European Parliament resolution on Ethiopia

The European Parliament,
– having regard to its previous resolutions on the post-election crisis and serious human rights violations in Ethiopia, in particular that of 7 July 2005 on human rights in Ethiopia, that of 13 October 2005 on the situation in Ethiopia and that of 15 December 2005 on the situation in Ethiopia and the new border conflict,
– having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. disturbed by the arrest and expulsion of two European Commission officials from Ethiopia on the alleged grounds that they tried to help Ms Yalemzewd Bekele, a lawyer and women's rights campaigner, working for the European Commission in Addis Ababa, to get out of the country,
B. whereas there are reports of continuing arrests, harassment, arbitrary detention, humiliation and intimidation of opposition politicians, civil society activists, students and other ordinary citizens,
C. whereas, following high-level EU intervention on her behalf, Ms Yalemzewd Bekele was released on 27 October 2006 after being held incommunicado for a few days,
D. whereas the Ethiopian Parliament established a government-backed Commission of Inquiry in late November 2005 with the task of investigating the June and November 2005 killings,
E. whereas members of the Commission of Inquiry have been pressured by the Ethiopian Government to alter the findings and threeof them, including the chairman and vice-chairman, have left the country after refusing government orders to alter the final report findings,
F. whereas these officials managed to leave the country with the final report, and whereas this document overwhelmingly condemns the government's handling of the crisis, which left 193 citizens dead following the demonstrations in June and November 2005,
G. whereas, following the mass arrests of government opponents, human rights activists and journalists during demonstrations in June and November 2005, 111 opposition party leaders, journalists and human rights defenders are still in custody and are facing trial on charges including 'outrage against the Constitution', 'inciting, organising or leading armed rebellion' and 'attempted genocide',
H. recalling that post-election political detainees include Hailu Shawel, President of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, former Chair of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, Dr Yacob Hailemariam, former UN Special Envoy and former Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Ms Birtukan Mideksa, former judge, Dr Birhanu Nega, Mayor-elect of Addis Ababa, Netsanet Demissie, Director of the Organisation for Social Justice in Ethiopia, and Daniel Bekele, of Action Aid Ethiopia,
I. concerned at the recent arrest of Wassihun Melese and Anteneh Getne, members of the Ethiopian Teachers' Association, and that these new arrests seem to be a response to ETA complaints about government interference in the association's activities and intimidation of its leaders,
J. whereas Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is one of the EU Commission's guests at the European Development Days, being held from 13 to 17 November 2006 in Brussels,
K. whereas Ethiopia is a signatory to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part (Cotonou Agreement), Article 96 of which stipulates that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is an essential element of ACP-EU cooperation,

1. Welcomes the EU's efforts to secure the release of Ms Yalemzewd Bekele and regrets deeply the expulsion of Mr Bjorn Jonsson and Mr Enrico Sborgi, two EU officials, from Ethiopia;
2. Calls on the Ethiopian Government to publish unamended and in its entirety, and without any further delay, the final report of the Commission of Inquiry; calls for the relevant courts to be supplied with the report, and urges them to take due account of it so that fair trials can be conducted;
3. Calls on the Ethiopian authorities to refrain from acts of intimidation and harassment against national leaders, including court judges and members of the Teachers' Association, carrying out their professional obligations;
4. Calls on the Ethiopian Government to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, whether journalists, trade union activists, human rights defenders or ordinary citizens, and to fulfil its obligations with respect to human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law;
5. Calls on the Ethiopian Government to disclose the total number of persons detained throughout the country, to allow visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross, and to allow all detainees access to their families, legal counsel and any medical care that their health situation may require;
6. Calls on the Ethiopian Government to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Union Charter of Human and People's Rights, including the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of opinion, and to guarantee the independence of the judicial system;
7. Deeply regrets the EU Commission's invitation to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to address the European Development Days, especially on governance issues, a decision which sends out the wrong signal with regard to EU policy on respect for human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law and good governance;
8. Asks the Commission and Council to closely monitor the situation in Ethiopia, and considers that development cooperation programmes under the Cotonou Agreement should be contingent on respect for human rights and good governance, as clearly defined in the essential-element clause;
9. Calls on the Commission and the Council to explore ways of organising an all-inclusive inter-Ethiopian dialogue with the participation of political parties, civil society organisations and all stakeholders in order to work out a lasting solution to the current political crisis;
10. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Ethiopian Government, the United Nations Secretary-General and the African Union.

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at10:41 PM

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