News October 18, 2016 at 08:30 am

UN Asks Ethiopian Government To Respect Human Rights During State of Emergency

Caroline Theuri October 18, 2016 at 08:30 am

October 18, 2016 at 08:30 am | News

The Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) has advised the Ethiopian government to use dialogue to resolve all grievances during the ongoing state of emergency.

According to the New York Times, on Monday, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon through his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said that he is concerned about the rules imposed by the Ethiopian government on Saturday.

UN SG Ban Ki-Moon and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Photo Credit United Nations

Ki-Moon further urged the government to be “calm” and “to protect fundamental human rights” during the emergency.

According to ABCNews.com, the Ethiopian government is now restricting the movement of diplomats 40 kilometers outside of the capital city of Addis Ababa without official permission during the state of emergency.

The emergency also bars anyone from making contact with groups that are labeled as “terrorists” and restricts people from watching media channels, such as the foreign-owned Oromia Media Network (which is is based in the United States) and Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio (which has offices in America and Europe).

Those who fail to adhere to these rules will face three to five years in prison. BBC.com notes that there are in total seven rules that were introduced during the state of emergency, including a 12-hour curfew, a ban on demonstrations, and social media censorship.

With more than 100 diplomatic missions in Ethiopia, the rules have elicited reactions from the international community.

According to AfricaNews.com, an anonymous diplomat termed the rule concerning the movement of envoys as “repressive,” and by Monday, there were more than 1,000 suspects arrested for attacking foreign-owned businesses, though investigations are yet to be completed. The arrests reportedly occurred in the Ethiopian town of Sebeta.

Regarding the treatment of the media, non-governmental groups, such as Human Rights Watch, have previously accused the government of being hard on those who are critical of it, such as the press and lobby groups.

Ki-Moon is the latest voice from the international community urging the respect for human rights during the emergency, but on Friday, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP) of the European Commission Federica Mogherini also echoed the same message during a call with Ethiopian Premier Hailemariam Desalegn in which they agreed that the human rights of the citizens must be respected in line with the country’s constitution.

The international community, including the United States and Germany, have also urged the Ethiopian government to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens.

And the emergency has already begun taking a toll on investor confidence. According to VOANews.com, 11 foreign-owned companies in Ethiopia have been burned down, with Germany being the largest exporter of Ethiopia’s agricultural products, such as coffee.

The six-month Ethiopian state of emergency was declared on October 8th to curb violent protests between security forces and citizens from the country’s main ethnic groups, the Amharra and Oromo, over the access to economic, political, and social resources.

The protests have so far resulted in more 500 deaths and the destruction of property.

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