NGO calls on Ethiopia to respect human rights
Independent watchdog Freedom House called on the Ethiopian government to respect fundamental human rights and encourage inclusivity. The group criticized government restrictions on foreign funding for NGO’s who work on democracy and human rights promotions. It also highlighted the 2009 anti-terrorism proclamation law, which places restrictions on journalist and press freedom advocates.
Yosef Badwaza of the Freedom House wrote,
Ethiopia’s next national elections are set to take place in May 2015. Now is the time to commence political reforms designed to avoid a repetition of flawed elections in 2010 (national) and 2013 (local). In both years, the EPRDF totally controlled the electoral process, capturing more than 99 percent of the legislative seats nationwide. While recent moves, such as allowing large-scale protest rallies, are encouraging, these need to be fortified with institutional and legal measures aimed at opening up the operating environment for civil society, the media, and the political opposition.
As he marks the end of his first year in office, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn should commence reforms to lay the groundwork for competitive, transparent, free, and fair democratic elections in 2015.