Home | News    Thursday 27 October 2016

Ethiopia accuses rights body of fueling violence

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

October 26, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) - The Ethiopian government has accused Human Rights Watch (HRW) of encouraging opposition violence in the horn of Africa’s nation through false reportage.

In an official respons to the US-based rights body’s recent reports, Ethiopia’s foreign minister, Tedros Adhanom, said HRW repeatedly released "unfounded" and "fabricated" reports through its researcher "to incite more violence".

Tedros said HRW’s Felix Horne was stoking anti-government protests through what he described as "false and negative reportage of the situation in the country"

“Mr. Horne’s technique is clear. He carefully chooses words calculated to mislead”, said Tedros.

The Ethiopian official further accused Horne of writing articles on the Ethiopia protests, without having the requisite information and giving interviews to the media.

Tedros also accused the HRW researcher of addressing the European Parliament’s sub-committee on Human Rights with "inadequate" information.

‘‘In all of these, in order to support his demands, he has deliberately given impressions and made claims he knows to be false about recent events, notably the Ireecha tragedy on October 2," the official stressed.

During his briefing to the EU Parliament sub-committee, Horne said a "an unknown number of people, possibly hundreds, died during a stampede after security forces used teargas and gunfire to control a tense crowd at the annual Ireecha festival".

The Ethiopian government has admitted that only 55 died during the religious festival.

International right groups, including HRW, said the latest protests have claimed lives of up to 500 protesters within the Oromia region.

The Ethiopian minister said suggestions alleging hundreds killed originally came from members of opposition groups in the Diaspora, who he said, also claimed that hundreds were shot by helicopter gunships.

‘‘This was a palpable invention, but Human Rights Watch was quick to claim: “an unknown number of people, possibly hundreds, died during a stampede after security forces used teargas and gunfire”

He further accused the rights body of ‘‘making considerable efforts to push the European Union to use its role as Ethiopia’s main development cooperation partner to force Ethiopia to accept an international investigation”

The Ethiopian minister also slammed Human Rights Watch’s reports as fabricated citing to the group’s failure to disclose their sources of their information.

He said the HRW has irresponsibly continued to peddle false information despite proof to the contrary.

Ethiopian authorities have previously reacted fiercely to HRW and other group’s “false” reports that allege that Ethiopian security forces have fired live ammunition at protesters during the Ireecha festival.

Tedros reaffirmed that cause of the deaths were a result of tragic drowning and crushing of persons during the stampede.

“There is, in fact, no evidence (though there are a multitude of allegations made over social media) of any more deaths than the official figures of 55 who died, all from being tragically drowned or crushed in the stampede” He said.

“None of those who died were killed by gunshots, despite Mr. Horne’s claims, as has been confirmed by reports from the hospitals in Bishoftu” he added.

Since November last year Ethiopia has been a scene of series of protests in Oromia and Amhara regions.

The Oromos initially staged demonstrations in late 2015 in protest to government plans to expand the capital’s territory to parts of the Oromia region.

However, the Oromos are now demanding for wider political and economic rights or regime change.

Effective October 8, the Government of Ethiopia declared a six-month state of emergency in the face of unprecedented anti-government protests. Authorities have admitted that over 2,500 people have so far detained under the state of emergency

(ST)

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  • 27 October 2016 10:10, by Paul Ongee

    Its’ one of the interesting stories I have ever read about Ethiopia’s reaction to HRW report, describing it as “unfounded, fabricated, inadequate information, false and negative reportage of the situation in the country, you name it. AU HQs is essentially based in Addis, but don’t act like Africa is your personal asset. If western world pursues its interest first, why not Africa, AU, IGAD or EAC?

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    • 27 October 2016 10:10, by Paul Ongee

      Tedros Adhanom, do you remember when and how Ethiopia was not only influencing the outcome of negotiating the August 2015 peace agreement but also changing the agenda and direction at its own disposal? Why did you and Ethiopia agree with the false report from Riek Machar, Diaspora, international right groups and HRW that 20,000 Nuer were killed in Juba City on December 15, 2013?

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      • 27 October 2016 10:10, by Paul Ongee

        Majority of about five hundred people killed were those who directly participated in the failed coup attempt of Riek Machar because Riek was confident that he would easily take over the government by force as his usual daydreaming dictates. Riek was well accommodated and protected in Addis Ababa like a baby in the interest of Ethiopia only, not in the interest of peacemaking in the RSS.

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        • 27 October 2016 10:11, by Paul Ongee

          Ethiopia has been and is still harboring fugitive Riek Machar whose bodyguards were predominantly composed of Ethiopian Nuer. His so-called “white army” of Lou-Nuer refused to come to Juba in April because they know SPLA pretty well. They learned a good lesson in 1991 and in 2013-2014. So, it was the turn for Ethiopian Nuer to learn the same lesson which they did last July in Juba.

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          • 27 October 2016 10:12, by Paul Ongee

            I don’t even think if Riek Machar will again be happily welcomed by Ethiopian Nuer like before. Normally if he is in Khartoum, he flies to Ethiopia first before proceeding to Nairobi or other destinations. But this time he flew to South Africa for treatment without landing in Ethiopia. This indicates that there is something wrong with his appearance in Ethiopia.

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            • 27 October 2016 10:12, by Paul Ongee

              What goes around will also come around. The right groups, including HRW, said the latest protests have claimed lives of up to 500 protesters within the Oromia region but Ethiopian government admitted that it’s only 55 deaths. Which figure is true? The HRW’s report about South Sudan was 20,000 killed and government admitted that it was 500 killed.

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              • 27 October 2016 10:13, by Paul Ongee

                Do you know why right groups and HRW come with their inflated figure? Do the Math (55 x 9 to get it rounded to 500 people killed in Oromia region and 500 x 40 to make 20,000 Nuer killed in Juba during the failed coup attempt of Riek Machar on 15/12/2013). They are after their money making process to convince and serve the interest of the donors only, not the Ethiopian or South Sudanese governments

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                • 27 October 2016 10:14, by Paul Ongee

                  That’s why Ethiopia has been playing a negative role during the peace process since AAA-1972. If western world pursues its interest first, why not Africa, AU, IGAD or EAC? It should be a win-win situation. Now, Ethiopia is blaming Egypt and pointing fingers to suspected countries not supporting the position of Ethiopian government on African issues which require African solutions.

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