By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
After some revisions finally Wednesday January 21/2016, the draft resolution – co-sponsored by 149 members of the European Parliament – has been tabled before the parliament for consideration by members and their action.
The resolution once so approved it would be designated as European Parliament resolution on the situation in Ethiopia [(2016/2520(RSP))].
This resolution is crafted under the authority of the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure EP Rules 135(5) i.e., Debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law – and 123(4), the latter sub-article dealing with a technicality about joint motion accommodating amendments at some point before the adoption of the resolution. That is also to indicate that this resolution would not affect those tabled by other committees and political groups or Members.
The resolution has very strong condemnatory language in its first operative paragraph regarding “the recent use of excessive force by the security forces in Oromia and in all Ethiopian regions, and the increased number of cases of human rights violations”. Most importantly, it also calls on “the EU, as the single largest donor, to monitor programmes and policies effectively to ensure that EU development assistance is not contributing to human rights violations in Ethiopia, particularly through:
- *Programmes linked to the displacement of farmers and pastoralists, and to develop strategies to minimise any negative impact of displacement within EU-funded development projects;
*stresses that the EU should measure its financial support according to the country’s human rights record and the degree to which the Ethiopian Government promotes reforms towards democratisation.”
The draft resolution contains 36 preambular and 15 operative paragraphs.
The resolution comes into force only once it has been approved by the majority of the Parliament’s membership, which has 751 members, elected from 28 Member States. These members work in committees.
The languages of key operative paragraphs are presented hereunder:
I. TPLF MASSACRE OF OROMOS:
“1. Strongly condemns the recent use of excessive force by the security forces in Oromia and in all Ethiopian regions, the increased cases of human rights violations and abuses, including violations of people’s physical integrity, arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions, the use of torture, and violations of the freedom of the press and of expression, as well as the prevalence of impunity;
2.Calls for an immediate end to violence, human rights violations and political intimidation and persecution;
3.Urges for the immediate release of all those jailed for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, including students, farmers, opposition politicians, academics, bloggers and journalists ;
4.Calls on the government to carry out a credible, transparent and impartial investigation into the killings of protesters and other alleged human rights violations in connection with the protest movement, and to fairly prosecute those responsible, regardless of rank or position;
5. Welcomes the government’s decision to completely halt the Addis Ababa and Oromia special zone master plan, that plans to expand the municipal boundary of Addis Ababa. Calls for an immediate inclusive and transparent political dialogue, including the government, opposition parties, civil society representatives and the local population preventing any further violence or radicalisation of the population; takes the view that such dialogue, conducing to the democratisation of the country, is not possible under the current political conditions.
13. Further calls on the EU and Member States to react promptly to the escalation of violence and the deterioration of the human rights situation in the country by publicly and privately condemning the use of excessive force by security forces in Oromia and call on the government to exercise restraint in its response against protests and the exercise of basic freedoms by the Ethiopian people.”
II. RESPECT FOR FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS
“6.Calls on the Government of Ethiopia to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Union Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and association;
7.Urges the government to immediately invite the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly and other UN human rights experts to visit Ethiopia to report on the situation.
14. Stresses that financial support to Ethiopia from the EU should be measured attending to the country’s human rights record and the degree to which the Ethiopian government promotes reforms towards democratisation, as the only way to ensure stability and sustainable development.”
III. PRESS FREEDOM & FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION
“8.Calls on the government to stop suppressing the free flow of information, including by jamming media broadcasts and harassing media, including through intrusive surveillance programs, and facilitate access throughout Ethiopia for independent journalists and human rights monitors.”
IV. UNFETTERED PARTICIPATION OF PEOPLE IN THE AFFAIRS OF THEIR NATION
“9. Calls on the government to include local communities in a dialogue on the implementation of any large scale development project and ensure equal distribution of future benefits to the population ; to ensure that farmers and pastoralists are adequately compensated, preventing them from any arbitrary or forced displacement without consultation and adequate compensation.
10. Expresses its concerns on the government’s forced resettlement program, known as “villagization program”.
11.States that respect for human rights and the rule of law are crucial to the EU’s policies to promote development in Ethiopia and throughout the Horn of Africa;
12.Calls on the EU to effectively monitor programs and policies to ensure that EU development assistance is not contributing to human rights violations in Ethiopia, particularly programs linked to displacement of farmers and pastoralists, and develop strategies to minimize any negative impact of displacement within EU funded development projects:”
V. REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS
“16. Recalls that Ethiopia is an important country of destination, transit and origin for migrants and asylum seekers, and that it hosts the largest refugee population in Africa; takes note, therefore, of the adoption of a Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility between the EU and Ethiopia which addresses the issues of refugees, border control and the fight against human trafficking; calls also on the Commission to monitor closely all projects recently initiated within the framework of the EU Trust Fund for Africa;
17. Is extremely concerned about the economic and social situation of the country’s population – in particular women, minorities, refugees, and displaced persons, whose numbers continue to increase – in view of the crisis and the instability of the region; reiterates its support for all humanitarian organisations operating on the ground and in neighbouring host countries; supports calls by the international community and humanitarian organisations to step up assistance to refugees and displaced persons;
18. Stresses that major public investment plans are required, particularly in the education and health fields, if the Sustainable Development Goals are to be attained; invites the Ethiopian authorities to make an effective commitment to attaining these goals.”
VI. RESOLUTION’S EFFECTUATION
“15.Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and the Parliament of Ethiopia, the European Commission, the Council, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the institutions of the African Union and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.”