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Thursday, 27 June 2013

“Ethiopia After Meles” Testimony of Berhanu Nega , Ph.D

June 26, 2013

Dr. Berhanu Nega's Speech
Testimony of Berhanu Nega,
Ph.D Associate Professor of Economics, Bucknell University
Before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations
June 20, 2013

“Ethiopia After Meles: The Future of Democracy and Human Rights”

Good Morning Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Bass, Distinguished Members of the House Africa Subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me to speak with you today. It is indeed a great honor and privilege to have the opportunity to appear before you to discuss issues related to the future of Democracy and Human Rights in Ethiopia.
1. The State of Human Rights and Democratization in Ethiopia
As you are aware Mr. Chairman, Ethiopia’s human rights record is abysmal by all accounts and continues to deteriorate. The current regime, which has been in power for the last 21 years, continues to engage in the systematic violation of international standards with regard to fundamental human rights. The most significant assault on human rights include restrictions on:

1) Freedom of expression;
2) Freedom of association and political rights;
3) Interference in religious affairs;
4) Ethnic cleansing against Amharas and the forced displacement of indigenous people from ancestral lands;
5) Manipulation of the justice system for politically motivated charges and trials
Following the death of Meles Zenawi, many hoped that there would be an opportunity for an opening in the political space. However the current regime continues to flout international standards. Indeed, the climate post the much anticipated National Elections of 2005, widely acknowledged as the most contested election in Ethiopian history, culminating in bloodshed and vote rigging, has produced severe government clampdown on basic freedoms, particularly freedom of expression and association, increased police monitoring of peaceful and lawful activities, arbitrary arrest of human rights defenders, opposition leaders and attacks on civil society. Read more…

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