By Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (September 8, 2016)
Fifteen international rights organizations wrote a letter to the Permanent Representatives of Members and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council urging the body to draw attention and address grave violations of human rights in Ethiopia, including the recent crackdown on largely peaceful protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions.
The call by the rights groups was made ahead of the 33rdsession of the UN Human Rights Council scheduled to be held next week.
The call was made by Amnesty International, Human Rights and Reporters Without Borders among others.
The letter urged the delegations of the Council to make “joint and individual statements reinforcing and building upon the expressions of concern by the High Commissioner, UN Special Procedures, and others.”
The civic organizations urge the UN body in its upcoming 33rd session of the Human Rights Council to call on the Ethiopian regime to “immediately cease the use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force by security forces against protesters in Oromia and Amhara regions and elsewhere in Ethiopia.”
It called on the regime to “urgently allow access to an international, 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 urged the Council to call on the Ethiopian 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.”
Last month the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, called for “access for independent observers to the country to assess the human rights situation”.
However, the regime rejected the call by the Commissioner saying it would conduct its own investigations.
Security forces killed hundreds of protesters and detained tens of thousands especially in the Oromo and Amhara regions, where people have been demanding an end to a tyrannical minority rule and an end to economic and political marginalization.