News: Ethiopia Rights Commission, US gov’t call for immediate release of all civilians detained under emergency decree

A long line visitors queuing to deliver essentials including food to Tigrayans detained in Aba-Samuel detention facility in the outskirt of Addis Abeba en route Bishoftu.
Picture: Hailu Kebede, Head of department of foreign affairs at Salsay Weyane Tigray (SaWeT) party. Feb. 12/2022

Addis Abeba – Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the U.S. Government welcomed the 15 February lifting by the Ethiopian parliament of the war-time state of emergency, which was put in place since early November last year. However, both called on the immediate release of all civilians detained under the emergency proclamation.

“Considering its impact on human rights,the Commission noted positively the decision to lift the state of emergency, which has been in place since 02 November. The Commission reiterates its call for the immediate release of those arrested in connection with the implementation of the Proclamation,” EHRC said in a statement.

In addition to its call for the immediate release of detainees, EHRC also expressed concerns that the people who were arrested during the state of emergency were exposed to various social and economic problems, including the inability to return to work due to lack of confirmation of their detention. EHRC cautioned authorities to expedite the issuance of evidence of detention and other necessary documents to enable the people to return to their normal lives.

Similarly, the U.S. Government hailed the decision as “another important step by the Government of Ethiopia to pave the way for a peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict.” But urged the move to be “immediately followed by the release of all individuals arrested or detained without charge under the state of emergency.”

“The end of these detentions will facilitate an inclusive and productive national dialogue. The United States continues to engage with all parties to advance an immediate cessation of hostilities, unhindered humanitarian access, transparent investigations into all human rights abuses and violations, and a negotiated resolution to the conflict,” a statement from the U.S. State Department said.

A report in December released by Amnesty International said that ethnic Tigrayans including children and the elderly were targeted for arbitrary arrests and mass detentions after the state of emergency was enacted earlier in November. Most detainees are being held without charge or access to a lawyer in facilities including school compounds, fenced plots in various parts of the country including the outskirts of the capital Addis Abeba. AS

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