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Ethiopian Human Rights Commission urges MPs to push the gov’t to give peace chance

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission

By Hailegebriel Endeshaw
Staff Reporter

ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) calls the House of Peoples Representatives (HPR) to urge the government to give peace a chance before the current injury is getting worse in Amhara Region.

EHRC said this while presenting the nine-month performance report of the 2022/2023 Ethiopian Fiscal Year to the permanent committee of democratic affairs of the Parliament. Ethiopian Insider said that the report presented by Commissioner of EHRC, Daniel Bekele (PhD), touched on positive progress and human rights-related issues witnessed over the last nine months.

EHRC lauded in its report the initiative taken to sign peace agreement between the Ethiopian Government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). It also said that the effort being made to implement the Transitional Justice “is an encouraging step”.

Daniel took much time to deliberate about what he called “ongoing concerning issues” of the past nine months. Raising the issue of the military action in Amhara Region, Daniel said that as this military action can have consequences on human rights, the commission is surveying it closely.

The commissioner said that the security steps being taken in the Amhara Region have caused death of civilians, destruction of properties and displacement of people. “Based on the information available so far, with the perspective of human rights, the situation is very bothering,” Daniel said, adding that “the parliament should instantly urge the executive body of the government to heed the significance of discussion and peaceful resolution before the problem is getting worse”.

The other concerning issue Daniel has raised is the attack targeting the journalists, opposition political parties and rebellious voices. “This has recently become a concerning issue,” the commissioner reported to the permanent committee of the parliament.

Arbitrary arrest and ill-treatment in prison were the other concerning issues indicated in the report of EHRC. Restriction imposed on the rights of movement from place to place was also the other point touched as concerning the issue in the report. The restriction imposed on the people who want to travel from Tigray and Amhara Regions to Addis Ababa was mentioned by the commissioner as an example.

After the report, the democratic affairs permanent committee of the Parliament and other representatives forwarded queries. Issues related to credibility, inclusiveness and impartiality were among the questions raised to the commissioner.

There are MPs who queried the commission to give responses and explanations regarding issues: “How far the reports, released by the commission, are credible?” There is a complaint that the commission is working with much emphasis on the limited sector of the society… There was also a comment that the commission’s actions follow the media reports. It is not working on its own, based on its plan. The other MP has also asked regarding the independence of the commission. “I am in doubt concerning its neutrality,” the MP said. 

Responding to the queries, Commissioner Daniel Bekele said that it “does not mean” all the said comments and opinions are correct. “I leave this to the judgment of your conscience,” he said.

He further said that his commission would not act unless it clarifies events. “When we take time to clarify this, we are asked why we do not report soon,” the commissioner said, adding that his commission is a free national human rights institution. “We should work free from the influence of the government. We don’t work to agree, to take a similar position with the government,” he said. 

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