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Ethiopia flouting international laws over arbitrary detention – UN group

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia is flouting its international human rights obligations particularly in the area of arbitrary detentions, a United Nations rights group has said.

According to the Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Addis Ababa was flouting international laws of which it is a state party to. The particular law it added was ‘The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.’

The U.N. body in a recent document denounced the failure of Ethiopia to give it responses over the continued detention of an opposition figure, Andualen Aragie Walle. The group said its correspondence to the government dated May 2, 2017; has yet to be responded to.

It went on to decry the deprivation of rights of people being held by government without formal charges as is the case with Andualen. They quoted portions of international laws that Ethiopia was openly flouting by their current action.

“When it is clearly impossible to invoke any legal basis justifying the deprivation of liberty (as when a person is kept in detention after the completion of his or her sentence or despite an amnesty law applicable to him or her)

“When the total or partial non-observance of the international norms relating to the right to a fair trial, established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the relevant international instruments accepted by the States concerned, is of such gravity as to give the deprivation of liberty an arbitrary character.”

Andualem Aragie Walle, a prominent opposition politician in Ethiopia was first arrested in 2005 before being pardoned two years later.

He was arrested again in September 2011 and forcibly taken to the Maekelawi prison. Together with other opposition leaders, they had protested the outcome of the country’s 2010 elections. According to the most current charges he is being held under the country’s 2009 anti-terrorism laws.

He began his political career in 2000 when he helped found the Ethiopian Democratic Party. He later became involved with the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) before becoming Vice President of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ).

He also served as Press Secretary for the UDJ newspaper and as an executive committee member of Medrek, the largest opposition coalition in the country.

Ethiopia is notorious for massive crackdown on dissent especially on opposition elements and on members of the press. It is ranked among the worst jailers of journalists according to media right organizations.

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