Addis Abeba – A coalition of 35 local civil society organizations has issued a joint appeal calling for concerted efforts to build sustainable peace, protect human rights, and promote democratic reforms across Ethiopia during the upcoming Ethiopian new year.
The groups, including prominent human rights advocates like the Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council and Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD), highlighted both progress and persistent challenges over the past year. They praised recent peace talks resulting in ceasefire deals in Tigray, Benishangul-Gumuz and Gambella, while lamenting ongoing conflicts, restrictions on rights, and abuses targeting vulnerable groups.
“In the hope that the upcoming year 2016 will be one where sustainable resolution of conflicts is realized and citizens enjoy full rights and freedoms in Ethiopia, we call on all stakeholders to join hands,” said Dan Yirga of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, reading the joint statement during a presser on Wednesday.
The statement laid out 10 recommendations focused on establishing an inclusive national peace convention, ensuring accountability for rights violations through independent investigations, addressing gender-based violence, protecting minorities and marginalized groups, guaranteeing public participation in decisions, and extending unhindered humanitarian assistance.
The civil society organizations also called for stemming inflammatory speech and misinformation, protecting civic space, and urged all parties to collaborate in peacebuilding efforts.
“We pledge to play our part to prevent conflicts from turning violent, to resolve them peacefully, and to make conflict transformation and peacebuilding inclusive and sustainable,” the groups stated. “We stand ready to work cooperatively with all stakeholders toward these goals.”
The 35 signatories represent a broad spectrum of Ethiopian civil society including prominent advocacy groups, women’s organizations, professional associations, rights watchdogs and community networking forums. AS