Ethiopia: Human Rights Day 2013 by Council for the Defense of Citizen Rights Ethiopia

December 12th, 2013 Print Print Email Email

December 10, 2013 is Human Rights Day (HRD). Proclaimed in 1950 by the United Nations as a marker for the Universal declaration of Human Rights and in 1993 as the establishment of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, HRD is a solemn day to remind us of the dire human rights situation in Ethiopia. Thousands of courageous political prisoners languish in the country’s notorious jails without due process as do many prisoners of conscience (such as journalists and religious leaders).

It may be recalled that the Ethiopian people were subjected to unbelievable atrocities by the military (Derg) government as well as groups opposed to it in the 1970s and 1980s. After a partial restoration of the freedoms of speech and association in the 1990s under the ethnicist EPRDF government, the rising demand for a meaningful exercise of citizen rights and political engagement since 2004 has been met with draconian laws, mass arrests, and miscarriage of justice with impunity. Ethiopia annually is ranked with alarming consistency among the worst countries as a routine violator of human and political rights by such international observers as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, and the U.S. Department of State.

We need only mention some of the more notable actions in the country over the past five years:

• On the heels major electoral losses to the opposition parties in the 2005 parliamentary elections, the defacto one-party state summarily arrested opposition politicians and some 2000 demonstrators, and killed 193 peaceful protesters in the streets.

• This was followed by a massive recruitment of the youth to join the ruling party which swelled ruling-party membership to some 5 million. The recruits are trained and paid to constitute an ever expanding network of control of citizens down to street blocks in the cities and isolated hamlets in the rural areas.

• The intensification of the suppression of political dissent aimed at incapacitating independent political parties, decimating the independent media, and hamstringing independent NGOs was enshrined in law in 2009. That year, a draconian Charities and Societies Law was passed which, among other things, prohibited local charities from engaging in human rights and voter education activities if they receive more than 10% of their income from foreign sources or from soliciting domestic resources in excess of USD 2,500 before registration as well as engaging in income generating activities that are only incidental to their purposes.

This plus the almost unlimited authority of the NGO regulatory agency has had the effect of nullifying their right to free speech, advocacy, and international contact of local NGOs. As if this is not enough, the politically insecure regime enacted in 2009 the universally condemned Anti-Terrorism Law whose broad sweep criminalizes virtually any criticism of government policy. Predictably, this law has been deployed as a thinly disguised excuse for politically-motivated arrests of opposition leaders, bloggers and print journalists, including Andualem Aragie, Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu, Wubshet Taye, and notable leaders of the Muslim Community who resisted serious government interference in their religious affairs.

• Ethiopians have also been subjected to unprecedented internal displacements and orchestrated labor exports to the Middle East which has opened them to abuse an appalling and inhuman mistreatment we are witnessing in Saudi Arabia. Pastoral communities in the Gambella and Omo Valley regions have been coercively displaced from their ancestral lands to make way for mega farms leased to foreign investors, and mega power or irrigation projects—with little planning or compensation.

Furthermore, tens of thousands of young Ethiopians, desperate to escape chronic unemployment and government harassment, are being killed and brazenly subjected to physical and mental abuse in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and several Mediterranean countries while their own government looks the other way.

ETHIOPIAWINNET calls upon all Ethiopians and the international community to observe this solemn occasion as sober moment for expressing our collective concerns with the worsening human rights situation in Ethiopia. We are especially baffled that a poster-child of rights abuse has a seat in the U.N. Human Rights Council.

We urge all Ethiopians and friends of the Ethiopian people to be united behind the long and arduous struggle to
honor in practice the human, civil, and political rights of all.

  1. aha
    | #1

    The end game of this press release is to urge “all Ethiopians and friends of the Ethiopian people to unite behind the long and arduous struggle to honor in practice the human, civil, and political rights of all”. It also appears the human rights violations has three components and serves as a common denominator to all ethnic groups, although genocide and ethnic cleansing has been perpetrated over certain ethnic groups than others. Even at that I do not see any strategy mentioned to achieve the goal of all Ethiopians and friends rallying the “arduous struggle to honor in practice the human, civil, and political rights of all”.

    Having said that, let me put in perspective the human rights violations by HIM’s regime, the Derg regime and the TPLF/eprdf regime in resistance to the down fall of their respective regimes. HIM’s regime committed atrocities over left wing revolutionaries over land reform, and left wing liberation movements over oppression of nations and nationalities.
    The Derg regime with its military dictatorship and Marxisit and Lenninist ideology has perpetrated human rights violations to maintain its status quo against resistances from the liberation movements against oppression of nations and nationalities, and those engaged on class struggle seeking civilian rule than military dictatorship. Yet of the previous regime stood up to maintain Ethiopian unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, I presume, by holding together Ethiopia as one nation state under the national flag of green, yellow and red. The TPLF/eprdf regime does not reflect these goals, nor do its mirror images and is constructed under the ideologies of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totalitarianism and/or state capitalism as its economic model with respect to the silent majority and free-market capitalism with respect to TPLF/political, TPLF/EFFORT, TPLF affiliated enterprises, cadres and forgien corporations. It is also engaged in perpetrating human, economic, political and environmental crises in the past 22 years, while its predecessors did not, given the amount support they received from their respective donor nations, other than humanitarian aid. The TPLF/eprdf regime is engaged in human rights violations in defense of its constitution of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totalitarianism and/or state capitalism against resistances with those of national agenda and ethnic nationalism fighting to secede and ethnic federalists engaged in ethnic agenda for respect of ethnic rights, equality of ethnic regioens/ “yekil mengistats ikulent mebit mekeber and political space”, as opposed to individual rights, liberty and equality to have precedence over ethnic and secessionist rights, Ethiopian Nationalism, the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Ethiopia. These ideological differences puts the political parties into positive forces with the national agenda and negative forces with ethnic agenda as negative forces of disintegration both from the stand point of ethnic nationalism and ethnic federalism, while they share in common human rights violations in common with those with the national agenda from the TPLF/eprdf regime, the constitution of which they want to be left intact with respect to ethnic federalism, secessionism and totalitarianism and/or state capitalism, which does not allow for individual freedom, liberty and equality to have precedence over ethnic and secessionist rights, free market capitalism and to prevail over totalitarianism/and state capitalism and democracy to prevail over ethnic rule with independent branches of government; in order to maintain its constitution and its derived law such as anti-terrorism.

    The pragmatic and logical solutions are to face off the human right violations through ones own democratic government or through the international court and uniting behind the national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians along with common strategies to achieve those goals by Ethiopians and its friends.

  2. kentu
    | #2

    1980 when mengistu was in power one Ethiopian lady she use to work in soude Arabia as a maid and she has despute about salary with soudi family and deport her at that time I was working as a polit in Ethiopian airlinens so the lady when she is boarding the plane she through all soudi clothe. and she put it in trash bag in riad airport at that time as Ethiopian I feel proud and happy not only me all the plane crew. what about now after 30 years the soudi depoted all Ethiopia after torture rape steal the money they came without anything even they arrive their own country still they wear soudi cloth I feel great shame not as Ethiopian but as a humanbeing sham on you and I say you got what you wand you deserve it.if youo you are then no body not proud wh

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