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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid