U.S. Urges Ethiopia to Reconsider State of Emergency

People celebrating Bekele Gerba's release in Adama on February 14, 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

February 17th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The latest suspension of basic rights in Ethiopia came following Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s surprise resignation on Thursday following his decision to release thousands of opposition prisoners. Hailemariam had said: “I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy.”

The United States is now urging its close ally Ethiopia to reconsider the newly imposed state of emergency, but Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa said on Saturday that the current state of emergency will last for six months and includes “a ban on protests and publications that incite violence.” The U.S. said the state of emergency erodes confidence in “recent positive steps toward creating a more inclusive political space, including the release of thousands of prisoners.”

“We strongly disagree with the Ethiopian government’s decision to impose a state of emergency that includes restrictions on fundamental rights such as assembly and expression,” the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia said in a press statement. “We recognize and share concerns expressed by the government about incidents of violence and loss of life, but firmly believe that the answer is greater freedom, not less.”

The press release added: “The challenges facing Ethiopia, whether to democratic reform, economic growth, or lasting stability, are best addressed through inclusive discourse and political processes, rather than through the imposition of restrictions…We strongly urge the government to rethink this approach and identify other means to protect lives and property while preserving, and indeed expanding, the space for meaningful dialogue and political participation that can pave the way to a lasting democracy.”

UPDATE: Ethiopia Says State of Emergency Will Last Six Months
Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

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