Opposition Party Slams Ethiopian Government for Failing to Safeguard Human Rights

Beyene-PetrosMarch 28, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopian opposition party Ethiopian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) has come out to express its discontentment with the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed over the lack of the rule of law and gross human rights violations.

When Abiy assumed office, he was quick to institute an array of reforms meant to transform the country. Key among them was to improve the human rights situation.

Presently, that’s not the case. Many citizens are starting to doubt whether the prime minister is really committed to improving the country’s fortunes. For others, the reluctance to ensure law and order prevails is rather odd. since respect for fundamental rights is a prerequisite for good governance.

In the midst of this bewildering situation, some think it’s a scheme to avoid upsetting the ruling party’s ethnic base.

It should be remembered the Ethiopian opposition initially demonstrated an optimistic attitude towards the Abiy led administration, just like the rest of the Ethiopian public. Now, however, the opposition is increasingly expressing its reservations for lack of seriousness in protecting human rights.

The ESDP has today released a statement blaming the government for failing to ensure there’s rule of law and also on gross human rights violations.

Beyene Petros, chairperson of the ESDP said: “defending human rights of citizens as a primary responsibility of the government is forgotten.”

The ESDP pointed out government authorities are leading in egregious human rights violation. People are also skeptical about the Oromo Democratic Party (the prime minister's own party) and how it is exploiting youth groups like Qeerroo to drive its political agenda.

The ESDP also pointed out issues such as the Gedeos who were displaced from Guji by what it terms “narrow nationalists,” the demolition of houses in Legetafo and the recent developments in regard to the allotment of condominium units in Koye Feche. According to the ESDP, these occurrences indicate the government’s reluctance to deal with the menace plaguing Ethiopia, which is the absence of rule of law in some parts of Ethiopia.

Ethnic cleansing is normal. But it has been made easy by the fact that most region’s ethnicity is indicated on the identity cards. Some internally displaced persons say they were called by name before their houses were destroyed.

Security forces continue to shoot and kill innocent civilians. Protestors continue airing their voices over the government’s reluctance to protect people from forced displacement and ethnically-motivated attacks. In particular are allegations of killings and rape, especially in Oromia region.

Ongoing displacement of people and violence put people at risk while putting pressure on the limited resources used to assist the affected.

The opposition party condemned the state for failing to offer any meaningful assistance to the displaced Gedeo from August last year and March this year, even as they continue being consumed by protracted humanitarian catastrophe.

The party is adamant the federal government should have returned the displaced Gedeos to their original homes. Settling them in new areas is a burden to the IDPs, both psychologically and economically.

Regarding the controversy surrounding the capital, Addis Ababa, a town over which the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) claims ethnic Oromo ownership, it said the capital belongs to everyone.

“No disagreement should exist on the issue of Addis Ababa between parties who accepted the constitution. It doesn’t give Oromo ownership of Addis Ababa,” said Beyene Petros.

The prime minister must move fast and salvage the situation before it escalates. Part of the solution lies in establishing a system of accountability for the gross human rights violation. It doesn’t mean aggressive prosecutions, but it can involve establishing a form of inquiry to give Ethiopians a platform to air their grievances, question officials and seek closure as most of the reforms instituted are long-term.

This approach can help forestall any acts of vengeance communities may pursue.  Ethiopia should also seek international assistance to deal with the humanitarian crisis it faces. But maintaining law and order rests with the current regime.

According to the ESDP, the federal government lacks the commitment to investigate and punish perpetrators of human rights violations, which includes members of the security agencies and party loyalists.

By Solomon O. for Ezega News



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