By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
March 30, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Ethiopian parliament on Thursday unanimously endorsed proposed motion to extend the nationwide State of Emergency for additional four months.
The House of peoples representatives today unanimously voted in favour of the extension of the just ending six-month-old state decree to ensure an absolute calm and stability is fully restored across the country.
Senior government officials and the State of Emergency Inquiry Board which is in charge of overseeing its implementation have proposed to the house an extension of the decree arguing the existence of a potential threat of unrest in parts of the country.
Siraj Fegessa, Secretariat of the State of Emergency Command Post and Ethiopia Minister of Defense, explained the reason for the extension to the existence of some anti-peace elements who are reorganising themselves
to incite violence.
"There still exist some anti-peace elements at large who wish to capitalise on disputes that might spark among regional states," Siraj told the house while responding to queries that arose from lawmakers.
He added that some leaders of the violent acts are disseminating false
and misleading information to incite fresh violence.
Citing to a survey conducted across the country, the minister said the public has suggested an extension of the state emergency until the prevailing peace reaches to a level of no return.
The House urged the Inquiry Board to ensure that no human rights violations are committed at the second state emergency period.
Ethiopia declared the six-month State of Emergency last October in response
to the wide-spread deadly protests and unrest in Amhara and Oromiya regions.
The state emergency, the country first in a quarter a century was imposed to arrest violent anti-government protests and to restore what Addis Ababa says is a growing security situation in the two troubled regions.
Since the decree was imposed, the Ethiopian government has recently lifted many of the restrictions.
Recently, Addis Ababa has lifted more restrictions for the second time.
Accordingly, the command post led under Ethiopia defence minister has lifted
the command post’s power to arbitrary arrest people or search individuals
Furthermore, curfews and other restrictions on media and social media activism are now lifted.
According to the inquiry board, a total of 26,130 suspects were arrested under the state decree mainly from Oromiya and Amhara regions where the anti-government protests sparked.
All except some 5,000 have so far been freed after receiving renewal training including on constitution, rule of law and a colour revolution among others.