The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), through the Country Rapporteur for the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Commissioner Lawrence M Mute, wishes to address itself on the human rights situation in Ethiopia.
The Commission is gravely concerned by the escalation of protests which have been taking place in the Oromia region since the 23rd October 2019. Those protests have spiraled into clashes amongst civilians and between civilians and security forces, and they are increasingly being fanned by ethnic and religious under-currents, with groups being mobilized to attack minority ethnic communities and churches.
The Commission is concerned that these clashes have led to the death of at least 67 civilians and security personnel and the injury of at least 200 people, the displacement of populations, and the destruction of homes, churches, businesses and public infrastructure.
The Commission expresses its condolences to all those who have been killed or injured in the clashes.
The Commission calls on all Ethiopians to play their due roles to ensure the expeditious restoration of the rule of law to avoid even greater catastrophe. Ethiopians indeed have the right to protest peaceably without resorting to violence on their neighbours or the security forces. No-one should exploit Ethiopia’s current political transition to divide the country on religious or ethnic grounds. Social media should not be used to spread hate and incite violence.
Regional governments too have responsibilities to guarantee the rights of all resident Ethiopians, and local administrative and security forces should act accordingly to protect all civilians regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds.
The Commission wishes to remind the Government that it is obligated to take measures for restoring peace and reassuring the country. It should ensure that its security forces take appropriate measures to protect civilians, and that they do not use indiscriminate force in this regard. It should investigate arising human rights violations, prosecute perpetrators and provide effective remedies to victims.
Finally, the Commission calls on the Government of Ethiopia to invite it to undertake a human rights protection mission in the country.
Commissioner Lawrence M Mute
Country Rapporteur of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Done in Banjul, 28 October 2019