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.

Ethiopia Newsroom

April 7, 2020 • Press Release

Armed conflicts and state repression in Africa fuel cocktail of human rights violations

HUMAN RIGHTS IN AFRICA: Protesters across sub-Saharan Africa have braved bullets and beatings to defend their rights in the face of continuing conflict and state repression, Amnesty International said today …

January 3, 2018 • Press Release

Ethiopia: Closure of “torture chamber” could signal new chapter for human rights

Responding to an announcement by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn that all political prisoners will be released and a notorious detention centre closed, Fisseha Tekle, Ethiopia Researcher at Amnesty International, said:

November 9, 2016 • Press Release

Ethiopia: After a year of protests, time to address grave human rights concerns

Nearly one year on from the start of a wave of protests that has left at least 800 people dead at the hands of security forces, the Ethiopian government must take concrete steps to address grave human rights concerns in the country, Amnesty International said today.

October 5, 2016 • Press Release

Ethiopia: Renewed protests underline need to investigate after dozens killed in stampede

Fresh protests in Ethiopia since dozens of protesters were killed in a stampede at a religious festival on 2 October underline the need for the Ethiopian government to ensure a …

September 13, 2016 • Press Release

Coalition of NGO and Diaspora Groups Support Ethiopia Human Rights Resolution

The undersigned civil society organizations applaud U.S. Representatives Chris Smith, Keith Ellison and Mike Coffman for introducing House Resolution 861, entitled “Supporting human rights and encouraging inclusive governance in Ethiopia.”

August 8, 2016 • Press Release

Dozens killed as police use excessive force against peaceful protesters in Ethiopia

At least 97 people were killed and hundreds more injured when Ethiopian security forces fired live bullets at peaceful protesters across Oromia region over the weekend, according to credible sources who spoke to Amnesty International.

June 30, 2016 • Press Release

Allow Ethiopian opposition politician to obtain treatment abroad for torture-sustained injuries

The Ethiopian authorities must allow an opposition politician who is now unconscious due to injuries sustained in torture and other ill-treatment to obtain life-saving medical treatment abroad, said Amnesty International in a letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

June 3, 2016 • Press Release

Detainees beaten and forced to appear before court inadequately dressed in Ethiopia

Authorities in Ethiopia should immediately stop the ill treatment of political opposition members and human rights defenders who were beaten in detention and then forced to appear before the court inadequately dressed, Amnesty International said today.

May 6, 2016 • Press Release

Ethiopia must release opposition politician held for Facebook posts

The Ethiopian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release a prominent opposition politician facing a possible death sentence on trumped-up terrorism charges over comments he posted on Facebook, said Amnesty International.

February 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.