Ethiopia must allow for UN probe into protest deaths – Rights chief
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has reiterated his request for Ethiopia to allow independent investigators to probe deaths rising from anti-government protests.
The UN rights chief was addressing the press at the end of his three-day official visit to the Horn of Africa nation.
‘‘I believe my staff ought to be given access to the affected areas and I renew my request so we can assess the situation and ascertain what further support can be given to the authorities including justice officials.
I believe my staff ought to be given access to the affected areas and I renew my request so we can assess the situation and ascertain what further support can be given to the authorities including justice officials.
‘‘During the course of my discussions, I was told of legislations and policies which seemingly severely restricts right to freedom of expression, information, association and peaceful assembly as well as independent human rights monitoring,’‘ he added.
He was invited by the Ethiopian government for talks bordering on human rights. Whiles admitting that the country was a partner in advancing rights of its citizens, he said there was more that needed to be done. The Ethiopian government has yet to respond to the latest request for independent investigators.
He met with the head of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which recently presented a report on the deaths putting the toll at 669. He also met with Prime Minister, Hailemariam Dessalegn, the speaker of parliament and other top government officials.
Zeid also conferred with officials of the UN offices in the country and with members of the country’s opposition parties. Some local media portals also reported that Zeid was allowed to meet a prominent political prisoner, Bekele Gerba, who is held at the Qilinto prisons.