Human Rights & Genocide

How long can Ethiopia state of emergency last?

A decade of development in Ethiopia, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, is at risk if the country continues to ban political opposition and muzzle the media, the UN has warned.

Ethiopia is now in its eighth month of emergency rule, which was imposed in October last year to crush its biggest protests in 25 years.

The unrest started in the Oromia region in 2015, when the largest ethnic group, the Oromo, took to the streets demanding more rights.

Demonstrations then spread to the Amhara region, home to the second major ethnic group.

The state of emergency, initially declared for six months, included curfews, social media blocks, and restrictions on opposition party activity. It was extended for another four months in March amid reports of continuing violence.

READ MORE: Report – 669 killed in Ethiopia violence since August

Almost 700 people have been killed in the violence, a government-sponsored commission said in April, but human rights groups said the toll could be higher.

Zeid Raad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, has urged authorities to allow UN officials to visit the affected region and establish the facts. He has expressed concern over reports of the arrest of more than 26,000 people.

Negeri Lencho, Ethiopia’s information minister, talks to Al Jazeera on the prospects for peace in his country.

Al Jazeera: How does Ethiopia as a country, as a government, respond to allegations of human rights abuses?

Negeri Lencho: Thank you. In the first place, Ethiopian government is an accountable government. Ethiopia is in the process of building democracy in the last two decades.

In that process, not only building democracy, but also working to alleviate the problem of poverty and escape the majority of the people out of poverty.

And as you’ve also noted, Ethiopia was in dire poverty 25 years before, but now it is one of the fastest growing economies.

Ethiopia rejects UN’s call to investigate protest deaths

Al Jazeera: And yet you’ve run a state of emergency first for six months and another four. That’s going to stifle growth, isn’t it?

Lencho: I understand that. Actually the economic growth we have achieved was made possible because of peace and stability, we know that.

The number one enemy of the people of Ethiopia is poverty, and we can get rid of poverty where there’s peace and stability.

And what we’ve experienced was compromising the efforts we’ve been making so far. The government was trying to respond to the demands that the people already expressed.

As a young democratic country, we believe that any problem, whatever the case may be, can be resolved through peaceful forum.

Al Jazeera: Dialogue. Is there dialogue happening? You talk about poverty being the enemy. But those two ethnic groups, they want to be recognised. They want their rights as ethnic people of Ethiopia to be recognised. Are you talking to them? Are you listening to them?

Lencho: Yeah. Actually the government is the government of these people as well. Because the government or people in government positions have not come from elsewhere, but from the people as well.

And they raise questions about the equitable use of economic benefits and employment and so on. But the problem was not the question that the public raised.

The government was responding to the question, to its level. But unfortunately what propelled the government to impose a state of emergency was the demonstrations you know took a different direction than the public intended. Not only the government.

It was compromising peace and order, the stability, which doesn’t help any of the people who have the question.

READ MORE: Ethiopia – Ethnic nationalism and the Gondar protests

Al Jazeera: Are you going to let the United Nations in? The United Nations High Commissioner wants access to people who have been arrested. There’s limits on the media as well. These things are not helping the country or its image.

Lencho: Actually it is the responsibility of the Ethiopian government because it is a democratic country, it is accountable to its people and what the government said was the government can’t do it. That means there is an independent human rights commission …

Al Jazeera: Which praised the government for the way it handled things.

Lencho: It did not praise if you really read the report. It came out with a report that seeks the offenders to be accountable at the same time, not only praising the government.

Actually the report shows that in some places the action taken was to restore peace and order, and was appropriate because of the way the direction took that was against the interests of the civilians as well.

Al Jazeera: So when can the Ethiopian people look to have their freedom restored? When will the state of emergency be lifted?

Lencho: Well, actually, the state of emergency in Ethiopia is not unique. When such problems arise elsewhere in different parts of the world.

We have even eased many of the provisions in the state of emergency and we have seen protests in the country.

It has been extended only for four months, and now one month has almost passed. After we expect it will be lifted you know when these three months end.

 

 

The paradox of TPLF’s success and survival

By Teshome M. Borago
May 26, 2017

As the latest development with WHO’s appointment of Tedros Adhanom shows, the TPLF continues to benefit from the achievements of our ancestors. The fact is, if the TPLF was not able to mobilize and secure the support of all African nations; let alone winning the W.H.O. Director general seat, Tedros would not even be considered for the position, due to his lack of experience and his failures to report Cholera outbreaks. And this is where the irony of Tedros, and by extension, the TPLF, continues to reappear like a plague.  Continue reading

Ethiopia: World Bank Ignores Land Grabbing

Filed under: News,News Feature |

Stockholm — Sales of huge land areas of Ethiopia, by the Ethiopian government, to foreign investors, have led to starvation and forced displacement. In his documentary Dead Donkeys Fear no Hyenas, Swedish film director Joakim Demmer exposes the consequences of land grabbing, and holds the World Bank complicit.

The chase for this Green Gold started over ten years ago. Just before the global financial crisis, agricultural land areas in developing countries became a target for investment among global investors.

Gambela Land Grab

Joakim Demmer experienced first hand at the Addis Abeba airport how emergency food supplies was being unloaded while local food produce was being loaded for export. Continue reading

Tensions resurface in Ethiopia’s Amhara region following hotel attacks blamed on ‘anti-peace forces’

Months of anti-government protests in Amhara and Oromia in 2016 led government to declare state of emergency.
By Ludovica Iaccino

The Ethiopian government has blamed “anti-peace” forces for a grenade attack that killed one and wounded dozens in the northern city of Gondar on 10 January. The attack, occurred at the Entasol hotel, follows a bomb blast at a hotel in the city of Bahir Dar earlier in January.

”The attack might be a new tactic started by anti-peace forces as the strategy they had been pursuing in the past failed,” Commander Assefa Ashebe was quoted by the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate as saying. Continue reading

Why Ethiopians unwaveringly must punish every TPLF operatives for conspiracy against the people of Ethiopia

November 16, 2016

by Teshome Debalke
No one in his or her right mind and at this late hours denies; the Tigray People Liberation Front is strangling to death the rights and livelihood of the people of Ethiopia by controlling everything Ethiopians hear, see, write, read and eat and the land they live under and depended on for their survive. Continue reading

Ethiopia’s tourism revenue declines after unrest


Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2, 2016 (Reuters Photo)
By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

November 16, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopia’s tourism revenue has shown a decline after months long violent protests, Ministry of Culture and Tourism said on Wednesday.

According to the ministry’s report, revenue obtained from tourism has fallen by over 7.4 million USD during the first quarter of the current Ethiopian budget year.

The turn down the ministry said was due to decline in tourists visiting the country in fear of safety after violent protests in many parts of the country.

The state of emergency declared last month was also mentioned as a cause for the turn down in tourists flow to the country.

The ministry said the revenue collected in the first quarter of the year was some $ 872 million, which was below the target set for the quarter.

Thousands of tourists have reportedly cancelled planned trips to the horn of Africa’s nation following the violent protests and state emergency.

In the last decade number of tourist visiting Ethiopia has steadily increased.

Ministry Public and International Relations Director, Gezahegne Abate told journalists that the ministry has began dispatching up-to-date information about the current situation of the country to allow tourists get the right information.

Ethiopia is among the top 10 countries recommended to be visited in 2017 by Lonely Planet, the world’s prominent travel publisher.

Since last year the east African nation has faced an unprecedented wave of violent protests that claimed the lives of over 500 people.

But the country’s most recent protests were sparked after a religious festival in Oromia region turned into violet anti-government protests claiming lives of 55 in stampede.

After the protests spread to many parts of the country, Ethiopia imposed a six-month state of emergency to contain the deadly the anti-government demonstrations which were most held the Oromia and Amhara regions.

The protests first erupted over demands for land rights however later turned in to calling for increased political and economic rights.

Last week, Ethiopia has lifted a ban on diplomats travelling more than 40km from the capital Addis Ababa without permission.

Officials say the travel ban against diplomats was imposed for the safety of diplomats.

The travel restrictions were lifted as the situation nationwide appears to be more stable.

Ethiopia’s State of Emergency Inquiry Board last week announced that authorities have arrested 11,607 people under the state decree.

(ST)

 

 

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