April 25, 2017
Photo courtesy of Oromia movies@Flickr
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is joining Human Rights Watch in responding to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (ECHR)’s oral report to the parliament released on 18 April 2017. This report addresses the Oromo, Amhara and SNNPR protests that took place between June and September 2016, before the country was locked down by the state of emergency.
As mentioned in this article, the report misrepresents the number of deaths due to state-sponsored violence and considers the measures taken by security forces as mostly proportionate and appropriate. But numerous other criticisms must be pointed out, such as the incoherence between the alleged security forces’ violence and the victims’ testimonies and findings of independent investigators.
Moreover, although the Commission recognizes that the protests were driven by legitimate grievances, it does not consider the response by security forces as excessive and seriously minimizes the abuses carried out by security forces to deal with protesters.
It must be noted that, in its quality of government body tasked to investigate recent anti-government protests, the composition of the Commission itself is partial, making it a simple mirror of government officials’ and security forces’ narrative.
In this context, the report reflects once again the lack of independence and impartiality of Ethiopian institutions, allowing us to reaffirm that the country’s claims that it is on a path towards democracy is only make-believe. The systematic refusal of the Ethiopian government to see external institutions carrying out independent investigations on human rights violations does nothing but highlight and bring attention to the abuses it perpetrates.
Human Rights Watch’s Felix Horne comes to similar conclusions, as can be read here in their official press release.