Full Text of European Parliament resolution on Ethiopia

Full Text of European Parliament resolution on Ethiopia

 

European Parliament resolution on Ethiopia (2016/2520(RSP))
B8‑0091/2016
The European Parliament,–  having regard to its previous resolutions on situation in Ethiopia,

–  having regard to the statement of 23 December 2015 by the spokesperson of the HR/VP on recent clashes in Ethiopia,

–  having regard to the EU-Ethiopia Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility, signed on 11 November 2015,

–  having regard to the joint statement of 20 October 2015 by Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia,

–  having regard to the declaration of 10 July 2015 of the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye on the release of Ethiopian journalists

–  having regard to the statement of 27 May 2015 by the spokesperson of the HR/VP on elections in Ethiopia,

–  having regard to the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights,

 

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

 

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

 

–  having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the last general elections were held on 24 May 2015, in which the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) remained the ruling party and won all seats in the national parliament, thus renewing the mandate of the incumbent Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn;

B. whereas, although the country counts more than 70 political parties, the opposition remains weak and lacks space and consistency; whereas human rights organisations frequently report the repression and harassment of political opponents, as well as journalists and bloggers; whereas the current situation in Ethiopia with regard to human rights and the freedom of press and association is worsening;

C. whereas the government’s urban expansion plan for the capital Addis Ababa has caused serious unrest in the surrounding Oromia region, home of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group; whereas mass protests by students and local farmers ended up in violent clashes with security forces; whereas human rights groups have reported that around 140 protesters have been killed over the past weeks; whereas, on the contrary, the government admits the death of five people only;

D. whereas the Ethiopian authorities are alleged to have repetitively used excessive force against peaceful demonstrators and conducted human rights abuses against members of the Oromo community, such as persecution, arbitrary arrests and killings, due to their perceived opposition to the government; whereas the government has described the demonstrators as terrorists;

E. whereas on 23 December 2015, Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, Oromia’s largest legally registered political party, was arrested; whereas he was hospitalized shortly after his arrest but his whereabouts are now unknown;

F. whereas this violence is considered by many observers as being the biggest crisis to hit the country since the 2005 election violence; whereas in January 2016, as a consequence, the Ethiopian government cancelled the urban plan, but there are still fears that unrest will continue to be fuelled by anti-government groups;

G. whereas in the Amhara region, clashes have been reported between the Amhara and Kemant ethnic groups, resulting in the death of dozens of people;

H. whereas Ethiopia is a signatory to the Cotonou Agreement, Article 96 of which stipulates that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is an essential element of ACP-EU cooperation;

I. whereas the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP) restricts freedom of expression and the scope for opposition activities, and the Charities and Societies Proclamation negatively affects civil society organisations, particularly those working on human rights,

J. whereas Ethiopia, the second most populated country in Africa, is currently one of the fastest growing economies in Africa with an average of 10% growth rate in the past decade; whereas, nevertheless, it also remains one of the poorest, with a per capita GNI of 632 USD; whereas it ranks 173 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index for 2014,

K. whereas Ethiopia is faced with permanent influxes of migrants and is a host country for approximatively 700 000 refugees, mainly from South Sudan and Eritrea but also from Somalia; whereas on 11 November 2015, a Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM) was signed by the EU and Ethiopia to reinforce cooperation and dialogue between both parties in the area of migration;

L. whereas Ethiopia is a disaster prone country which is regularly exposed to droughts, epidemics and food shortages; whereas these regular shocks have many negative consequences such as forced internal displacements of population, under nutrition, and extreme food insecurity; whereas an estimated number of 2,5 million people benefit each year from humanitarian aid;

M. whereas due to the lack of rainfall and a strong El Niño phenomenon, Ethiopia is currently facing one of its greatest prolonged drought in decades; whereas the Ethiopian government recently announced that more than 10 million people would need emergency food aid in 2016; whereas aid agencies called for urgent action as an estimated number of 8,2 million people currently risk severe malnutrition;

N. whereas the European Union is the third contributor of development aid to Ethiopia, with an EU and Member States’ funding amounting to 1 billion euro per year; whereas the EU has allocated 25,5 million euro in humanitarian funding to the country in 2015; and on 2 December 2015, the EU announced an El Niño humanitarian response package of 125 million euro, including 79 million to the Horn of Africa;

O. whereas political, economic and democratic stability in Ethiopia is crucial to the development of the countries of the Horn of Africa; whereas the country plays a key role in the region as a supporter of international efforts to bring stability to Somalia and fight terrorist groups in the region; whereas Ethiopia is also heavily involved in relations between Sudan and South Sudan, and has been organising peace talks under the IGAD umbrella;

1. Deeply regrets the recent events that took place in the Oromia and Amhara regions and expresses its condolences to the families of the victims;

2. Firmly believes that peaceful protest is part of a democratic process and that excessive force in response should be avoided in all circumstances; calls on the Ethiopian authorities to promptly and impartially investigate all allegations of excessive use of force by police and state officials and hold them accountable, and to expressly condemn all violence made by state and non-state actors;

3. Stresses that a free, diverse and inclusive political environment as well as the respect for freedom of expression, association and assembly are fundamental to any democratic society; is therefore deeply concerned by reports of human rights organisations of regular political violence and harassment of political opposition, as well as the severe restrictions and intimidations faced by human rights defenders and civil society organisations;

4. Acknowledges the recent release of ‘Zone 9’ bloggers and 6 journalists and urges on the Ethiopian government to release immediately and unconditionally all remaining political prisoners, including local and international journalists, students and opposition members detained on false or without charges;

5. Reminds the Ethiopian government of their obligations to guarantee fundamental rights, including access to justice and the right to a fair trial, as provided for in the African Charter, and other international and regional human rights instruments;

6. Urges the Ethiopian government to review the provisions of the ATP that define legitimate activities of journalists and political activists as acts of terror;

7. Stresses that free and independent media are essential to guarantee an informed, active and engaged population; calls on the Ethiopian authorities to guarantee the rights of local civil society and media; calls on the Commission and the Member States to support, through cooperation instruments, the development of free media broadcasting in Ethiopia;

8. Calls on the Ethiopian authorities to prevent any ethnic or religious discrimination and to encourage and act in favour of a peaceful and constructive dialogue between all communities;

9. Expresses deep concern about the current devastating climatic conditions in Ethiopia which have led to the worsening of the humanitarian situation in the country; calls on the EU, together with its international partners, to scale up its support to the Ethiopian government and people; welcomes the contribution recently announced by the EU and calls on the European Commission to ensure that this additional funding is urgently provided;

10. Recalls that Ethiopia is an important country of destination, transit and origin for migrants and that it hosts the largest refugee population in Africa; therefore welcomes the adoption of a Common Agenda on Migration between the EU and Ethiopia encompassing the issues of refugees, border control and the fight against human trafficking; also calls on the European Commission to closely monitor all projects recently initiated within the framework of the EU Trust Fund for Africa;

11. Welcomes the key role that Ethiopia continues to play in the region, and in particular its support to the stabilisation of Somalia and the fight against terrorism, and to the peace process between Sudan and South Sudan, and within South Sudan;

12. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Commission Vice-President / EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Co‑Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the African Union Commission and the Pan-African Parliament, the Ethiopian Government and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

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