Woyanne raps HRW over call to reject aid bill – ADDIS ABABA (AFP)

October 14th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopia on Tuesday condemned Human Rights Watch’s call on the country’s lawmakers to reject a draft law that would give government more control in the affairs of foreign aid groups. (more…)

Ethiopia on Tuesday condemned Human Rights Watch’s call on the country’s lawmakers to reject a draft law that would give government more control in the affairs of foreign aid groups.

The New York-based rights group on Monday said the Charities and Societies Proclamation to be debated by parliament this month would “criminalise human rights activity and seriously undermine civil society groups.”

Ethiopia’s information ministry said the group’s call “contravenes directly the sovereign power and rights of the Ethiopian people and government.

“Ethiopia’s internal affairs are within the sovereign power and rights of the Ethiopian people and government,” it said in a statement.

It added that HRW call was to “patronise the opinion of the international community” after it called on donor governments to warn Addis Ababa that the law would jeopardise funding.

The legislation would give the government greater control over foreign NGOs and ban them from work related to ethnicity, gender and children’s rights, HRW said.

It would also carry severe criminal penalties for violations, including three to five years of imprisonment for minor administrative violations, the group added.

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