News / Africa

Ethiopia Presents Human Rights Action Plan

Ethiopia has unveiled its first Human Rights Action Plan, with the goal of ensuring human rights in the East African country. Activists have long complained about the Ethiopian government's record of quashing political dissent and freedom of expression.  
 
The Ethiopian government presented a draft Human Rights Action Plan on Thursday to discuss with stakeholders such as the United Nations, civil societies and development partners.
 
Musa Gassama, the regional representative of the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the plan does not introduce new laws for Ethiopia.
 
“What is new is to bring all these laws that we talk about, putting them together and analyzing them and seeing what actions could be taken to make sure that these laws are bringing benefit to the people,” he said.

The plan includes nearly 60 recommendations to cover gaps in sectors such as education, health and culture.  

Ethiopia’s Minister of Justice Berhan Hailu explained that gaps have also been identified in the justice sector.
 
“We need a lot of proclamations and also guidelines for the protection of the rights of the people, for the accused persons, for the persons in prison and so on," Hailu  said. "For example, we have mentioned in the document the importance of a guideline on the use of force by the police.”

International organizations such as Human Rights Watch criticized Ethiopia’s election to the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2012. The country has one of the world's highest numbers of journalists in jail, while leaders of peaceful Muslim demonstrations have been arrested and many opposition leaders are prison on charges of terrorism.
 
In addition, Ethiopia has not signed several international human rights treaties, such as the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
 
Minister Berhan said  Ethiopia is making progress when it comes to ensuring human rights, despite the criticism:
 
“Those who don’t want to realize or to recognize this kind of progress might say that there is no good performance in human rights in Ethiopia, but we are doing our level best and the people of Ethiopia are now benefiting a lot, but we have gaps now," he said. "In order to fill the gaps we have to work hard; we have to plan it, like the kind of plan that we have presented today.”

The Human Rights Action Plan will be sent to parliament for adoption this week, and is scheduled to be implemented over the next three years.

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by: Zelalemawi
March 06, 2013 10:49 AM
Off all the things I neeed to see police brutality curbed. Leave alone the country side, police brutality in Addis itself is so scary. Even the traffic police is so abusive. If a policeman voilated a citizens right, no one will punish him. Most of the police force members having knowding that they will not be punished unleashed unchecked police brutality in the countr.

by: Robert from: Seattle, Washington
March 06, 2013 6:40 AM
I'm a US citizen who used to work in Ethiopia from 2008-2010. I've personally seen many Ethiopian colleagues imprisoned and tortured because they said something critical about the brutal dictatorship in Ethiopia. One thing is certain: this regime is extremely hated by the people. If something isn't done soon about the minority ethnic hegemony of the country, a genocide will occur that will scar the image of the United States.

This regime needs to be condemned and sanctioned until a civilian government is put in place that is inline with American values. I am ashamed of my government for supporting one of the most ruthless regimes in Africa. I really am. This is not what our founding fathers envisioned. The Ethiopian people deserve better.
In Response

by: Samoa from: Ethiopia
March 06, 2013 4:07 PM
"a civilian government is put in place that is inline with American values"

What a s... comment. How can American values be Ethiopian values. Shame on you guy. Read more and get matured before you state such self degrading comments.

by: Alem
March 05, 2013 4:53 PM
Marthe, this is a proven strategy to buy time and to ward off mounting pressure especially from Europeans. Another point is that it is done in consultation with the Obama Administration or more precisely, to deflect criticisms that Obama Admin has gone back on its promises to not stand with tyrants. [Susan Rice's very public support of the late Meles Zenawi is a case in point.] The current Human Rights Action Plan is one of a series of actions Ethiopian rulers have taken over the past few months to cover the backs of Obama so as to continue to milk the American public of billions more. It was only late last year that we heard of a new plan [repeated at intervals over the past two decades] to root out corruption. In fact, Prime Minister Hailemariam made a public statement that he on evidence will personally take to court any who engaged in corruption of any kind. Do you think he could sue Chief of Defense or the late Prime Minister's wife or the Foreign Minister or the Ambassador to China? or the Saudi Al Amoudi? or the Security Chief? What evidence would he be looking for when an army officer with the right ethnic ties could own a four storey building business complex on a $300 per month salary? Another item is the news last month that Ethiopia has produced its own Drone. So why is that surprising? It is because Obama Administration is being questioned on its fast widening, secret and under-reported Drone use and the mounting civilian casualties. Well, Ethiopian rulers would not mind taking the blame for millions more of taxpayer's dollars and in the process escape scrutiny for massive corruption and money-laundering, for jailing as terrorists any who cry out for their democratic rights, for interfering in the affairs of religious institutions [the latest being the appointment by the government of a new patriarch] and in the process of doing similarly for Muslims. So, there we go. It is just plain sad. Sadder even is the fact that American people do not have a fuller picture that the aid collected in their name is not reaching the publics it was intended for and is often stolen by dictatorial regimes who happen to have the backing of the Obama Administration. Please post my comments. I can only do this freely when I am out of the country. Thanks.
In Response

by: Alem
March 06, 2013 8:44 PM
Samoa, Do you think respect for human life is Ethiopian value? How about equality before the law? The late Prime Minister's wife and you are equal before the law. If the Foreign Minister happens to have stashed away millions of aid money in a foreign bank while on a $500 per month salary then he is subject to investigation and possible jail time. How about freedom to speak and write, including disagreeing with those who rule over you? Well, those are American values.

by: Just Be from: London
March 05, 2013 3:36 PM
The FOX AND THE LITTLE RED HEN
There was once a little red hen that lived in a house by herself in the wood. And over the hill, in a hole in the rocks, lived a sly, crafty old fox.
Now this crafty old fellow of a fox lay awake nights, and prowled slyly about days, trying to think of how he should get the little red hen. He wanted to carry her home to boil for his supper.....

A fox will always be a fox whether it changes its colors or clothes. The Ethiopian regime is built on injustice, fear and control and regardless of any makeovers, endorsed by others, it makes, the people in Ethiopia will be captive and keep suffering, until they take matters into their own hands. No amount of plea to those who are in the Ivory towers will bring Ethiopians any succor.

by: Truth-Teller from: U.S.
March 05, 2013 2:16 PM
First, let me just say that voanews.com site is block from Ethiopian people and they won't be able to read this article. Those who are able to read it are probably mind-slaves or cadre's of the current thug regime. Second, I wish, voanews, as U.S. publicly funded news agency, can stop its yellow journalism and let us here a response from U.S. government regarding the Human Rights Abuse of this thug "ally" of U.S. - who receives billions every year!! Third, all this is "Human Right Action Plan" is a shenanigan. It's nothing serious, but a Childs-play intended to say, 'we've done something about our Human Rights abuse record'
In Response

by: Behailu
March 13, 2013 8:16 AM
What is HUMAN RIGHTS ACTION PLAN? Would you please give the same chance for other dictator regimes: Beshir Alasad, Esaya, Al Beshir?
Too much reporting about human right violation in Syria and reporting hopes of HUMAN RIGHTS ACTION PLAN for Western sponsered tyrany in Ethiopia. Ethiopians cry, "fair condemning and reporting, atleast!"

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