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The 2017 human right report of the US Department of State has detailed very harsh measures against human right in the country.
The 39 page dossier details every aspects of human right issue and mainly focused on basic right abuse in the year 2017.
However the Embassy of the US in Addis Ababa expressed its hope for a better achievement in the current year.
The embassy that issued a statement following the US Department of State 2017 Human Rights Report for Ethiopia, stated that the 2017 Human Rights Report for Ethiopia reflects serious challenges to the Ethiopian people’s ability to exercise their basic rights last year.
“We believe there is reason for optimism that the 2018 Human Rights Report will tell a different story, one of progress,” the embassy said in a statement expressing its hope.
“Notwithstanding the ongoing state of emergency, about which we have already expressed our views, 2018 has seen positive steps as well, including the release of thousands of prisoners. We are also encouraged by strong and clear statements by Prime Minister Abiy regarding the need for reforms that would ensure Ethiopian’s rights are protected and that they are able to participate in an inclusive political environment,” the statement added.
In its dossier with seven sections the State Department has compiled the abuses recorded by international and local agencies and organization that occurred in the past year.
It has claimed that the government does not take measures on those who abuse human rights under its system.
“The government generally did not take steps to prosecute or otherwise punish officials who committed human rights abuses other than corruption,” it said. It added that impunity was a problem; there was an extremely limited number of prosecutions of security force members or officials for human rights abuses during the year.
It argued that impunity remained a serious problem, including impunity for killings and other violence against protesters.
The report further states that there were no public reports whether internal investigations of the federal police for possible abuses during the state of emergency (SOE) occurred. It reminded that the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that stated in April last year that security forces used excessive force in some localities in Oromia and Amhara regions. It added that the commission did not publicly release its report.
The dossier also said that the government rarely publicly disclosed the results of investigations into abuses by local security forces, such as arbitrary detention and beatings of civilians.
It stated that authorities regularly detained persons arbitrarily, including protesters, journalists, and opposition party members. It quoted the local human right non-governmental organization report that it said the May Human Right Commission (HRCO) report stated authorities illegally detained 22,525 persons during the SOE.
The US report has also amplified its concern on the legal system in the country particularly in the criminal cases.
“The law provides for an independent judiciary. Although the civil courts operated with a large degree of independence, criminal courts remained weak and overburdened and subject to political influence,” it explained.
In its harsh report against the Ethiopian human right condition it has also stated that there were an unknown number of political prisoners and detainees at year’s end. “Throughout the year the government detained journalists, activists, and political opposition members, although not explicitly on political grounds. The most common charges against journalists, activists, or opposition politicians were terrorism via the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP), participation in a proscribed terrorist group, incitement, and outrage against the constitution or the constitutional order,” it added.
“Corruption, especially the solicitation of bribes, including police and judicial corruption, remained a problem,” the report added. “Some stakeholders believed government officials manipulated the land allocation process and state or party owned businesses received preferential access to land leases and credit. The law mandates that the federal attorney general investigate and prosecute corruption cases,” the report stated.
When the latest state of emergency was imposed in mid-February, the US was the first to oppose it. Such kind of criticism was not seen from the US, which is one of the major allies of the Ethiopian government.