35th session UN Human Rights Council
General Debate – Ethiopia’s noncompliance with UN Special Rapporteurs
16 June 2017

CIVICUS welcomes the Communication report of Special Procedures, which sheds light on the breadth of work undertaken by this unique mechanism of the Human Rights Council.

We refer in this context to the ‘Communications’ report by the Special Rapporteur on the freedom of peaceful assembly and association. We note that there has been an average 50% response rate from governments on alerts and other communications. However, Ethiopia has shown a total no-response to the numerous stand alone or joint alerts they received during the period of reporting. We reiterate our grave concerns voiced also by other independent experts of the United Nations in relation to the violent crackdown on peaceful protests, which reportedly led to the death of over 800 people since November 2015 in Ethiopia. We remain extremely alarmed by numerous reports that those arrested had faced torture and ill-treatment in military detention centers. 

We also reiterate our worry regarding the Proclamation on Anti-Terrorism and Charities and Societies Law adopted in August 2009. The extremely broad and ambiguous provisions of the laws   continue to be used to silence independent voices and civil society groups.

Finally, we urge the government of Ethiopia to head the calls to end the state of emergency declared on 9 October 2016. The state of emergency decree provides for a wide range of repressive measures, undermining the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, including banning communications with governments and CSOs that may undermine ‘national sovereignty, constitutional order and security’.

We call on the Government as a member of the Council to fully cooperate with the mandates of Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.

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