Human Rights Watch presses Secretary Kerry to emphasize human rights on Ethiopia trip
Awramba Times (Addis Ababa) – US Secretary of State John Kerry should emphasize human rights on his three-nation trip to Africa, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today in a press statement.
Secretary Kerry will travel to Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola to encourage democratic development, promote respect for human rights, advance peace and security. And Human Rights Watch said that during his visit, Mr. Kerry should emphasize that rights, development, and security are inextricably tied.
“Kerry should call on officials to release unconditionally all activists and journalists who have been arbitrarily detained or convicted in unfair trials, including the six bloggers and three journalists arrested on April 25 and 26” HRW statement added.
According to the statement, Kerry should also press the Ethiopian government to amend or repeal two repressive laws on association and terrorism that have been used to oppress activists, independent organizations, and the media, and to bring politically motivated prosecutions.
On April 25, police in uniform and civilian clothes conducted what appeared to be a coordinated operation against members of a group known as the “Zone9” bloggers – Befekadu Hailu, Atnaf Berahane, Natnael Feleke, Mahlet Fantahun, Zelalem Kibret, and Abel Wabela – were arrested at their offices and in the streets. Tesfalem Weldeyes, a freelance journalist, was also arrested during the operation. Edom Kassaye, a second freelance journalist, was arrested on 26; the circumstances of her arrest are unclear but all eight individuals were apparently taken to Maekelawi Police Station, the federal detention center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.