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Ethiopia: Future of last remaining human rights monitoring NGO in the balance

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02/02/12

  09:20:23 pm, by admin, 722 words  
Categories: Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Future of last remaining human rights monitoring NGO in the balance

Ethiopia: Future of last remaining human rights monitoring NGO in the balance

Join Press Statement

Source: Human Rights Watch

On February 3, 2012, the Cassation Bench of the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia will hear a petition by the Human Rights Council (HRCO), Ethiopia’s oldest human rights organization, to admit an appeal against the freezing of its bank accounts. Amnesty International, ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and Human Rights Watch express deep concern at the obstacles and restrictions to which HRCO and other human rights organizations in Ethiopia are now subjected, as illustrated by this case. The decision of the Supreme Court will be of great significance for the future of HRCO’s vital work and for the wider promotion and protection of human rights in Ethiopia.

HRCO’s bank accounts were frozen after the introduction of the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO law), adopted by the Ethiopian parliament in 2009 to regulate domestic and international civil society organizations. The CSO law prohibits human rights organizations in Ethiopia from receiving more than 10 percent of their funding from foreign sources. As a result, the majority of independent Ethiopian civil society organizations working on human rights issues have had to discontinue their work. The CSO law has been widely criticized for failing to meet international human rights standards.

In December 2009, the Charities and Societies Agency (CSA), a new regulatory body established under the CSO law, granted HRCO its license as an Ethiopian charity, but, in a letter dated three days before the registration, the CSA ordered four private banks to freeze all of HRCO’s assets including its private bank accounts and reserve funds.

HRCO (formerly known as the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, EHRCO) has been the leading human rights voice in the country, with a strong track record of investigating and reporting on violations and promoting human rights in the country since its establishment in 1991. As a result of the restrictions in the CSO law and the freezing of its accounts, HRCO has been forced to close nine of its twelve offices and cut 85 per cent of its staff.[1]

The CSO law does not allow for retroactive application, meaning the restrictions in the law cannot be applied to funds collected before the passing of the law. Further, the CSA did not secure a court-ordered warrant permitting it to freeze HRCO's assets and nor does the CSO law contain any provision permitting the CSA to block an organization’s accounts. On these bases HRCO challenged the lawfulness of the freeze to the Board of the CSA, and subsequently to the Federal High Court in April 2010. The High Court upheld the decision of the regulatory body on October 24, 2011.

HRCO is now petitioning the Supreme Court, the highest adjudicating body in the country, to hear its appeal against the decision of the Federal High Court.

Ethiopia’s once vibrant civil society has been severely decimated due to various legal and other impediments to its work imposed by the government. The CSO law is just one in a series of laws passed since 2008 to give legal grounding to restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of association. The broad provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009, for example, have been used in the arrest and prosecution of a large number journalists and members of the political opposition in 2011.[2] This has severely affected freedom of speech and the ability to criticize governmental policies without fear of negative consequences. Most recently, on 19 January, 2012, three journalists, an opposition leader and a former opposition supporter were convicted under the anti-terrorism law for writing online articles critical of the government and for having telephone conversations discussing peaceful protest actions.[3]

Amnesty International, ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and Human Rights Watch urge the Supreme Court to protect the rights of HRCO and all human rights organizations in Ethiopia to conduct their legitimate and essential work, including through unrestricted access to their funds. The organizations further urge the Government of Ethiopia to create an enabling environment for civil society in accordance with its constitutional provisions and obligations under international law, to uphold the rights to freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is a global movement of civil society dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society across the world

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Comment from: john john [Visitor]
4 stars
john john

The best way to deal with those NGO and human rights fake advocate get rid of them the are the main tool of blood suckers.

02/02/12 @ 23:13
Comment from: C'est moi senait [Visitor]
C'est moi senait

The homxxxoo and LesXxx Ian western org. Has NO place in new Africa.
Throw out these parasites charities and NGO out of Ethiopia,they are good for nothing . Replace them with investors from far east like chines and India. Etc..
Charities starts at home.

We have now more Hoddams millioners than ever. Let them pay their shares or confiscate everything they own.

02/03/12 @ 00:22
Comment from: HAYELOM [Visitor]
HAYELOM

As an independent observer I sometimes wonder how this organisation could be considere a non partisian civil rights organisation since most of its menbers are party affiliated people. To me the organisation was created by any outside force to serve as liason without giving any consideration to who the people running the organisation are. With due respect to the interest the human rights watch has in ethiopia, I feel it is about time for the organisation and its spokesperson to stop their demagogy and self asess their facts and the backgrounds of those they consider to be fighting for human rights.

02/03/12 @ 01:24
Comment from: extraterrestrial [Member]  
extraterrestrial

HRW get out of Ethiopia. You are an instrument of the west, defending rich countries interest in poor countries through human rights allegations.

02/03/12 @ 07:50
Comment from: Gemech [Visitor]
Gemech

We never had any Human Rights organisation when the Dergue was littering the streets of the country with mutilated bodies of the young and the old. The people who are now masquerading as human rights campaigners had played their part in the mass killing that went on under the infamous Red Terror. These people don’t know what Human Rights is . The first Human rights for Ethiopia is the satisfaction of basic needs, food, shelter and health. What has their contribution been in these areas? Nothing. They are leading a political party in the name of Human Rights. They are more in contact with ill meaning external agencies than they are with the Ethiopian people. In today’s Ethiopia Journalism and Human Rights have come to to be tools of manufacturing dissent. They should be banned for ever.

02/03/12 @ 12:08
Comment from: Ashenafi [Visitor]
5 stars
Ashenafi

If you are being funded by Western NGOs who only want to create and report bad news in Africa for fundraising purposes, then you need to be shut down.

Period!

02/03/12 @ 13:34
Comment from: C'est moi senait [Visitor]
C'est moi senait

First, the West favours and props-up a subservient tyrant and a dictatorial regime to serve their interests.

Second, the IMF and World Bank comes in to loan to the teeth these despots at the expense of the people and the state in order to rob their resources by way of financing the loans in hard currency.

Third, they work to alienate these so-called local leaders from their people and country in order to further rob the country.

Fourth, they create an atmosphere of political, economic and social turmoil and chaos in the country so that they could further cash in on their misery and sufferings.

Fifth, they pretend to extend hand of “humanitarian assistance” and involve their WFP, FAO, and all the other Food Relief NGO’s so as to create a situation of relief food dependency in order to create market for their own farmers and produce, which in the end works to destroy our own local farmers by shipping in plenty of cheap grains, etc., which finds its way to the local markets.

So this are some of ways the Western Mafioso Gangs employ to continue to destroy the peoples and states of Africa as well as the other developing countries.

And now,when these parasites charities and NGO loose the African ground because of the the new face in Africa,that is to say chines and india with their investment policy and rapier building of the continent,these western charities and NGO become anti African development by creating a so called Human right, Amnesty. Their main demand is now quite clear when the UN servant came to Addis in Au meeting and announce that Africa has to accept Homoxxisem and Lessxxbianisen in exchange for western charities and NGO money.
If I were there, i would slap his face and tell him to go to hell with his western parasites charities money.

Some one wrote this statement once,I think he was Fara ..jama

02/03/12 @ 23:34
Comment from: TEDDY [Visitor]
TEDDY

Extra stupid idiot Banda ,your leba master with his evil wife and the tigre mafiosis are really interested by Western Fund raising ,in the name of charity ,when it gives them the opportunity to fill their pockets .But “Democracy” ,"Human Rights” “Good Governance” are really
not their values !!!!!By the way Gemtch as the then Derg Regime which banned Human Rights Organisations and NGOs your leba master with his Agazis is actually playing the same evil game .In the Hope that his crimes shall be not revealed to the whole world .It’s better that this leba learns from the
fates of his masters Gadaffi and Assad even museling the free press ,
banning opposition groups ,exiling human right activists and leaders never spare them from facing the peoples JUSTICE .KERFAFA LEKAMI BANDA !!!!!

02/04/12 @ 02:25
Comment from: Imperial Body Guard [Visitor]
Imperial Body Guard

The United Nations International COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS’Article 19
1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
For respect of the rights or reputations of others;
For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.
Article 20
1.Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.
2.Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law. ‘

It is clear beyond doubt, that the alien imposed federation of secession is a lawless rebel entity of minority alien puppets who wish to impose their views of propaganda by force at the expense of the Ethiopian people and freedom loving nations.

“Each provision in this Chapter has a precedent, either in Ethiopian traditions, or in well-established constitutional precedents abroad. No less than 29 articles have been inserted in the Constitution to provide for the protection of the essential liberties and rights of the people. Thus, We have provided that “no one shall be denied the equal protection of the laws"; that “there shall be no discrimination amongst Ethiopian subjects with respect to the enjoyment of all civil rights";that “there shall be no interference with the exercise in accordance with the law of the rites of any religion or creed by residents of the Empire";that “freedom of speech and of the press is guaranteed throughout the Empire, in accordance with the law";that “correspondence shall be subject to no censorship except in time of declared national emergency.” We have, further confirmed our practice that every person accused of a crime shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty and that no one shall be imprisoned for debt, except in case of legally proved fraud.” Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, page 406

“Unlike many countries of the world, We have provided the right to any resident of the Empire to bring suit against the Government or ministry, department, agency or instrumentality thereof, for wrongful acts resulting in substantial damage. Likewise, everyone in the Empire shall have the right to present petitions to Us.
So important have We considered these guarantees of Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties that, in the Revised Constitution, We have stipulated that not only the courts but, in particular, Ourselves, shall at all times assure and protect these Human Rights. They constitute principles which no branch of the Government, be it the Executive, Legislative or Judiciary, can transgress and which, in consequence, must be placed under the particular protection of the Sovereign Himself. We Ourselves will always be ready to act positively to ensure respect for these rights by all branches and every official of the Government. Thus, the lowliest subject of the Empire, the poorest as well as the richest, even the convict in prison, has always the assurance that the Sovereign is at all times vigilant in the protection of his rights and fundamental liberties.” HIM Negus Haile Selassie

“It is not necessary to enumerate countries where the people and entire country having lost unity, spiritual or otherwise, have become playgrounds and laughing stocks of outsiders. The historical events of certain countries bear witness to this fact. In our own times, there are those expansionists who by shedding blood, desire to achieve their ambition and by dismembering themselves they are seen as tools for alien interests. Our people from Ethiopia shed blood, to save them from disintegration. Those personalities who believe in freeing a country by secession are selfish and prey to outsiders. We will not accept their motives.” Selected Speeches of HIM Negus Haile Selassie I, page 426

“The aim of those leaders that is based on ambition for power and personal gain is one with no firm foundation and will, consequently, crumble easily.” Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, page 471

Long Live the Constitutional Monarchy!
Long Live the Charter of the United Nations!
Fire burn down the neo-colonial witchcraft star of secession
Tinsae! Moa Anbessa!
The Lion of Judah shall throw off the yoke of oppression, and set the captives free!
Long Live Ethio-Eritrean oneness!
Long Live Independent Ethiopia!

02/04/12 @ 10:45
Comment from: Dej.-Balcha-Aba-Safo [Visitor]
Dej.-Balcha-Aba-Safo

I appeal to the Government of Ethiopia to throw out barbaric Europeans’s NGos out of Free Ethiopia – They are there to Spy on Ethiopia’s Sovereign national interests, humiliate the poor and ordinary citizenary, and most of all to advance their own anti-Ethiopia agenda!

The government does NOT need to fear to act against them. They are not there to help the poor because the poor can be helped only if it gets jobs with skills; rather these parasite NGOs want to sustain poverty for many decades to come.

Rhight now, there are circa 1 million permanant salarieed jobs run by NGOs in the West.

What Ethiopia needs is big time investors with hard cash capital, capital in the form of technology, create jobs with skills – Yes investors who add value to our society.

02/04/12 @ 15:54
Comment from: LiliEthio [Visitor]  
LiliEthio

Yes I agree with Gemech, if you are there for human right why don’t you bring the Monister Mingistu to Trial??? Now you know that Ethiopia is doing better than it use to be and you want to distroy US We. Ethiopian are maybe have long way to go (From poverty) but, we are not stupid… and we don’t need your help as NGO’s or your so called Journalist (like the 2 in prison)getout of Ethiopia. Don’t forget we are also FREE to choise who should come to work in EThiopia. Are you shoked because, the Chinese and indians are building the Country???? Don’t worry the Gov. also keeping his eyes open for everything. GOD BLESS YOU ALL. COURAGE EThiopia is doing just GREAT. BERTU WEGNOCHE WERE AYFTACHU… BeyMcDonal’s and Arke Bete Eyzore… Merzune Yemenafawen Yetyopia Telate Atsmute… They are standing for the People of Ethiopia, they are just starving for the POWER. But, God is NOT going to give Ethiopia back to those ASAMAWOCHE.

02/08/12 @ 03:00

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