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The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission stated that it is currently investigating two cases of complaints on human rights violations since the declaration of the nationwide State of Emergency. The two cases of the possible human rights violations are coming from Eastern Harar and Meki town in the Oromia Region.

“We have received two complaints on possible human rights violations from different areas and we have sent our investigators to look into the situation. We have to do the investigation to get concrete evidence to see if indeed there have been violations or not so that is what we are doing,” said Addisu Gebregziabher, Commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

Addisu further stated that even before the declaration of the State of Emergency, the Commission had already planned to carryout investigations in the Amhara and Oromia Regions to see if people’s rights are being respected but due to the escalation of the situation in those regions, the commission was not able to deploy its investigators into the areas.

“We will be looking at the situations of those that have been taken into custody so far. Our job is to look into the reasons of their arrest, and to see if their rights are being respected while in custody, and if they are going to be going to court, to make sure that happens in a timely manner to get their cases seen. This is the kind of support we will be providing,” the commissioner said.

He further stated that, while the things listed in the state of emergency proclamation are there and need to be respected, human rights need to be respected as well. “The Command Post has already made this clear as well and we will monitor that and check it so that no violations occur and investigate instances where there might have been violations and report it to the respective body to deal with the situation. So we will be working in collaboration with the Command Post on this,” he said.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission along with the Institution of the Ombudsman held a consultation meeting where different representatives of the private sector, NGOs as well as religious leaders were present, to discuss the Commission’s annual plan. The meeting was held on Thursday, October 27, 2016 at the Intercontinental Addis Hotel.

“The main point of this meeting is not only to reveal our plan for this year but to also get feedback from the public as well as different institutions to improve the way we provide service and to reach more communities with our services. Last year we had done this every three months and that is what we will do this year as well,” Addisu said.

Some participants of the meeting state that, the current State of Emergency, although very necessary, can also lead to problems when it comes to human rights violations by security forces, they also called on the Commission to do better monitoring work and clearly and openly expose incidences of violations when they occur and find swift solutions for people’s problems.