing "systematic and gross" human rights violations in the country on the Horn of Africa.
The 484-page report provides evidence of the Eritrean government's widespread abuse - including torture, extrajudicial executions, sex slavery, forced labour and mass killings against certain ethnic groups - which may amount to crimes against humanity.
The UN commission of inquiry also condemned the role of Eritrea's indefinite military service in forcing approximately 5,000 people each month to flee their country. It also said prisoners are kept in "extremely harsh" conditions and citizens are subject to constant surveillance and violations of privacy.
The Eritrean mission in Geneva called the report "totally unfounded and devoid of all merit".
"These accusations are simply a continuation and escalation of politically motivated campaign to undermine the political, economic and social progress the country is making, including in the area of human rights. They are an attack, not so much on government, but on the civilized people and society who cherished values and dignity."
At the end of the long statement, which also accuses the US of setting up a "human rights racket" to "denigrate the cause" of the Eritrean government, the text reads:
"We are fully ready for any confrontation with the U.S. and will shatter the reckless "human rights" racket by the hostile forces through our toughest reaction.
"The moves of the hostile forces to dare provoke the socialist system of the DPRK which was chosen and has been consolidated by the Korean people will not be able to escape disgraceful doom."
The gaffe was first spotted by Philippe Dam, Human Rights Watch advocate at the Human Rights Council in Brussels:
A quick search showed that the original statement was published in February by the DPRK spokesman for the foreign ministry in reference to a conference held in Washington about human rights violations in North Korea.
Eritrea and North Korea are the first and second most-censored countries according to a list compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
UPDATE: According to Tom Miles, Reuters correspondent in Geneva, it was the UN that committed a mistake in the document:
IBTimes UK has reached out to the UN in Geneva for a confirmation.
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