Ethiopia’s human rights situation is at crisis point, according to the sole non-governmental human rights advocacy group in the country Human Rights Council (HRCo).
The statement was made during a press conference made by the advocacy group commemorating 25 years in existence at its office where it detailed it’s challenges collecting information of human rights violations in one of Africa’s most restrictive states.
Betsate Terefe, Executive Director of HRCo says his organization whose work has been hampered by the Charities and Societies Proclamation of 2008 stipulating that charities and societies working in Human Rights can’t obtain more than 10 percent of their budget from foreign source nevertheless says its’ trying to cope with deluge of requests for inquiries into human rights abuses alleged in different parts of the country.
Before the enactment of the charities and civil societies proclamation HRCo had 11 offices, and 72 staff, but since then it’s has laid off all but 22 staff, cut the salaries of remaining staff, and led to the seizure of 8 million birr (400,000 USD) in bank deposit it collected from various sources.
Ethiopia has been convulsed in a crisis since last November when Oromos who make up a third of Ethiopia’s nearly 100 million population, started demonstrating over what they say was attempts by the central government to appropriate Oromo rural areas for the development of the capital city Addis Ababa.
Despite the government cancelling the plan in January protests continued demanding freedom of those detained in the protest and justice for perpetrators.
In July the Amharas Ethiopia’s second largest ethnic group at 28 percent joined the protests initially over demands that land reallocated to the neighboring Tigray region 25 years ago be returned back to their region Amhara.