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Official Ethiopian government response to the US State Department`s human rights country report

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia - Addis Ababa Ethiopia
Tigrai Onlne - March 14, 2014

Flag of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

As an elected government open to constructive criticism and suggestions on ways of improving its human rights protection practices, the federal government of Ethiopia has carefully examined the 2013 State Department’s Human Rights Report on Ethiopia. Despite initial guarded optimism and hopeful expectation that some measure of improvement would be made, the 2013 Report, nonetheless, turned out to be a rehash of previous allegations sprinkled with new, but unfounded accusations that can barely survive close inspection. What compound the Report’s weakness are the sources and informants which it prima face characterizes as credible, whose testimony must, therefore, to be taken at face value. Yet, a cursory glance at the self-serving “information” which theses “credible” informants secretly supplied to the State Department reveals their true identity. For, they are none other than the same party functionaries of the extreme untisystemic opposition parties both abroad and at home. The same outfits who, lacking in popular appeal, conspire to overthrow the lawful government by means prohibited by the constitution, which otherwise provides for a democratic transfer of power.

The irony is, once their own disinformation winds up in a State Department’s document and takes on the trappings of credibility, it is immediately flaunted as a compelling evidence of human right violation in Ethiopia that serves notice to the United State to review its relations with Ethiopia. The interim objective is obviously to undermine the Bilateral Dialogue Mechanism, a framework within which the United States and Ethiopia have been conducting a series of consultations on a broad range of issues. One important topic that continues to engage the two sides is devising an effective assessment mechanism of the human rights situation in Ethiopia and how the US could help its African counterpart as it endeavors to deliver on its commitment to human rights.

Whilst Ethiopia believes that some progress has been made to this end, the 2013 State Department Report, nonetheless, in characteristic disregard to concrete facts on the ground and excessive reliance on unverifiable anecdotes, would have us believe that the Dialogue Mechanism has failed to produce a satisfactory outcome.

In effect, perhaps swayed by its so-called credible informants, the State Department and its human right czars, like the high-priests of Human Rights Watch, is doing the biding of the extremist opposition who crave to see the ongoing constructive dialogue between Ethiopia and the United States terminated. Clearly, barring Human Rights Watch, no human rights advocate worthy of the name can expect to be taken seriously so long as it lobbies for disengagement or termination of bilateral dialogue aimed at fostering a greater enabling environment for the exercise of the right in question.

The Ethiopian government has constitutional obligation to respect Human Rights as its commitment is first and foremost to the wellbeing of its people. The government appreciates any assistance that would enable it to live up to its own constitutional ideals. Nonetheless, as much as it welcomes legitimate criticism of its admittedly less than perfect human rights practices, it resents reports that willfully tarnish its image, especially when it involves the US State Department. Unfortunately, since the 2013 State Department Report falls under this category, Ethiopia is obliged to reject it as a document that fell short of the spirit and good faith that animates true advocates for human rights.


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