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Ethiopia: Human Rights Watch calls for repeal of State of Emergency provisions that are contrary to International law

October 31,2016

Human Rights Watch legal analysis of state of emergency in Ethiopia indicates that some provisions of directives are “overly broad and vague” and have negative impacts on human rights. According to Human Rights Watch news release which is published today on its website, some provisions seem to contravene international law and could trigger human rights crisis in Ethiopia, and calls for the provision be repealed.

“The government should promptly repeal or revise all elements of the directive that are contrary to international law” says the report.


It is to be recalled that prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne asserted that the state of emergency is in line with international legal norms when he appeared on state television to declare the state of emergency. However, the directives to implement the state of emergency were issued weeks after the state of emergency was declared. On October 27, regime in Ethiopia announced formation of parliamentary body to oversee implementation of directives – that is nearly three weeks after deceleration of state of emergency and weeks after the directive to implement it was announced.

“The state of emergency hands the army new sweeping powers to crack down on demonstrators, further limiting the space for peaceful dissent ” , noted HRW . In the words of Human Rights Watch, State of emergency “…signal an increased militarized response to the situation.”

The immediate cause for the deceleration of state of emergency appeared to be widespread protest in towns surrounding Addis Ababa following the tragic event after security forces responded to peaceful protest on October 2, in Debre Zeit (Bishoftu) which led to deaths of at least 600 Ethiopians during Ireecha, Oromo religious event, celebrations. Human Rights Watch called for independent investigation of security forces response to the protest that led to civilians in Bishoftu.

To access Human Rights Watch report, please click here

Cover Photo source : Human Rights Watch


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