By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – The Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) expressed concern that street checking being carried out by the government security forces are beyond the legal procedure and rules. The Council said that the security forces in Addis Ababa are arresting, harassing and abusing citizens while conducting street checking in an illegal manner.
The Council pointed out in a statement it released recently that the arrests and abuses are taking place in different areas across the city. This was done following the announcement of the Security and Safety Joint Task Force to conduct a series of coordinated operations in the Capital.
The Federal Government has established a task force made up of the police drawn from the City Administration and the Federal Government in a bid to maintain peace and security in the City. While doing this, the police forces sometimes are pursuing procedures out of the legal system and this will have a negative impact on people’s human rights.
It is to be recalled that the Security and Safety Joint Task Force, which consists of five members, announced in a statement that a series of coordinated operations would be conducted in Addis Ababa, in defense of forces organized to disrupt the security of the City. Giving due attention to the preservation of peace and security is appropriate, according to the Council. However, while accomplishing such tasks of law enforcement, precaution will have to be taken not to violate the law and rights of individuals. It has been witnessed that the parties participating in the process are trying to act against the law by restricting people’s human rights in a disproportionate manner. It is advisable if there is a system that ensures the respect of law and order and helps bring about accountability in the enforcement process, EHRCO said in its statement.
EHRCO has been able to find out through evidence it has collected in the midst of this operation that street checking accompanied by illegal arrests, harassments and abuses are being conducted in various areas of the City by the security forces. The task force should have operated as per the legal procedure, it said. However, what has been observed in some areas is that the security forces have acted beyond their power by violating the normal legal procedure, according to EHRCO.
The Council said that the primary responsibility of a government is to maintain peace and security of the people. Moreover, with regard to rights, the government is duty bound to respect and preserve human rights. While preserving the peoples’ peace and security, the government and other concerned bodies are expected to act as per the legal procedure. This time there should be applied a system which brings about accountability so that the executive body will not violate human rights and abuse its power. The Council further stated in its statement that the principles of legality, proportionality, necessity, non-discrimination, transparency, accountability and other human rights should be respected.
If this is not implemented, such joint government operations like the one mentioned above may affect or limit various human rights such as the right to move, freedom of expression, the right to assembly and other human rights.
EHRCO has thus called for the implementation of a system through which the joint task force can act and hold accountable those who violate the law while accomplishing their tasks. This should be implemented so as to preserve the desired peace and security through a coordinated and successive operation of the joint task forces in Addis Ababa and to accomplish it in legal procedure. The security forces should follow appropriate legal procedures so as to avoid using disproportionate and unnecessary forces and not to limit and violate people’s rights, EHRCO indicated in its statement.
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