The Ethiopian Commission on Human Rights (EHRC) has been banned from observing the upcoming sixth national elections, a credible source confirmed to Addis Standard . On June 10, 2021, the EHRC applied to the National Electoral Committee of Ethiopia (NEBE) for election observation accreditation, the source said.
However, the NEBE rejected the application, citing Article 123 of the Ethiopian Electoral Code of Conduct for Parties and Elections Proclamation, in which, according to the source, the reason is: “The board creates and issues accreditation cards for stationary and mobile agents, journalists and election observers.
The board’s answer is that of Addis Standard was checked: “Proclamation 1162/19 defines who stationary and mobile agents, journalists and election observers are and what criteria they should meet in order to receive accreditation cards.” The memo also speaks of Article 48 (2) of the Proclamation, which states: “With the exception of electoral officers, representatives of political parties and independent candidates, members of the complaints hearing committee and accredited election observers, anyone who is not a voter or has already voted must not be present at a polling station. ”
NEBE, however, conceded that Proclamation No. 210/2000 establishing the ECHR and its amended version of Proclamation No. 1224/2000, particularly in Article 6 (11) asked the commission to monitor human rights records during the elections, the source explained, adding, “However, the board argued that its proclamation detailing who will receive accreditation did not include the human rights commission.” Board concluded its argument with the addition: “Since the Commission is neither a representative of a political party nor as a journalist or If the election observer is qualified, the board has no legal grounds to issue accreditation badges and therefore rejects the commission’s request. ”
According to the source, the commission condemned the decision and called on NEBE’s chairwoman, Birtukan Mideksa to review the decision and requested the immediate issuance of accreditation cards on the grounds that Proclamation No. 210/2000 (in amended Proclamation No. 1224/2000) mandated the Commission to “monitor and protect human rights” during an election.
The Commission pointed out that, in order to fulfill these duties and responsibilities, they observe and monitor the electoral process (e.g. B. monitor constituency compliance for people with disabilities). It also argued that it was established to support, arm and facilitate the expected and customary practice of international elections and the protection of human rights, and the proclamation grants the commission to observe the protection of human rights through polling station attendance and otherwise the committee’s decision would call into question the credibility of the election. Recalling the Sidama popular referendum, where it had accreditation for observation, the EHR stressed that the electoral process is a manifestation of respect for human rights and that the Commission is expected to observe and monitor these rights during an electoral term / p>
The Commission also stressed in its letter that its Rule 38 proclamation clearly states: “Everyone must provide the assistance necessary to assist the Commission in the exercise of its powers and duties”. The commission concluded with the request to the board of directors to consider these reasons and thus to grant the accreditation.
For its part, the NEBE stuck to its position and stated that the EHRC was not listed as an observer is a representative of a media company or a political party, the board lacks the legal basis to grant accreditation.
Aaron Masho, Director of Communications at EHRC confirmed to Addis Standard , that the discussions between the board and the commission took place, however, refused to comment on the correspondence.