Ethiopia: MPs must put human rights at heart of state of emergency debate

The Ethiopian parliament must ensure the new state of emergency does not further constrict the already narrowing freedom of expression, assembly and association in the country, Amnesty International said as MPs prepared to debate the new emergency measures on Friday.
In an open letter to MPs, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty said, “I have noted with concern the recent escalation, in gravity and magnitude, of human rights violations in Ethiopia, especially in Amhara, Oromia and Somali Regional States of Ethiopia.
“Some aspects of the current state of emergency proclamation tabled before you violate international human rights law obligations that Ethiopia is bound to respect.”
During the country’s last state of emergency, which lasted for 10 months from October 2016, Amnesty International documented a series of grave human rights violations including unlawful killings, forced displacement, arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as torture and other ill-treatment of detainees.
“The Constitution of the country requires all of you to be governed by the Constitution, the will of the people, and your conscience. In deliberating on this state of emergency proclamation, it is essential that you pay full account to the human rights of the people of Ethiopia,” Shetty said.
The Ethiopian parliament is expected to deliberate and vote on the State of Emergency Proclamation which the Council of Ministers passed on 16 February 2018 following the announcement of resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. If adopted, the state of emergency is expected to last for six months.