By Lawrence Audu
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has expressed concern over the reinstatement of a state of emergency (SOE) in Ethiopia – the second in the last two years.
Zeid was delivering his remarks on global update of human rights concerns at the 37th seccion of the Human Rights Council on March 7, 2018.
Whiles applauding reforms started announced in January 2018 and which was being rolled out by way of prisoner releases, the U.N. human rights chief said recent reports of killings needed to be investigated and perpetrators brought to book.
“I am concerned about the declaration of a second State of Emergency last month. Reforms can only be carried out successfully through truly inclusive dialogue and political processes.”
“In Ethiopia, I welcome the release of more than 7,000 detainees in January and February, including several high profile figures.
“I urge the authorities to investigate and prosecute those responsible for recent killings in the country, and I reiterate my request for access to affected regions,” he said.
He also weighed in on the need for government to commit to reforms and to do so in the spirit of inclusive dialogue. The country is currently under a six-month state of emergency imposed to quell spreading violence. The government has admitted a violent fightback of the measure especially in the Oromia region.
The SOE was imposed barely twenty four hours after the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. The ruling EPRDF is set to pick his successor over the weekend. Desalegn who took the post in 2015 says his decision is to allow the party to fully pursue reforms.
“I am concerned about the declaration of a second State of Emergency last month. Reforms can only be carried out successfully through truly inclusive dialogue and political processes,” Zeid who visited Ethiopia last year stressed.