Ethiopia : Eight important rights restricted by state of emergency

October 09,2016

Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation video (from YouTube channel) Federal prosecutor Getachew Ambaye speaking to government journalists regarding declared state of emergency

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Based on explanation by Federal prosecutor, command post under prime minister Hailemariam Desalegne is “constitutionally” empowered to execute state of emergency for a maximum period of time allowed by the constitution ; six months.

However, duration of the state of emergency could be more or could be less than six months depending on the situation, says Getachew.

Article 93 of the constitution is cited as the legal basis for the declaration of the state of emergency – theoretically supposed to come into effect under circumstances of natural disaster or under circumstances that threatens”constitutional law and order.”

Why the sate of emergency became a necessity has got to do with inability of the regime to maintain “peace and security” with the regular law enforcement practices- according to the prosecutor.

Parts of Ethiopia that will come under the state of emergency will be determined by the command post which is under, theoretically, Hailemariam Desalegne. Obviously, Tigray People’s Liberation front authorities will be in charge of the command post.

What are the restriction? Eight major ones :

Political, civil and human rights including freedom of movement, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly -among other things- are restricted by the state of emergency. The following eight are the major ones;

1) Covert or overt political messages could be outlawed
2) All forms of communication could be closed down or disconnected under order by the prime minister in selected areas of Ethiopia
3) Public meetings and demonstrations will be restricted (although a constitutional right,it was never allowed even under normal circumstances before outbreak of widespeard popular protest)
4) Public organizing including moving in groups
5) Anyone( “suspect”) can be arrested without court order
6) House could be searched without court search warrant
7) Individuals or vehicles could be stopped randomly and searched
8) Certain areas of Ethiopia will be subject to curfew. Borkena is informed that 10 pm curfew is already declared.

Well before the coming into effect of the state of emergency, many areas if Ethiopia came under state of emergency like conditions. With that gross and brutal human rights violations were intensified in some areas.

Given existing critical malaise in regards to rule of law in Ethiopia, major concern about the state of emergency is that loyal forces of the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front party will use the new law to retaliate total loss of legitimacy and even hate toward TPLF.

In other words, the state of emergency could worsen arbitrary and unlawful killings in a way paving a way for a genocide like circumstance.

Written by Dimetros Birku. Tweets : @dimetros

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