ethiopiantimes

July 12, 2011

Ethiopia A Long Way To Go In Achieving Human Rights Implementation

Filed under: Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 6:34 pm

Geneva, 12th July 2011 – Ethiopia was reviewed on 11th and 12th July 2011 by the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Human Rights Committee welcomed the initial report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 15 years after the State should have submitted its report, the Committee was finally able to begin its dialogue with the Ethiopian government.

The Committee expressed serious concerns about anti-terrorism legislation, particularly its use against journalists. The Committee also referred to the numerous cases of torture and ill-treatment, including in detention facilities.
In addition, the Human Rights Committee was dismayed by the situation faced by civil society. In particular, the Committee noted that the Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Proclamation infringes the rights to freedom of expression and association. The fact that independent NGOs are no longer allowed to work on human rights in Ethiopia demonstrates how “the freedom of expression and the freedom of association and assembly are only guaranteed to those organizations that are pro-government. If you work on human rights issues, you will soon find yourself in prison or in exile” said Obang Metho from Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia. The Committee has requested further information on the alleged refusal to register the Ethiopia Women Lawyers Association and the freezing of the bank accounts of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, “both well-known, well-established, and respected Ethiopian independent human rights organizations” according to Niels Jacob Harbitz, Regional Manager for East and Horn of Africa of the Human Rights House Foundation.

Finally the Human Rights Committee echoed the joint NGO report, which also addressed the difficulties faced by civil society organisations and the media in Ethiopia “Increasingly severe restrictions on the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, have effectively silenced or removed dissenting voices in Ethiopia to the point that the Ethiopian government now finds itself without any challenging views and faces little criticism inside the country,” according to Niels Jacob Harbitz.

At the end of the session the Human Rights Committee will make its recommendations public. “Ethiopia has a long way to go in achieving implementation, but a first step on this path would be the implementation of these recommendations as rapidly as possible in order to bring Ethiopia’s legislation and practice into line with its international obligations,” said Hamdi Addow of the Centre for Civil and Political Rights.

The report can be found on our website: http://www.ccprcentre.org/en/home/31

For more information contact:
Centre for Civil and Political Rights: Hamdi Addow, haddow@ccprcentre.org
Human Rights House Foundation: Niels Jacob Harbitz, niels.jacob@humanrightshouse.org
Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia: Obang Metho, obang@solidaritymovement.org

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