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Editorial

Editorial

 

Tuesday May 10, 2011was the day when Diriba Kuma, Ethiopia’s then minister of transport, told the public that Ethiopia had prepared a ten-year “national traffic safety strategic action plan,” for the years from 2012 – 2022. His announcement didn’t come out of the blue. In March 2010, the UN general assembly had recognized and discussed a topic long overdue, and was initiated by Russia: “The tremendous global burden of fatalities resulting from road crashes.” Following the usual discussions on the floor, the general assembly asked all member states to dedicate the period from 2011 – 2020 as “the Decade of Action for Road Safety” and work for it. It was aimed primarily at “stabilizing and eventually reducing” the unacceptably high number of causalities caused by motor vehicle accidents in countries all over the world.

 

Come May of this year Ethiopia is preparing to carry out the fifth general election since the coming into power in 1991 of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). But controversies surrounding two main opposition parties, all too recognizable, surfaced in an unfortunate fashion and have left a trace of a familiar scenario. Once again the country’s democratization process, already at a snail’s pace, if at all, is under big question mark.

The ever hopeful UN kept on observing, every 10th of December, what it calls “Human Rights Day.” Last December, the day was commemorated around the world (almost) with one motto: Human Rights 365. This year will mark half a century since the world agreed to give effect to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. Butwith less than a year to go the UN frets that “on any scale, 2014 will be remembered as a year of daunting human rights challenges.” UN’s task of ensuring these wish lists in countries which are signatories to the declarations is indeed daunting and monumental at the same time.