Wednesday, June 12, 2024

EHRC reveals the depth of human rights violation in new report


Rising prices of basic food and food-related products and the current general economic situation are exposing people to severe social and economic crises, underlines the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in its annual report, while also seriously warning that violation of rights have reached dangerous levels.
The report released by the Commission on July 12, 2023, compiled the human rights management from June 2022 to June 2023, highlighted that, “Lack of fertilizers and other essential inputs has prevented the sections of society that are managed by agriculture and related activities from returning to productivity. As a result, the number of people seeking support has increased. The drought that has lasted for several months in Oromia, southern nations and peoples, Somali regions, and neighboring areas still requires a sustainable response.”
According to the commission, in this situation, especially for the disabled, the elderly, women, and children, as well as those who are displaced, their vulnerability to multiple rights violations will increase significantly. To this end, the commission urged for the issue of disability and the rights of the disabled receive the much needed attention by government.
In its report, the commission reminded that there are encouraging beginnings in the peaceful resolution of armed conflicts and urged that peace efforts at both the state and federal levels should be strengthened, especially by involving affected communities, in order to bring about a sustainable and tangible improvement in the national human rights situation.
Despite the good progress seen in law and policy reforms, in accepting and implementing the commission’s recommendations, and especially in finding solutions to various human rights violations, armed conflicts and attacks that recur or reoccur in different forms in all parts of the country, negative impact on the rights to life and movement is still transpiring. The commission, cognizant of this called on the relevant parties to emphasize that the national human rights situation is an obstacle to meaningful improvement.
“The report explores civil and political, social and economic, women’s and children’s, disabled and elderly, refugees, internally displaced persons, and migrants’ rights. It also explains in detail the situation of the rights of people in custody and detainees, the human rights complaints handled by the commission, and the status of Ethiopia in terms of fulfilling continental and international human rights obligations,” the report cited.
“In addition to human rights violations committed by governmental and non-governmental forces, especially in the context of armed conflict, forced disappearances, arbitrary and illegal arrests by security and security agencies, the use of disproportionate force during peaceful public gatherings is causing serious harm to people,” the commission stated.
Harassment and arrests targeting members of the media, opposition political parties, social activists, and members of civic society; temporary or long-term movement restrictions for various reasons and areas, including security problems, are violations of their own rights,” are issues of high concern the commission stated.
The annual report noted encouraging beginnings in the peaceful resolution of conflicts compared to the previous year but explained the dynamic and multifaceted violations of rights committed by various governmental structures and non-governmental entities during the reporting period.
Arbitrary detention and ill-treatment, disproportionate use of force, targeted attacks on the media and opposition, arbitrary restrictions on the right to move from place to place, home demolitions without due process, forced evictions, abuses and violations of social and economic rights, and the rehabilitation of war-torn areas were pointed out in the report as continuing issues.

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

However, the rehabilitation works that have been started, the return of interrupted social and other services, and the return of a large number of IDPs to their villages are among the positive achievements mentioned in the report.
“Nevertheless, especially in February 2023, following the movement to reorganize the special forces of the regions, especially the conflicts and the observed security problems in various areas of the Amhara region, the increasing number of conflict areas in the Oromia region, as well as the deaths, injuries, and displacement caused by the repeated conflicts due to the failure to find a permanent solution in all regions, remained as points of major concern,” the report noted.
In the report, many improvements and initiatives have been observed regarding the treatment of detained and arrested persons in the 49 prisons and 346 police stations monitored by the commission during the fiscal year. However, arbitrary and illegal arrests, forced disappearances, non-compliance with the right to bail, beatings, and torture have been reported.
Quite recently following the cease fire in the Northern Ethiopia war, one of the recommendations given by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the investigation, was that transitional justice be made part of the peace agreement, and that following this, the federal government was urged to prepare a draft policy option (Green Paper) to implement the transitional justice system and start conducting community-wide discussions to a certain extent.
In the coming fiscal year, the main human rights issues that require the continued monitoring of the commission and the relevant government bodies have been pointed out, and in addition to making efforts and performance appropriate to the issues that are the root cause of the lack of peace and security and human rights violations, the strengthening of early warning and prevention capacity by governmental structures has been included.

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