Ethiopia Human Rights
Human Rights Concerns
In November of 2005, Ethiopian police killed 6 and wounded as many as 24 civilians in a march protesting the recently released election results. There have been numerous reports of government opponents being taken from their homes in the aftermath of this incident. There have also been reports of widespread arbitrary detention, torture, "disappearances", harsh prison conditions, and use of excessive force by police and soldiers against anyone suspected of supporting the armed opposition groups. No one responsible for a 2003 killing that left 63 Anuak people dead (witnesses and unofficial estimates put the number at several hundred) has been brought to justice.
On November 7th, 2005, police brought to court 24 opposition leaders and others who were arrested in Addis Ababa on 1 November following street demonstrations that erupted into four days of violence when police started shooting. At least 46 protesters were killed in Addis Ababa and other towns, and at least 4,000 were arrested. The detainees include Hailu Shawel, aged 70, president of the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy party; Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, 75, former chair of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council; Dr Yacob Hailemariam, a former UN Special Envoy and former prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; Ms Birtukan Mideksa, CUD vice-president and a former judge; and Dr Berhanu Negga, the recently elected Mayor of Addis Ababa and university professor of economics.
The court ordered them to be detained for a further 14 days (with the next hearing set for November 21st) for police investigations into suspected violent conspiracy, although no one yet has been formally charged with any offense. The 24, who had been kept incommunicado, are said to be held at the police Central Investigation Bureau (known as Maikelawi) in Addis Ababa. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said that these detainees are likely to be charged with treason, which carries a possible death penalty.
Food scarcity continues to affect as many as 7 million people in Ethiopia. A government plan that aims to resettle 2.2 million people has been remiss in its duties to provide humane conditions at the resettlement camps-- malnutrition, high child mortality, and poor health facilities remain a problem.
Forced early marriage of girls and female genital mutilation are still common, though AI salutes the women's groups that have begun to convene to address these things.