Dec 9, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Ethiopia Rights Commission says inability to compile information on SoE detainees gravely concerning

The Ethiopia Rights Commission (EHRC) issued a press release today expressing concern about its inability to gather information and prepare a report on prisoners held under the Emergency Decree. The commission recalled the statement it made on November 8, 2021, in which it announced its intention to deploy surveillance teams in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa regarding the conditions of detention. She complained that full information on the total number of people detained could not be obtained.

The EHRC said the information received from the Lower City of Kirkos on November 12, 2021 confirmed that a total of 714 people were involved in the matter were arrested in a state of emergency, including 124 women. “It is estimated that thousands of people have been arrested in Addis Ababa alone, while similar arrests have been made in other lower towns and arrests have continued,” added the EHRC.

Meanwhile, in Dire Dawa up to 300 people arrested according to the press release. “While some people were arrested based on information from the security forces, most of them were reportedly arrested based on clues from the community. A large number of the detainees were of ethnic Tigrayen origin, “the commission said.

The Human Rights Commission said that police officers responded to the alleged targeted arrest by ethnic groups by saying,” People are not going to obey their ethnicity, but because of the state of emergency. As both identified terrorist organizations [TPLF and OLA] are ethnic organizations, the arrests may appear ethnically motivated. ”

The Commission highlighted that the State of Emergency has given law enforcement agencies the power to arrest suspects who have favourited The two organizations [TPLF and OLA] are believed to be of ethnic origin. In the statement, the commission expressed concern about those arrested, saying that insufficient efforts had been made to justify whether the origin of the allegations was not linked to ethnic profiling and whether there were reasonable suspicions.

“Some channels are overcrowded, have no toilets and do not have adequate access to air and lighting,” the commission described the conditions in the health care prisons it visited and that some of the prisoners suffered from illnesses. There were no precautionary measures regarding COVID-19. ”

The commission also announced that some detainees have complained about being unable to get from work and on the street after being suddenly detained to contact their families and submit necessary working papers and materials to their services. According to the press release, detainees told the commission that most of the detainees believed they had been arrested on the basis of their ethnicity and had not been given the reasons for their arrest.

The detainees also informed the commission that they had not been beaten or assaulted by police officers guarding the detention center, or during their detention. The Commission on Human Rights said that during its investigation it found that the declaration of the state of emergency had not been implemented in a way that respected human rights principles such as “the importance of protection, fairness and impartiality”.

The EHRC called for that Law enforcement agencies promptly release those they no longer have reasonable suspicions of, especially the elderly, breastfeeding mothers and those with health problems, in accordance with the provisions of the proclamation.

She also called for the authorities to monitor the situation closely, understand the spirit of the state of emergency and ensure that it is carried out in a fair, transparent and impartial manner.

The Commission recommended law enforcement in particular to ensure that all detainees are arrested on the basis of reasonable suspicion. She called for immediate action to improve the human rights situation of detainees, particularly in the areas of health, hygiene and other services.

The Commission concluded its statement by remembering the institution that had delegated powers to it monitor human rights at all times, including in emergencies, and urged all concerned bodies to cooperate in their monitoring activities.