Concern About Human Rights As Ethiopia Prepares For Elections – Douglas Mpuga (VOA)

November 21st, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopians go to polls next year amidst concerns about human rights abuses. (more…)

Ethiopians go to polls next year amidst concerns about human rights abuses.

As Ethiopians prepare for elections next year some in the opposition say a credible election is impossible without urgent political reforms.

The Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners Canada (SOCEPP-Can), an Ethiopian human rights group, this week held a one-day meeting in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, to discuss human rights issues in Ethiopia and the 2010 elections. The elections are slated for May 23 1010.

Aklilu Wendaferew, the chairman of the group, told VOA from Ottawa that the political and human rights situation in Ethiopia is cause for worry. “The political space has been narrowing since the election in 2005,” he said, “the government passed an NGO [non – governmental organization] law that is very restrictive of civil society and prohibits any human rights activity.”

“The free press in Ethiopia has been decimated, he noted, “many independent journalists have been forced into exile; some are forced to self censor.”

Wendaferew added that the [political] opposition is completely restricted and there are violation human rights.

Commenting on the recent conviction of 27 Ethiopians accused of conspiring to create public havoc in an attempt to bring down Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government, Wendaferew dismissed their trial as ridiculous. “The Ethiopian government has used the court system to push its agenda and to criminalize any dissent in the country.”

He said these are political problems that require political solutions. He also pointed out that “we have heard that some of these people were tortured in detention. This is against international law. Torture is a serious crime.”

Wendaferew said SOCEPP-Can will continue to speak out against human rights abuses in Ethiopia and urged the government to stop such abuses.

He said given what has happened since the last election, it is impossible to hold a free and fair election. “Given the situation [prevailing] now I do not believe there can be a free and fair election in Ethiopia.”

“If this government is serious about holding a free and fair elections there are certain things that must be done,’ Wendaferew said.

He urged the government to open the political space, free political detainees, negotiate with all opposition and have comprehensive discussions about the rule of law and human rights.

Ethiopia’s polls on May 23, 2010 will be the first since 2005 when disputed election results sparked violence that claimed some 200 lives.

  1. koster
    | #1

    As long as the love affair of the “friendly tyrant”/Meles and the West is over he can kill and loot as much as he wants and still stay in power. When the love affair is over, he will be removed like Saddam Hussien but unfortunately millions are suffering in due time.

    As long as President Obama reverses, the American policy of promoting and supporting “friendly tyrants”, millions in Ethiopia and Africa suffer under tyrany and poverty as usual.

  2. Anonymous
    | #2

    this man will stay in power.Cos no one tries to remove him by force

  3. monu
    | #3

    as i know there is no free election next year you now why the government on poer is not coming by election so there is only one choice ask my 2 years old doughter. i can give you my phone no,

  4. monu
    | #4

    to tell you the truth i injoy such kind election discusion becouse of that there is a community gather i get new friendes i get information about job aportunity at same time i am diforce i am looking wife so i am not concern about the result becouse i before they count it the number.

  5. Assta B. Gettu
    | #5

    To whom to vote for in 2010 and for what purpose!

    In many democratic countries such as America, Canada, England, Costa Rica, and many other nations, people go in great number to the poling stations to cast their votes for a person whom they think that person would lead their country in the right direction or course. They are determined to do so and to freely exercise their voting rights without fear, intimidation, and harassment from the government in power. They will continue to march, if necessary, on the streets, raising their voices and expressing their grievances in writing on the newspaper and showing in graphic pictures the faces of those individuals whom they support and empower.

    They will not rest or sit idle until their political goals are met in a democratic way without a single shot being fired at them – the peaceful marchers and demonstrators. They have confidence that the power of democracy will protects them from being shot at, or mishandled or taken to jail for raising their voices against injustice if justice and the rule of law are violated in their country.

    They have been taught from day one the indispensable value of voting rights and the execution of such natural rights throughout their lives. They have been taught to control their victory during the final Election Day or the acceptance of their defeat gracefully without making defamatory remarks about their opponents, rather standing up side by side with their opponents and making plans for the development of their country.

    This remarkable way of exercising democracy in a civilized manner by a responsible government that understands the sufferings of his people and listens carefully to their voices is rare to find in Ethiopia under the Woyanne regime where people are herded, watched, and kept in darkness like animals for sale or slaughter.

    Ahead of time, some Ethiopians are told secretly for whom to vote and get rewards after the vote is over or forfeit their properties if they vote otherwise or contrary to the wishes of the Woyanne government. Therefore, instead of losing their jobs, their properties, and their social status in their communities, most of the Ethiopian people are compelled to vote for the Woyanne government against their God-given will, and such abuse of power by the Woyanne regime continues to be as a national or, to some degree, international norm approved and supported by the western world.

    So far, the media, the clergy, the rabbi, the Imams, and the professors of the Ethiopian Universities – all of them – have not come forward to help and educate the Ethiopian peasants, merchants, and housewives to say “no” to a dictatorship and to say “yes” to a democratic leadership during the Election Day.

    Right now, in Ethiopia, neighbors are watching their neighbors; teachers are watching their students; students their teachers; nurses are watching their doctors; doctors their nurses, not to say anything against the Meles regime. Even whispering into someone’s ear and sending a message to another friend is dangerous and risky under the tight control of every means of communication by the Woyanne death squad.
    In this case, to understand to whom to vote for and for what reason is very easy as one sees millions of Ethiopians heading to the polling stations in 2010 Election Day to cast their votes for one person as they have been instructed to do so ahead of time. By any means, there may be thousands of courageous Ethiopians who will ignore Meles’ secrete warnings not to vote for the other party but vote any way for the opposing party guided by their consciousness and putting themselves and their families in danger.

    When such selfless Ethiopians demonstrate their voting writs against the will of the Woyanne government, they know they will be persecuted and finally put into jail; however, before this tragic event repeats itself, is there any foreign government that is willing to protect the rights of such innocent Ethiopians and their properties from being confiscated by the lawless Woyanne government?

  6. Assta B. Gettu
    | #6

    To whom to vote for in 2010 and for what purpose!

    In many democratic countries such as America, Canada, England, Costa Rica, and many other nations, people go in great number to the poling stations to cast their votes for a person whom they think that person would lead their country in the right direction or course. They are determined to do so and to freely exercise their voting rights without fear, intimidation, and harassment from the government in power. They will continue to march, if necessary, on the streets, raising their voices and expressing their grievances in writing on the newspaper and showing in graphic pictures the faces of those individuals whom they support and empower.

    They will not rest or sit idle until their political goals are met in a democratic way without a single shot being fired at them – the peaceful marchers and demonstrators. They have confidence that the power of democracy will protects them from being shot at, or mishandled or taken to jail for raising their voices against injustice if justice and the rule of law are violated in their country.

    They have been taught from day one the indispensable value of voting rights and the execution of such natural rights throughout their lives. They have been taught to control their victory during the final Election Day or the acceptance of their defeat gracefully without making defamatory remarks about their opponents, rather standing up side by side with their opponents and making plans for the development of their country.

    This remarkable way of exercising democracy in a civilized manner by a responsible government that understands the sufferings of his people and listens carefully to their voices is rare to find in Ethiopia under the Woyanne regime where people are herded, watched, and kept in darkness like animals for sale or slaughter.

    Ahead of time, some Ethiopians are told secretly for whom to vote and get rewards after the vote is over or forfeit their properties if they vote otherwise or contrary to the wishes of the Woyanne government. Therefore, instead of losing their jobs, their properties, and their social status in their communities, most of the Ethiopian people are compelled to vote for the Woyanne government against their God-given will, and such abuse of power by the Woyanne regime continues to be as a national or, to some degree, international norm approved and supported by the western world.

    So far, the media, the clergy, the rabbi, the Imams, and the professors of the Ethiopian Universities – all of them – have not come forward to help and educate the Ethiopian peasants, merchants, and housewives to say “no” to a dictatorship and to say “yes” to a democratic leadership during the Election Day.

    Right now, in Ethiopia, neighbors are watching their neighbors; teachers are watching their students; students their teachers; nurses are watching their doctors; doctors their nurses, not to say anything against the Meles regime. Even whispering into someone’s ear and sending a message to another friend is dangerous and risky under the tight control of every means of communication by the Woyanne death squad.
    In this case, to understand to whom to vote for and for what reason is very easy as one sees millions of Ethiopians heading to the polling stations in 2010 Election Day to cast their votes for one person as they have been instructed to do so ahead of time. By any means, there may be thousands of courageous Ethiopians who will ignore Meles’ secrete warnings not to vote for the other party but vote any way for the opposing party guided by their consciousness and putting themselves and their families in danger.

    When such selfless Ethiopians demonstrate their voting rights against the will of the Woyanne government, they know they will be persecuted and finally put into jail; however, before this tragic event repeats itself, is there any foreign government that is willing to protect the rights of such innocent Ethiopians and their properties from being confiscated by the lawless Woyanne government?

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