Ethiopia: Briefing paper on the situation of human rights defenders (ISHR)

(Geneva) – Just weeks before the 2015 Ethiopian elections, time is running out for the Ethiopian Government to demonstrate a commitment to human rights and freedom of expression, and to remove restrictions upon civil society, said ISHR in a briefing paper published today.

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is scheduled to be reviewed at the 56th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights from 21 April – 7 May 2015.

(Geneva) – Just weeks before the 2015 Ethiopian elections, time is running out for the Ethiopian Government to demonstrate a commitment to human rights and freedom of expression, and to remove restrictions upon civil society, said ISHR in a briefing paper published today.

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is scheduled to be reviewed at the 56th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights from 21 April – 7 May 2015.

In its 51st ordinary Session, the African Commission adopted Resolution 218 on the Human Rights Situation in Ethiopia condemning the arrest and prosecution of journalists and political opposition members for exercising their legitimate rights of freedom of expression and association, as well as the excessive restrictions placed on the work of human rights defenders.

The Commission also called on the Ethiopian Government to ensure legislation is compliant with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and other international human rights instruments.

Especially vulnerable are human rights defenders working on LGBTI issues and Muslim activists.

Key recommendations that should be made to Ethiopia during its review include that the Government ensure the investigation of all violations against human rights defenders and repeal existing legislation used to criminalise the legitimate work of human rights defenders.

ISHR’s briefing paper on the situation of human rights defenders in Ethiopia is intended to highlight the situation for human rights defenders in Ethiopia since its last review by the African Commission; the steps taken by the Ethiopia to implement the African Commission’s past recommendations; and key recommendations for the African Commission to consider making to Ethiopia during its current review.

For further information about the briefing paper or for any assistance or advice in the formulation of recommendations, please contact ISHR’s Clement Voulé, on c.voule@ishr.ch.

Photo: Elver Barnes, Flickr. 

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