BY NEAMIN ASHENAFI
The 2013 Human Rights report of the government of (UK) severely criticized the government of Ethiopia for its application of its Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and the Charities and Societies Proclamation, which hampers the activity of the opposition camp of the country.
The report says that the UK is concerned about continuing restrictions on opposition and dissent in Ethiopia through use of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP) and the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP) .
Those detained under the ATP include members of opposition groups, journalists, peaceful protesters, and others seeking to express their rights to freedom of assembly and expression while the CSP has had a serious impact on Ethiopian civil society’s ability to operate effectively, according to the report.
Section 11 of the report, which covers and focuses on the issues related to Human Rights in countries of concern contains a review of the human rights situation in 28 countries where the UK Government has wide-ranging human rights concerns. This part of the report explores the concerns of the government of the UK. The report takes Bahrain, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda and Egypt as case study countries.
In this regard, the report presents the condition of human rights abuse in Ethiopia as follows. The report chooses to highlight a number of reports of mistreatment of prisoners in detention. In May, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), whose mandate and powers are defined by Parliament, published a report, “Monitoring Report on Respect of Persons Held in Custody of Ethiopian Police Stations” which described generally poor detention conditions with some incidents of human rights abuses and unlawful interrogation tactics.
The report was based on the monitoring of 170 police stations and inspections were conducted without any prior notification. One institution, the Meakelawi Police Detention Facility, has drawn a high level of criticism from former detainees and international NGOs for alleged mistreatment of its inmates.
Allegations of abuse by the “Special Police” in the Somali Region are also a concern of the report despite the report saying the increased security presence in the region had brought some benefits including some development of basic services and infrastructure – albeit from a low base.
However, there have been many reports of mistreatment associated with the special police including torture and execution of villagers accused of supporting the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) . Moreover, the report said the UK government and the UN have pressed the Ethiopian government to articulate a reform plan for the Special Police, and the Ethiopian government has agreed this is needed. So, according to the report, the UK government promises to encourage the government of Ethiopia to take action.