7 August 2017, Banjul, The Gambia
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) welcomes the lifting of the state of emergency imposed by the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on 4 August 2017. The state of emergency was declared on 9 October 2016, during which time, according to the Minister of Defense of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Mr Siraj Fegessa, 29, 000 people were arrested and almost 8, 000 people are currently on trial.
The state of emergency had the effect of restricting a number of fundamental human rights, including the right to free movement, assembly, and freedom of expression. Media access and internet services were restricted. State security agents were granted powers allowing them to disregard basic legal safeguards covering the right to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.
The Commission wishes to reaffirm that it is essential for the people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to continue enjoying the fundamental human rights and freedoms which are guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter).
Towards this end, the Commission reiterates the calls it has made several times to the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to:
· Ensure due process of law is observed for persons arrested and detained further to the state of emergency declaration in accordance with the African Charter, and release all persons who have not been charged following their arrest or detention;
· Initiate prompt and impartial investigations into the alleged human rights violations that occurred in connection with the state of emergency declaration, and ensure that the perpetrators of these violations are prosecuted and subjected to sanctions reflecting the gravity of their offences;
· Ensure that victims of the violations and their families obtain full and adequate redress; and
· Take the necessary measures to guarantee the security and safety of its population in accordance with the African Charter and other regional and international human rights instruments to which it is a party.
The Commission will remain actively seized of this matter.