Ethiopia MPs must make human rights central to state or emergency debate: Amnesty

Ethiopia MPs must make human rights central to state or emergency debate: Amnesty

(africanews) —- Ethiopia’s Council of Ministers imposed a six-month state or emergency (SoE) on February 16, 2018. By law, the measure needs parliamentary ratification in two weeks hence lawmakers have been summoned for that reason.
The SoE has proven to be unpopular among the people and to some extent the diplomatic community. People especially in the Oromia region have defied the rule and held gatherings leading to clashes and deaths in some cases.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”16″]The United States said it ‘strongly disagreed’ with it whiles the European Union said political reforms did not require emergency rule, but rather an open democratic space.
The Constitution of the country requires all of you to be governed by the Constitution, the will of the people, and your conscience. In deliberating on this state of emergency proclamation, it is essential that you pay full account to the human rights of the people of Ethiopia.[/perfectpullquote]

Addis Ababa has insisted that the measure was to curb spreading violence across the country. The Foreign Minister is on record to have said it could be revoked by a new Prime Minister. Ethiopia is awaiting a successor to Hailemariam Desalegn who resigned a day before the SoE was declared.

Amnesty International, a global rights group is advocating that lawmakers should put human rights at the heart of their deliberations on whether or not to ratify the emergency rule.

In an open letter to MPs, Secretary General of Amnesty International Salil Shetty said, “I have noted with concern the recent escalation, in gravity and magnitude, of human rights violations in Ethiopia, especially in Amhara, Oromia and Somali Regional States of Ethiopia.

“Some aspects of the current state of emergency proclamation tabled before you violate international human rights law obligations that Ethiopia is bound to respect.”

“The Constitution of the country requires all of you to be governed by the Constitution, the will of the people, and your conscience. In deliberating on this state of emergency proclamation, it is essential that you pay full account to the human rights of the people of Ethiopia,” Shetty said.

Amnesty is on record to have documented widespread abuse during the last SOEthat was imposed in October 2016 at the height of the Oromo protests. It was extended by four months after its initial expiration in April and was finally lifted in August 2017.