CIVICUS Condemns Suspension of NGOs in Ethiopia – CIVICUS, Johannesburg, South Africa
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation condemns a move designed to further restrict civil society activities by the Ethiopian Government — which has suspended the operations of 42 NGOs for “acting out of their mandate”. (more…)
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation condemns a move designed to further restrict civil society activities by the Ethiopian Government — which has suspended the operations of 42 NGOs for “acting out of their mandate”. Authorities in the Southern region of Ethiopia have accused NGOs reporting on human rights abuses as seeking to interrupt peace and development of the region.
“The latest action by the government is another sign of Ethiopia’s rapid slide toward increasing levels of authoritarianism,” said Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of CIVICUS. “It seems that no stones are being left unturned to curb democratic dissent and marginalise voices seeking accountability of public institutions.”
Earlier this month, a new anti-terrorism law was passed with provisions ambiguous enough to label peaceful blockade of public services or incidental damage to property during public demonstrations as terrorist acts. The broad ambit of the law curbs media freedom and gives security forces extensive powers to carry out surveillance and intercept communications, restricting civil liberties.
The suspension of the 42 NGOs is the latest in a series of moves to restrict civic space in the country. In January 2009, the government introduced a law to limit the activities of civil society organisations (CSOs) to a mere service delivery role by preventing them from promoting human and democratic rights, gender equality, conflict resolution and accountability of law enforcement agencies if they received more than 10 per cent of their funds from international sources. The law also curbs the independence of CSOs through provisions that permit the authorities to institute inquiries against them on unspecified grounds and require them to give advance notification of meetings.
CIVICUS fears repression and further restriction of democratic rights in Ethiopia in the run up to 2010 national elections. The disputed 2005 national elections in which the present government held on to power were followed by large scale arrests of opposition activists, journalists and civil society defenders.
CIVICUS calls upon the Government of Ethiopia to revoke the suspension of NGOs and review restrictive aspects of the Charities and Societies Proclamation and the Anti-terrorism Proclamation to bring them in line with international standards and best practices.
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is a global movement of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. The Civil Society Watch (CSW) programme of CIVICUS tracks threats to civil society freedoms of expression, association and assembly across the world. In 2008, CSW tracked threats in 61 countries across the globe.
For more information contact:
Civil Society Watch Programme Officer
Tel: +27- 11 -833 5959 mob: +27 714698121