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Friday, September 2, 2016

Free the Democratic Space in Ethiopia, Stop the Killing and Release the Imprisoned

Africa Faith & Justice NetworkFree the Democratic Space in Ethiopia, Stop the Killing and Release the Imprisoned


The recent government clashes with peaceful and unarmed protesters in Ethiopia, where security forces have killed, jailed, detained, tortured, restricted access to information and kidnapped people from their homes and taken them to unknown locations, highlights once again the obvious: the Ethiopian government continues to restrict people’s freedoms to exercise their rights to free speech and assembly. In June 2016, Human Rights Watch reported, “Since November 2015 over 400 people are estimated to have been killed, thousands injured, tens of thousands arrested, and hundreds, likely more, have been victims of enforced disappearances.”

Let it be unequivocally known to the Ethiopian Government and every African leader at any level of government that their duty is to serve the public. It is in fact the moral obligation of any the government to protect citizens’ rights, which includes the guarantee of a free political space for citizens to peacefully oppose government views and demand reform.

There is more than enough evidence which shows that any government which does not listen to opposing views turns into an authoritarian regime, if not one already. Tyranny stands for bloodshed, oppression, corruption, war, poverty, discrimination, human rights violations, and privilege for a few of the elite and politically connected rather than democracy, freedom, transparency, accountability, peace, prosperity and justice.

Africa Faith & Justice Network:

Reminds the Ethiopian government that the political space it occupies belongs first and foremost to the Ethiopian people, including those who hold opposing policy viewpoints. The Ethiopian people should not be forced to fight for what is already theirs. AFJN calls on the Ethiopian government to free the political space entirely, therefore providing concerned citizens the arena to organize and voice their opinion on matters of their choice without fear of intimidation
Condemns in the strongest terms the recent and previous Ethiopian government crackdowns on dissenting voices, which led to massive loss of lives, arrests, imprisonment, torture and disappearances.
Insists that all political prisoners – including those held in unknown places – be unconditionally released without delay.
Calls on Ethiopian government to establish a special commission of inquiry to investigate with full transparency and independence about the extra-judicial killings, detentions and forced disappearance of people.
Calls on the United States government to ensure that of the $513,667,000 in taxpayers’ money planned in aid to Ethiopia for Fiscal Year 2017, nothing goes to fund the government’s security forces which are used to oppress the Ethiopian people.
Calls on the United Nations to send Special Rapporteurs to Ethiopia to fully investigate the extra-judicial killings, detentions and forced disappearance of citizens