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

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, the history of take-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora