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According to the U.S. Department of State's human rights report for 2004 and similar sources, the Ethiopian government's human rights "remained poor; although there were improvements, serious problems remained." The report listed numerous cases where police and security forces are said to have harassed, illegally detained, tortured, and/or killed individuals, who were members of opposition groups or accused of being insurgents. Thousands of suspects remained in detention without charge, and lengthy pretrial detention continued to be a problem. Prison conditions were poor. The government often ignores citizens' privacy rights and laws regarding search warrants. Although fewer journalists have been arrested, detained, or punished in 2004 than in previous years, the government nevertheless continues to restrict freedom of the press. The government limits freedom of assembly, particularly for members of opposition groups, and security forces have used excessive force to break up demonstrations. Violence and discrimination against women continue to be problems. Female genital mutilation is widespread, although efforts to curb the practice have had some effect. The economic and sexual exploitation of children continues, as does human trafficking. Forced labor, particularly among children, is a persistent problem. Low-level government interference with labor unions continues. Although the government generally respected the free exercise of religion, local authorities at times interfere with religious practice.[1]



It is claimed that in 2005 police massacred opposition protesters. Live gunfire from government forces was directed at protesters and bystanders.

According to a report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in June 2008, the Ethiopian army has committed widespread executions, torture and rape in Ogaden, as part of a counterinsurgency campaign. [2] The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded with a press release stating that they performed an investigation during August and September of that year, which "found no trace of serious human rights violation let alone war crimes or crimes against humanity" during their response to the Abole oil field raid, but claimed the investigation found "a mass of evidence of further systematic abuses committed by the ONLF."[3] However, the U.S. State Department's annual report on human rights notes that Lisan Yohannes, a "former ruling party insider", led the investigation, an appointment which "opens questions about the independence of the investigation."[4]

On 6 January 2009, the Ethiopian parliament passed the "Charities and Societies Proclamation (NGO law)", which "criminalizes most human rights work in the country" according to HRW, who addedg that "the law is a direct rebuke to governments that assist Ethiopia and that had expressed concerns about the law's restrictions on freedom of association and expression."[5]

See also


  1. ^ 2004 County Reports on Human Rights Practices: Africa: Ethiopia US State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, published 28 February 2005 (accessed 8 July 2009)
  2. ^ "Ethiopia: Army Commits Executions, Torture, and Rape in Ogaden". Human Rights Watch. 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-06-22.  
  3. ^ "Human Rights Watch: Flawed Methodology, Unsubstantiated Allegations", Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (accessed 17 March 2009)
  4. ^ "2008 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia", Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, US State Department (accessed 8 July 2009)
  5. ^ "Ethiopia: New Law Ratchets up Repression", Human Rights Watch website (accessed 17 March 2009)

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