Reconciliation Commission to Examine Rights Violations During 2005 Elections

By Staff Reporter

Ethiopian-Reconciliation-CommissionMay 16, 2019 ( -- The newly established Ethiopian Reconciliation Commission is to handle human right violations that occured during and after the 2005 national elections.

Following the 2005 national elections, the House of People's Represetatives established an enquiry commission in charge of investigating human rights violations largely committed by security forces while trying to control the widespread violence in the capital city, Addis Ababa.

The commission had also been mandated to probe into whether the government took balanced measures against the protesters.

Based on its findings which were presented to the House of People's Represetatives, 193 people who were protesting against the outcome of the elections were killed by security forces and 763 others were wounded.

Five members of the security forces were also killed as 65 others were injured during the prolonged unrest.

The 11-member enquiry commission chaired by Ferehiwot Samuel found more than 50,000 protesters were detained in connection with the violence and the commission concluded that government forces used execssive force.

According to Ferehiwot, who attended the special session of the House of Peoples Representatives on Thursday, government officials of the time, who did not like the commision's report, warned the commision's chair and deputy chair, who finally had to flee the country.

Firehiwot said the then government officials had been threatening his life and his deputy's life in an attempt to alter the commision's report.

According to Frehiwot, at that time, the Electoral Board of Ethiopia, justice inistitutions and the police were not neutral.

Firehiwot handed over the investigation report to the reconcilation commission's deputy commissioner Yetnebersh Nigussies.

House speaker Tagesse Chafo on the occssion said  the inquiry commision's report will be used to reconcile differences and address hostilities.  

During the 2005 elections, several opposition candidates had won seats in parliament. In particular, opposition forces registered impressive victories in the capital city, Addis Ababa. However, during the unrest that followed, for which many neutral observers blame the government, a number of opposition members were either arrested or forced to flee into exile.

The reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is trying to redress this past history, but with mixed success. Although a lot of good has been done such as liberalizing the political space inside the country, welcoming exiled Ethiopians, and peace with neighbors, it is still unknow if this will continue into free and fair elections and the handover of power should the ruling party loses.

Also troubling for many Ethiopians is the continued dominance of regional parties with little allegiance to the nation as a whole.



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