26/03/10 (B543-B) LDDH / La LDDH déplore le départ forcé d’Ethiopie des Défenseurs des D.H. et des journalistes

Le Président


La LDDH déplore le départ forcé d’Ethiopie des Défenseurs des D.H.
et des journalistes

La Ligue Djiboutienne des Droits Humains (LDDH) déplore le départ forcé des Défenseurs des Droits de l’Homme de nos frères d’Ethiopie et en particulier les Journalistes. En cette période électorale le régime dictatorial veut se maintenir par la force et la terreur.

La Ligue Djiboutienne rappelle que le P.M. Meles est passible de Crimes de Guerre, Crimes contre l’Humanité, et de Crimes de Disparition forcée, tant en Ethiopie, qu’en Ogaden, qu’en Territoire Oromos et en République de Somalie.




Press Release
22nd March 2010

GENEVA: End attacks on human rights defenders in Ethiopia

The East and Horn of African Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) called on the Ethiopian delegation present at UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Friday 19th March for the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process to end attacks on human rights defenders and to significantly amend new legislation that restrict the work of defenders.

In its intervention to the Council, EHAHRDP stressed the failure of the Ethiopian authorities to protect, promote and fulfill the rights of human rights defenders and sought to disavow claims made by the Ethiopian delegation during the first part of the UPR session in December 2009 that restrictive legislation passed in 2009 would not have an impact on the scope of defenders’ work.

Mr. Hassan Shire, Executive Director of EHAHRDP, started off by highlighting the impact that the Proclamation on Charities and Societies, by far the most restrictive of such laws in the region, is currently having on the ground: organisations choosing to register as Ethiopian charities in order to be able to continue their human rights work have had to significantly scale down both in terms of staff and scope of their activities and have had their bank accounts frozen.

“Reducing the capacity of human rights monitors at the national level at such a crucial time is concerning and risks to further undermine the fairness and freeness of this year’s elections”said Mr. Shire Sheikh in his intervention to the Council, referring to the forthcoming May 2010 elections, the first since the contested elections of 2005.

The intervention then went on to describe how the new Anti-Terrorism Proclamation with its very broad definition of what constitutes encouragement of terrorism, notably including writing and editing on terrorist acts, is also being used, both directly and indirectly, against defenders. One example of this was the campaign of intimidation in October/November 2009 against the Addis Neger, an independent weekly, by the government affiliated Addis Zemen that accused Addis Neger and its staff of terrorism. Mr. Shire highlighted the significance and impact of such a campaign: “Given the attack on the independent press following the 2005 election in which journalists were charged of anti-state actions, such intimidation can only have a chilling effect on the very small independent media sector”.

Mr. Shire went on to question the claims made by the Ethiopian delegations’ in December that there were no harassment of civil society in Ethiopia by describing how human rights organizations engaged in the drafting of the UPR stakeholders’ report last year had been publiclycriticisedby members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Justice when they presented their report to these same authorities.

The ever increasing number of defenders leaving the country, including most of the staff of Addis Neger which has shut down, was given as a final example of the extent of the repression facing defenders on the ground.

Mr. Shire therefore concluded his intervention by calling on the Ethiopian authorities “to respect and promote the rights of human rights defenders, notably by significantly amending, or repealing, the legislations mentioned above and by actively refraining from the harassment, arbitrarily arrest and detention, and intimidation of defenders”and called on the Ethiopian authorities to invite the relevant UN Special Rapporteurs to Ethiopia without undue delay.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact
Mr. Hassan Shire Sheikh, Executive Director of EHAHRDP
on + 256 772 753 753

or Ms Laetitia Bader, Human Rights Officer at EHAHRDP
on + 256 775 141 756

or advocacy@defenddefenders.org ( for French speakers).

EHAHRD-Net Index GEN 01/011/2010
Laetitia Bader
Human Rights Officer
East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project
Human Rights House, Plot 1853 Lulume Rd., Nsambya
P.O. Box 70356 Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256-312-265823
+256 – 414 510263
Fax: +256-312-265825

Website: http://www.defenddefenders.org