ESAT News (February 26, 2016)
Nine international and regional civil society organizations, CSOs, called on the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to press Ethiopia to “immediately cease the use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force by security forces against protesters in Oromia Region of Ethiopia and elsewhere in Ethiopia.”
The CSOs in a letter to the UNHRC, also called the regime to “ immediately and unconditionally release journalists, human rights defenders, political opposition leaders and members as well as protesters arbitrarily detained during and in the aftermath of the protests.”
It also called Ethiopia to “urgently establish a thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigation into all of the deaths resulting from alleged excessive use of force by the security forces, and other violations of human rights in the context of the protests.”
The letter urges Ethiopia to “ensure that those responsible for human rights violations are prosecuted in proceedings which comply with international law and standards on fair trial and without resort to the death penalty; and fully comply with its international legal obligations and commitments including under the, ICCPR, African Charter and its own Constitution.”
“This restrictive environment means that there are few avenues available for accountability and independent dissent in the country. It is essential that the UN Human Rights Council takes a strong position urging the Ethiopian Government to immediately end its systematic campaign to suppress peaceful protests and legitimate human rights activism,” the CSOs said in the letter.
The signatories of the letter are Article 19, Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE), CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Civil Rights Defenders, Defend Defenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Right Defenders Project), Ethiopia Human Rights Project (EHRP), Front Line Defenders, Human Rights Watch and International Federation for Human Rights.