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 Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid