UNPO Submits Report for Midterm Universal Periodic Review on Ethiopia
Photo courtesy of Charles Roffey @Flickr.com
On 23 June 2017, UNPO submitted a midterm report on Ethiopia to UPR Info, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). This report is published three years after the State’s second cycle UPR. It examines Ethiopia’s compliance with the recommendations that were made to it during its last review, focusing especially on the violation of the Oromo and Ogadeni communities' rights.
In 2013, UNPO’s report on the occasion of Ethiopia’s UPR underlined that both the Oromo and the Ogadeni suffer various forms of persecution in their attempts to practice their Constitutional rights to assembly and freedom of expression. It showed how peaceful demonstrations and protests were met with heavy-handed police action and arbitrary arrests. The report also underlined that the issue of extrajudicial killings was persistent, despite the previous recommendations made to the country, the Ethiopian government having a rather oppressive policy towards human rights activists and their relatives, particularly towards the people of Oromia and Ogaden. Finally, the publication dealt with the issue of torture in Ethiopia, stressing how the Ethiopian government did little to protect its defenseless citizens from the cruel tactics employed by its police forces.
Since then, the implementation by Ethiopia of its key international human rights obligations has remained pretty poor, especially since the declaration of the state of emergency in October 2016, which has seen the authorities use the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and the Charities and Societies laws to justify any gross violation of minorities' basic human rights.
The present report focuses on recommendations that were made on the topics of the freedom of the press, opinion and expression; freedom of association and peaceful assembly; arbitrary arrests and detention; sexual violence and the civil society. Its main conclusion is that despite the numerous reports and recommendations made to Ethiopia by its counterparts, NGOs and international organisations, the State continues to adopt a head-in-the-sand policy, relying on arguments such as the necessary shift through this turmoil to enable the democratisation process or the major role of of Ethiopia as a "stable" country in the Horn of Africa.
Among the recommendations that UNPO urges the Ethiopian government to consider are:
1. To abide by its own constitution with special attention to article 29 which grants all Ethiopian citizens freedom of expression;
2. To respect its constitution and international norms, especially article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and stop extrajudicial killings;
3. To initiate an independent and credible investigation into the reports of extrajudicial killings, torture and inhumane treatment of civilians and into the violence used during the protests and bring those found guilty to justice;
4. To put an end to the state of emergency that has been declared in October 2016;
5. To ensure the implementation of unilateral and bilateral agreements signed and ratified by Ethiopia which are intended to uphold the respect of human rights, the promotion of democracy and the furtherance of good governance.
You can access the report here.
The report is also available on UPR Info's website.