To Permanent Representatives of
Members and Observer States of the
UN Human Rights Council
Geneva, 24 February 2016
RE: Addressing restrictions on freedom of assembly and civil society in Ethiopia
The undersigned civil society organizations (CSOs) write to express our serious concerns about the Ethiopian Government’s grave restrictions on fundamental human rights, exemplified by the recent crackdown on largely peaceful protests in the Oromia region. As the UN Human Rights Council (UN HRC) prepares to release its landmark recommendations for the proper management of assemblies, we urge your delegation to address the rapidly deteriorating environment for independent dissent and violations of the right to freedom of assembly in Ethiopia at the upcoming 31st UN HRC Session.
Since December 2015, Ethiopian security forces have routinely used excessive and unnecessary lethal force to disperse and suppress peaceful protests in the Oromia region. The protesters, who have been advocating against the dispossession of land without adequate compensation under the government’s Integrated Development Master Plan, have been subjected to widespread rights violations. According to international and national human rights groups, at least 150 demonstrators, including scores of children and university students, have been killed during the protests. It is also widely reported that hundreds of people have suffered bullet wounds and beatings by the police and military. [Read more…]