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News: AHRE new report on Ethiopia sheds light on shrinking civic space in authoritarian state


Addis Abeba, February 02/2018 – The Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE) launched its new report on Ethiopia, titled: “Ailing Civic Space in an Authoritarian State: The State of Human Rights Defenders and Cost of Dissent in Ethiopia”.  The report highlighted details regarding the ever shrinking civic space in Ethiopia while reviewing human rights situation in Ethiopia and observing the increasingly restricted space in which human rights defenders operate in the country, according to a statement from AHRE.

Although the country has seen economic advancement rights defenders in the country  face imprisonment, torture and harassment, and exile, it says, adding room for civic dialogue has steadily fall apart.

It’s to be recalled that in 2009, four years after the controversial national election in 2005 the Ethiopian government ratified the new oppressive anti-terrorism and mass media proclamations. These laws have been condemned by a large group of national and international rights organizations. “The stifling laws introduced in Ethiopia between 2008 and 2009 continue to be used as tools to criminalize dissent, and many journalists and HRDs have faced long prison terms under the anti-terrorism law,” says the report.

Referring to a statistics from Ethio-Trial Tracker, a website dedicated to document Ethiopians charged with the anti-terrorism law the report mentions that there 923 ongoing individual cases and 526 closed cases, with “many of which resulted in long prison terms.” Out of these 27 are journalists and rights defenders, according to the report.

Ethiopia has been shaken by anti-government protests for the last two and half years as the people of country’s two largest and populous regions, Amhara and Oromia, have came out to the streets to expressed their anger at the government in mass. This has led to State of Emergency for 10 consecutive months in 2016 and the security personnel responding aggressively in killing more than a thousand people and imprisoning tens of thousands, which as result made the government face large criticism from the country’s partners and different international human rights organizations.

This report aims to document the worsening condition of civil space, limitations of activists, journalists, bloggers and media professionals, so that they can be seen as the root causes of the political crisis in the country is experiencing currently, the press release states. AHRE takes it as its intention to provide the human rights institutions, civil society and concerned bodies with sufficient materials by documenting the worsening situations of human rights in the country. While doing that, it also gives recommendations to the Ethiopian Government, European Union, African Commission on Human and People’s Rights United Nations, donors and allies of the country.

AHRE is a non-governmental, non-partisan, and not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of human rights protection in Ethiopia by providing support to the work of Ethiopian Human Rights Defenders and performing advocacy and other related tasks that cannot be carried out effectively by human rights organizations based in Ethiopia because of administrative and legal restrictions, security risks and resource constraints.  AS

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