The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA)
23 – April – 2015
The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) strongly opposes to the position that the U.S Department of State has taken in regards to the upcoming Ethiopian election and the overall democratization process in the country in the past twenty-four years; and describes the comments by the Under Secretary of State as a sign of disrespect for ordinary citizens of Ethiopia and disregard for the human miseries that hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian have gone through under the EPRDF/TPLF-led government.
The HRLHA has no doubt at all that the U.S Government in general and U.S Department of State in particular, with the biggest and highly staffed of all Western embassies in Ethiopia, are very well aware of the political realities that have been prevailing in the country over the past two decades. An excellent proof is the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices that is issued annually by the US Department of State itself. Suppressions and denials of fundamental human rights in Ethiopia under the EPRDF/TPLF Government were being reported on by various human rights and humanitarian as well as government and diplomatic agencies; and, based on the facts revealed in such reports, the Ethiopian Government has repeatedly been ranked as the worst both at the regional and global levels.
In a country that has witnessed the highest number of political incarceration in its history, where unarmed students and other civilians were gunned down in hundreds simply because they attempted to exercise some of their fundamental rights, in “one of the ten most censored countries” where the existence of independent media has become impossible and, as a result, press freedom has been curtailed completely, where all sorts of socio-economic rights have been tied to political sympathy and supports, it would be an insult and disrespect to its ordinary citizens, and a disregard for the precious lives of innocent people that have been taken away by brutal hands to say that such a country is a democracy, and that the upcoming elections would be free and fair while intimidations and harassments of opposition candidates, as well as potential voters, were taking place out in the field even while the Under Secretary of State was making the comments. While encouraging the most repressive government and governing party towards becoming more dictatorial, the Under-Secretary of State’s comments discourage and undermine the sacrifices that the Ethiopian peoples have paid and are still paying to realize their century-old dream of building free and democratic country.
The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) requests that the Under Secretary of State retract the wrong comments and apologize to the Ethiopian peoples. It also urges the U.S State Department to recognize and acknowledge the realities in Ethiopia and use the close ties that exists between the two governments to put pressure on the ruling EPRDF/TPLF party so that it allows the implementation of a genuine democracy.