UN Human Rights Council urged to address situation in Ethiopia

September 9, 2016

15 major human rights rights groups have written a joint letter to the U.N. Human Rights Council urging an immediate halt to “excessive” use of force by Ethiopian security forces. The letter dated Thursday 8 September also calls for an independent investigation into the reported killings of hundreds of people in Ethiopia’s Amhara and Oromia states since November 2015 amid protests. “Authorities have also arbitrarily arrested thousands of people throughout Oromia and Amhara during and after protests, including journalists and human rights defenders,” the letter says. The Human Rights Council convenes next week in Geneva.

Earlier this  year UN Rapporteurs had already expressed their concern: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/un-rapporteurs-urge-ethiopia-to-end-violent-crackdown-and-impunity/

[Protests over regional concerns in Ethiopia have turned into broader anti-government protests demanding wider freedoms and the release of detained protesters. Tensions rose over the weekend when more than 20 people were killed during a fire at a prison on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, which holds many opposition figures and journalists. see also Front Line’s appeal of 10 August 2016, Ethiopia – Violent Crackdown on Human Rights Protests:

Front Line Defenders expresses serious concern over the Ethiopian government’s continued violent repression of the peaceful efforts of human rights defenders (HRDs), journalists, and citizens of Ethiopia to promote human rights in the country. On 5-7 August 2016, in the Oromia and Amhara regions, it is reported that approximately 100 people were killed by state security forces during peaceful protests for land rights, indigenous rights and good governance. Many more were injured and arrested throughout the weekend. Human rights defenders have reported to Front Line Defenders this week that journalists and activists are often the “first targets” when protests erupt. Yared Hailemariam, an Ethiopian rights defender, told Front Line Defenders that in addition to the violent crackdown witnessed in Ethiopia’s streets, journalists, protest leaders, and rights activists have been followed and threatened via phone calls and emails for their role in mobilising civil society. The violent repression of Ethiopia’s most recent mass movement calling on the government to respect the land rights of the Oromo and Amhara people follows nearly two years of intense repression of human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society organisations, actions the authorities often justify by invoking the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP). In 2014, security forces repressed a series of demonstrations in Oromia that voiced concern for the «Integrated Development Master Plan». The plan was slated to remove Oromo citizens, including farmers, from their land to develop and expand the capital city, Addis Ababa. In November 2015, another series of demonstrations again brought to the fore these issues of land dispossession. The government cracked down violently on the movement, arresting many human rights defenders, including journalists, teachers and students. Since 2014, the calls of the Oromo people have become a country-wide movement demanding good governance, land rights and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.]

One of the three Final Nominees of the MEA this year is the group of “Zone 9 Bloggers” https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/an-early-save-the-date-11-october-2016-martin-ennals-award-for-human-rights-defenders-in-geneva/

Sources:

https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/09/08/joint-letter-un-human-rights-council-ethiopia

HRC33: Addressing the escalating human rights crisis in Ethiopia

Groups Urge UN Human Rights Council Over Ethiopia Protests – The New York Times

http://news.trust.org/item/20160718143535-o5uir/?source=hpMostPopularBlogs

2 Responses to “UN Human Rights Council urged to address situation in Ethiopia”


  1. […] May 26, 2017  A group of 13 NGOs (inter alia Freedom House, CIVICUS, World Organisation Against Torture, Reporters sans Frontières, International Service for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de I’Homme, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect) published on 25 May 2017 a Joint Letter Addressing the Pervasive Human Rights Crisis in Ethiopia. They draw attention to persistent and grave violations of human rights in Ethiopia and the pressing need to support the establishment of an independent, impartial and international investigation into atrocities committed by security forces to suppress peaceful protests and independent dissent. And they ask countries to prioritise and address through joint statements the ongoing human rights crisis in Ethiopia at the upcoming UN Human Rights Council from 6 – 23 June 2017. [for last year’s call see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/09/09/un-human-rights-council-urged-to-address-situation-in-e…] […]


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