News / Africa

    European Human Rights Committee Denied Access to Ethiopian Prison

    Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee for Human Rights, Barbara Lochbihler, talks to the media, February 2010.
    Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee for Human Rights, Barbara Lochbihler, talks to the media, February 2010.
    Marthe van der Wolf
    Members of a European Parliament human rights delegation have been blocked from visiting an Ethiopian prison, and are concerned about the human rights situation in that nation.
     
    On Wednesday, the European Parliament Subcommittee for Human Rights wrapped up a visit to Ethiopia to assess the country's human rights situation. The delegation had a trip scheduled to the infamous Kality prison just outside the capital, Addis Ababa. The facility is known for housing political prisoners in harsh living conditions.

    In spite of previous assurances from Ethiopia’s government, however, the group was denied access to the prison Wednesday morning, according to delegation member Jacek Protasiewicz.
     
    “We were more than disappointed. Personally I cannot understand the reasons behind it," said Protasiewicz. "Because if you don’t want to show the parliamentarians how people are detained and the conditions in the prisons, it is clearly that something is to be hidden.”

    The delegation also was scheduled to meet with a prominent imprisoned journalist, Reeyot Alemu, at the prison.
     
    The members of the committee called upon the Ethiopian government to release journalists and opposition members, jailed under Ethiopia's anti-terrorism proclamation.

    The European Union (EU) delegation said it believes the proclamation is used arbitrarily. The proclamation has also been criticized by organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
     
    A framework for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), implemented by the Ethiopian government, also is a point of concern for the EU subcommittee. The framework includes rules that say no more than 10 percent of an NGO's funding can come from foreign partners when the organization works in the field of human rights.

    The chair of the EU delegation, Barbara Lochbihler, believes the framework makes it difficult for NGOs to work independently.
     
    “We strongly encourage the government to give more space on the domestic levels for civil society organizations to operate independently and in a meaningful way. We think the restrictive NGO framework should be urgently revised,” said Lochbihler.

    The conclusions of the visit will be presented to the European Parliament. If Ethiopia does not improve its human rights record, it might be complicate the country's trade with the European Union. The EU is considering linking trade policy agreements to other factors, such as human rights.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Kebede from: AAU
    July 18, 2013 2:19 AM
    Let them visit Syria where 5000 people are diying per month. Detained people will be free sooner or later.

    by: Alem
    July 17, 2013 10:40 PM
    I am trying to figure out why suddenly EU is interested in human rights of Ethiopians. It has been 22 years since a minority group came to power and shut out any opposition, divided the country along ethnic, religious and geographic lines. You could have the answers to your inquiry without setting foot in Ethiopia. Just talk to the two Swedish journalists, to Tony Blair, Bob Geldof, David Cameron, Obama. Ask why they continue to lobby for a tyrannical regime and why they keep sending aid money most of which is smuggled out of the country and/or unaccounted for [Office of Financial Accountability has it at $16.5Billion in a decade]. Ask also why US and UK are sold on Ethiopia as a linchpin for regional stability when inside the country small communities and civil societies are methodically dismantled and many disappeared. Why is Obama Admin looking the other way as corruption the kind of which could not be imagined in living memory grows in leaps and bounds? The late PM Meles mesmerized Europeans about his strategies for protecting the environment. Let me suggest that you request independent journalists visit land grabbed from indigenous groups in Gambela, Afar, and Omo region. I would add that you include gold mining areas run by the Saudi Al Amoudi to see if they pass even the minimum [local, not international] standards. Why is it members of the communities nearby so unhealthy? Why such secrecy? I would suggest that on your flight back you visit a Middle Eastern country [Yemen, Saudi, Emirates, etc] and listen to the pleas of young women cheated twice - once by their own country and then by the host country.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.