Association for Human Rights in Ethiopian has been releasing a serious of press releases urging the government to fulfill its responsibilities and respect human rights listed in International Conventions that the country has ratified; and the Ethiopian constitution. Our organization has also been urging the government and government bodies to fulfill their responsibility in protecting citizens from atrocities and human rights violations and hold those responsible for the atrocities accountable and take the necessary legal actions against them. It can also be recalled that we advised on taking precautionary and remedial measures to avoid the escalation of conflicts
However, there are still widespread human rights abuses in various parts of the country. Our organization is concerned that the acceleration of human rights abuses may affect our country’s sixth national election. On April 30, 2021 civilians were killed in three parts of the country. According to a report on April 3, 2021, by various credible media outlets including state owned media, vehicles traveling from Asosa to Metekel and from Bure to Nekemte were attacked by gun men, killing more than 20 people and injuring many others. In addition to this, it was reported that security forces were also the victims of the Metekel attack. As a result, we are deeply concerned about the repeated loss of citizen’s lives due to vehicle attacks and the threat to the right of movement of people.
Similarly, on the same month (April 30, 2021), according to Woreda administrators in BenchSheko Zone, Danchu Kebele of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region, six people were tragically burned to death while they were still in their houses. Furthermore, According to the media who quoted Getachew Balcha, a spokesman for the region, 20 ethnic Amharas were killed in an attack in Limmu Kosa Woreda, Jimma Zone, Oromia region. As the media also reported, residents and officials have asked for protection prior to the attacks.
In connection with the Tigray conflict, militants have repeatedly attacked civilians in the Waghamra area of Amhara region have also confirmed that 11 civilians and security forces were killed in an attack by armed groups on May 5,2021 in Abergele woreda, Bineraq city of the region. Similarly, as Deutsche Welle and local media reported on April 27, 2021, innocent civilians were also killed and properties were destroyed. AHRE fears that the frequent and aggravated human rights abuse in various parts of the country not only endangers the lives of citizens but also hinders our country’s 6th national election. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and are being housed in makeshift shelters in various parts of the country. Therefore, the lack of immediate and lasting response by the government could worsen the situation. Therefore, we urge the government and other relevant humanitarian organizations to consider the coming winter and give immediate assistance to those in need.
The recent attacks and killings of election candidates and political leaders also needs to be addressed. In connection with this, two candidates and leaders from both The National Movement of Amhara (NAMA) and Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice were killed. These killings, in addition to narrowing the political space, will also negatively impact the entire election. Therefore, the government must provide strong protection and support to opposition parties.
In general, despite understanding the challenges our country is currently facing; in particular the pressure from outside and internal conflicts, AHRE believes that the government must prioritize its obligations in protecting citizen’s human rights. In addition, AHRE calls on political bodies, Civic Society Organizations, religious institutions and the people of Ethiopia to play parts in national dialogues and support the government’s effort in enforcing the rule of law.
Therefore, our organization urges the government to take the following remedial measures:
- To stop the repeated attacks against innocent civilians and protect the people’s right to freedom of movement.
- To take the necessary preparations and precautionary measures in assisting the displaced citizens before the winter and also provide sufficient assistance.
- In partnership with the community, create national dialogues and discussions take precautionary measures and create mechanisms to prevent and control conflicts in regions where repeated attacks occur.
AHRE also urges the government to hold accountable those individuals and organized groups responsible for the violation of human rights, killings and destruction of properties; and rehabilitate victims.