Ethiopia Revises Civil Organizations Law

Charities-law-EthiopiaJanuary 1, 2019 - The Ethiopian civil society organizations (CSOs) proclamation has been revised and sent to the Council of Ministers, according to the Federal Attorney General of Ethiopia.

The Federal Attorney General, Berhanu Tsegaye, said a new draft bill was presented to the House for approval and will come into effect once it is approved.

He did not disclose details of the new of law, but he said the draft law took into consideration constitutional and international conventions which focused on the right to organize, he said.

The Attorney General also disclosed that Ehiopia is amending the anti-terrorism law and it will be presented to pertinent bodies for approval soon.

Successive Ethiopian governments have been legistlating laws that curtailed one freedom after another in the name of security, all of which resulting in extremely weak civil socities and media in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Charities and Societies Proclamation that came info effect in 2009 was widely criticized by world bodies as one that placed excessive restrictions on the work of human rights organisations.

After the law came info effect, many organizations were closed or had their operations severely restricted.

Accoring to Amnesty International, "the law has had a devastating impact on human rights work, both in terms of the practical obstacles it creates for human rights defenders, and in exacerbating the climate of fear in which they operate. The proclamation jeopardises the observance and protection of the rights of every person in Ethiopia."

This and other laws that target civil societies and the independent media has had devastating effect on the growth of these bodies and the protection of civil liberties.

The new government in Ethiopia, led by a reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, hopes to change that.


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