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A Call for an immediate probe into the killings of peaceful protesters in Ethiopia by United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

August 21, 2016

August 22, 2016
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Dear High Commissioner:
We, members of the Ethiopian Advocacy Network (EAN), would like to commend you for calling for an immediate probe into the killings of peaceful protesters in Ethiopia.

In our letter addressed to you on June 20, 2016 we had asked for UNHRC to open an investigation into the massive human rights violations against peaceful protesters committed by the current Ethiopian regime. Specifically, we requested for the appointment of a Special Rapporteur to investigate the ongoing egregious human rights violations in Ethiopia, similar to the inquiry conducted by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or Summary Executions in Kenya following the post-election violence in December 2007 and January 2008.

Unfortunately, we have neither received a reply nor even an acknowledgement of our letter. However, we would like to assure you that we strongly support your call. We understand, but not surprised, that the Ethiopian regime has promptly turned down the request. This is not the first time and will not be the last time that the regime steadfastly refuses to grant permission to impartial international agencies to look into its egregious human rights abuses.
The Special Rapporteur on The Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Maina Kiai has sent request letters to Ethiopia in 2011 and 2013.
As a newly elected member of the UN Security Council, long time member of the Human Rights Council and a founding member of the United Nations, Ethiopia cannot be allowed to remain hostile to any and all legitimate probes into its abysmal human rights record and continue to flaunt internationally recognized rights.
We urge the UN and all international governments allied to the regime to aggressively press Ethiopia to allow international observers to investigate the killings. Ethiopia
While the abuses and flagrant human rights violations committed by the Ethiopian government have been well documented by independent, established, and respected human rights organizations, there has been no action to hold the perpetrators accountable. Shockingly, the perpetrators of these acts—some of which are tantamount to crimes against humanity and genocide—remain unpunished.

The criminals continue to act with impunity. It is our opinion that the intervention of a highly regarded and influential office such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is critical towards ensuring that justice and respect for international human rights law prevails in Ethiopia.

The pattern of serious international crimes committed with total impunity cannot be rationalized as the conduct of a few undisciplined soldiers. Ethiopian security forces are routinely responsible for arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, extrajudicial executions, rape, and other serious crimes. The volatile political atmosphere in Ethiopia threatens the peace of this increasingly small world we live in, violating international laws, fundamental human rights, and basic human values.

The Ethiopian government must not be allowed to continue to commit such dire crimes
and to skirt accountability for committing atrocities against the population. The people of Ethiopia have suffered enough. It is absolutely imperative for the global community to respond with a formal investigation similar to the Commission of Inquiry for Eritrea (COIE) on behalf of these victims and their families.

We express our solidarity with the people of Ethiopia, and express our deep commitment to the struggle for freedom and justice in Ethiopia. We appreciate your attention to our request and look forward to hearing from you very soon.

We thank you for your immediate attention to this urgent matter.

Cc: Members of the Human Rights Committee:
Mr. Yadh BEN ACHOUR Tunisia
Mr. Lazhari BOUZID Algeria
Ms. Sarah CLEVELAND United States
Mr. Olivier de FROUVILLE France
Mr. Ahmad Amin FATHALLA Egypt
Mr. Yuji IWASAWA (Vice-Chairperson) Japan

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