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News: Ethiopian Rights Commission denounces gov’t restrictions, harassment on opposition political parties

Photo: EHRC

Addis Abeba – The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has denounced the unlawful restrictions and harassment on opposition political parties in the country including obstructions on freedom of assembly and urged all these illicit practices to sustainably come  to an end.

According to a statement it released on Thursday, the commission emphasized that investigating such unconstitutional actions that have been hindering the rights of opposition political parties and ensuring accountability  is the  responsibility of the government.

The rights commission said it has confirmed that the general assemblies of Enat and Balderas for True Democracy parties which were planned to be held on 05 and 12 March respectively, in Addis Abeba were disrupted by uniformed policemen and the security and intelligence members dressed in civilian clothes on the order of an unidentified senior gov’t official.

The EHRC also said that it has realized the arrest of the leaders of Gurage Unity and Justice Party (GOGOT)  following  the party’s formation in Addis Abeba.

The rights commission recalled the restrictions, harassment and arrests of other political opposition parties including the Oromo Liberation Front and the Qucha People’s Democratic Party, especially on the members of the leadership.

According to the rights commission, all the harassment, prohibitions and restrictions imposed by the government or other bodies on the opposition political parties to prevent them from holding their general assemblies or other meetings of their organizations are violations of the law and the rights to assemble, organize and participate.

The commission also indicated that the government has an obligation to facilitate citizens to exercise their right to assembly and to provide protection to the participants.

On 16 March, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) condemned the government and security forces for restricting the freedom of opposition political parties from holding their general assemblies, and asked the ministry of justice to make accountable those who arrested and harassed their members. 

The board said that the opposition Enat Party, Balderas For True Democracy and Gurage Unity and Justice Party (GOGOT) were among the political parties that have received undue pressure from the government and denied of their rights to hold their general assembly.

Earlier on 14 March Addis standard reported the arrest of 12 leaders and members of Gurage Unity and Justice Party (GOGOT) which the party said is part of continued pressure from the government since its establishment. AS

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