Law & Order

  • Statement by the U.S. Embassy

    Addis Ababa, October 18, 2017:- The United States sees peaceful demonstrations as a legitimate means of expression and political participation.

    We note with appreciation a number of recent events during which demonstrators expressed themselves peacefully, and during which security forces exercised restraint in allowing them to do so.

    We are saddened by reports that several recent protests ended in violence and deaths. All such reports merit transparent investigation that allows those responsible for violence to be held accountable.

    We encourage all Ethiopians to continue to express their views peacefully, and encourage Ethiopian authorities to permit peaceful expression of views. More generally, we encourage constructive, peaceful, and inclusive national discourse on matters of importance to Ethiopian citizens.

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  • U.S. Congress Should Call Ethiopia’s Bluff

    Dr. Rajiv Shah, left, USAID administrator speaks with Ethiopian Prime Minister H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn in 2014. (© Flickr USAID)

    by Yoseph Badwaza, Senior Program Officer, Africa

    Addis Ababa has halted a human rights resolution in the House by threatening to break off security cooperation with the United States.

    When Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) addressed a gathering of mostly Ethiopian-origin constituents in late September, he told them that according to the Ethiopian ambassador in Washington, Ethiopia would stop counterterrorism cooperation with the United States if Congress went ahead with a planned vote on a resolution calling for human rights protections and inclusive governance in the country (H. Res. 128).

    The threat appears to have worked: The floor vote on the resolution has been indefinitely postponed.

    This may be viewed as just another instance of an authoritarian government playing the counterterrorism card to avoid international criticism for a bad human rights record. But in the case of Ethiopia, it is more than that.

    H. Res. 128 has strong bipartisan support, with 71 cosponsors. The resolution passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously on July 27 and was scheduled for a vote by the full House on October 2. As the author of the measure, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), said during the committee mark-up, the resolution is like a mirror held up to the government of Ethiopia, and it is intended to encourage them to recognize how others see them and move forward with reforms.

    While the resolution contains provisions that call for sanctions—under the Global Magnitsky Act—against Ethiopian officials responsible for committing gross human rights violations, the more important reason why the government took the severe step of threatening the U.S. Congress is the damage that this resolution could do to the country’s image.

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  • “The death of Somalie businessman is the cause of the conflict” Blue and AEOU

    Addis Admas Blue Party and All Ethiopian Unity Organization (AEOU), said they sent the Committee of Experts to find out the reason of the conflict in the Oromia and Somali Regions.

    According to the report, the instigator of the conflict the death of a well-known businessman in the region. The government, on the other hand, could not comment on the two parties’ reports.

    Considering the seriousness of the situation the two parties sent an investigation team to the region to find the cause of the conflict. According to the report, security forces didn’t intervene to stabilize the situation until the conflict escalated.

    After the incident of September 2, 2010, which claims the life of a Somali investor in East Hararegi town, the conflict escalated. The Oromo nationals who live in Somali region, said said, the Somalis had burned their homes, robbed their property and killed them.

    In this unnecessary conflict, the people who were displaced from their properties said, they are not getting enough food and clothing, some of them don’t even have a mattress. The investigative team confirmed the claim is true and the displaced people live in an empty warehouse. They also pointed out that children have diarrhea due to the shortage of food and clean water.

    The parties claim that the government is responsible for human suffering; they asked the government publicly apologize to those who were affected by it. For those who lost their loved one, the government should give moral compensation.

    They also demanded the government to take a swift action for those who lost their homes and properties by giving them financial compensation.

    “We call on every Ethiopian citizen and international charity organizations, to contribute to those who needs your support right now.” The parties also said, they are working to distribute letters of support for Selected Bodies. In a related issue, the parties will reveal bank account numbers to the public soon.

    Regarding the findings of the parties on the conflict, Communication Affairs Director Dr. Lencho Leta said, “Since we didn’t receive the report, It’s difficult to express the position of the government.” According to Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, their report on the cause of the conflict will be available this month.

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  • Abadula Gemeda Resigns as Speaker of the Federal Parliament

    Addis Abeba October 07/2017 – Two credible sources told AS that Abadula Gemeda, speaker of the Ethiopian House of Peoples’ Representatives has resigned from his post.

    According to one source, Abadula has “submitted a resignation letter to the federal government in protest over recent political developments including the federal security handling of the ongoing violence in eastern Ethiopia”, which has displaced about 150, 000 Oromos from the country’s Somali regional state.

    Our source further said that in recent weeks tensions have risen to a high level between Abadula and other senior members of the ruling coalition regarding the federal security forces’ intervention in Oromia regional state.

    The joint session of the federal parliament and the house of federation is expected to open on Monday Oct. 09 at 2:00 PM after the summer recess.

    A veteran politician, Abadula was once the President of the Oromia regional state and the minister of defense. Many see his role as a bridge between the federal government and the increasingly assertive leadership of the Oromia regional state. Our sources said that he will remain part of the central committee of the Oromo People Democratic Organization (OPDO), the largest member of the ruling EPRDF coalition.

     This Story First Appeared on Addis Standard

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  • FAA bans drone flights near major US landmarks

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration is banning drone flights within 400 feet (122 meters) of several national landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore.

    The FAA announced the no-fly drone zones at 10 Department of the Interior sites on Thursday. They take effect Oct. 5.

    The restricted sites also include Boston National Historical Park, Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park and Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri.

    Five dams also are on the list: Nevada’s Hoover Dam, Shasta and Folsom Dams in California, Arizona’s Glen Canyon Dam and Washington’s Grand Coulee Dam.

    Drone violators may face civil penalties and criminal charges.

    The FAA says the new restrictions came at the request of U.S. national security and law enforcement agencies.

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  • Uganda introduces bill to remove presidential age limit

    Fistfights erupted in parliament for the second day as MPs from the ruling party pushed for the bill to be introduced [James Akena/Reuters]

    Uganda's parliament has taken a first step towards scrapping the presidential age limit that would allow long-time leader Yoweri Museveni to stay in power, in a heated session that saw politicians brawling for a second consecutive day.

    The move on Wednesday met widespread opposition from civic rights activists, opposition politicians and religious leaders.

    Under the existing constitution, a person standing for president must be under 75 years of age - which would make Museveni, 73, ineligible to stand at the next polls in 2021.

    Tempers frayed in parliament for the second day over the plan, backed by members of Museveni's National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.

    MPs brandished microphone stands, threw punches and clambered over benches as security officers sought to remove 25 lawmakers barred by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga after engaging in another brawl on the same issue on Tuesday.

    Despite the disruption, the bill was passed after the leader of the parliamentary opposition, Winnie Kiiza of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), led a walk-out.

    "We are not going to be part of Museveni's life presidency project," Kiiza said.

    But supporters of the motion argued that age limits discriminate against the elderly.

    "Age should not be a factor that hinders the rights and freedom of any Ugandan to vie for the post of a president," Moses Balyeku, a member of parliament, said.

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