Ethiopia: Declaring a new State of Emergency Could Deepen the Political Crisis

HRLHA Press Release

February 18, 2018

On February 16, 2018 the Ethiopian government has again declared a State of Emergency for six months. This came only months after the earlier state of emergency under which the population of Ethiopia suffered for ten months.

This State of Emergency was declared a day after the surprise resignation of the Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn from his post on February 15, 2018.

The State of Emergency was announced by the government run-media Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC). According to the announcement the Council of Ministers passed this decision to protect the constitution and the security of Ethiopians.

The declaration cited the Ethiopian constitution “Article 93 1. (a) The Council of Ministers of the Federal Government shall have the power to decree a state of emergency should an external invasion, a breakdown of law and order which endangers the constitutional order and which cannot be controlled by the regular law enforcement agencies and personnel, a natural disaster, or an epidemic occur”

By declaring the new State of Emergency, the Ethiopian government once more demonstrated to the world its unwillingness to comply with domestic and international laws and answer the grievance of its own citizens. On the contrary, the government prefers to go again in the wrong direction to restrict the fundamental rights and freedom of Ethiopians by declaring a state of emergency where there is no an extraordinary situation on the ground posing a fundamental threat to the country.

The HRLHA believes this State of Emergency is part of the government’s campaign to continue dehumanizing the citizens by putting restrictions on freedom of speech and association, while codifying many abusive tactics by the security forces, including killing, disappearing, and arbitrary detentions similar to the past.

From past experience, the Ethiopian government must know that the Ethiopian nations and nationalities are committed to continue to demand their basic and fundamental rights. They are demanding their inalienable rights which include “life, liberty.” and fundamental rights which include “freedom of expression and association”, rights that are enshrined in the Ethiopian constitution of 1995 Chapter III articles (13-44) that government denied them for decdes.

To bring about a sustainable peace, the Ethiopian government should answer the legitimate demands of the people for fundamental rights, freedom, justice and equality. However, the government prefers terrorizing its citizens by committing fascistic actions, and ruling at gunpoint by committing gross human rights violations including, mass killings against innocent citizens- mostly youths. For example, in the past three months, there were four mass killings in Oromia (10 killed in Ambo  in October, 26, 2017, 15 killed in Chelenko towns on Dec 10, 2017, 11 killed in Hammaressa, Harar town on February 10, 2018) and in Amhara (7 killed in Waldia town on Jan 20, 2018) Regional States,

The HRLHA expresses its concern that the government has basically renewed the killing license of its military force, in the name of the State of Emergency, to commit even more killings, detentions and disappearing youths, men and women that the government calls “Tsere Limat Hyiloch”, literally anti- development forces.

Therefore, the HRLHA calls on the world community to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to reverse its baseless decision and abort the declared“ the State of Emergency”

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