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Ethiopien - Henstilling fra USA og EU til regeringen om at standse al vold!

ETHIOPIA: Government urged to end crackdown on the opposition

IRINnews.org, 7. november 2005

USA og EU står nu sammen i bestræbelserne på at presse premierminister Meles Zenawis regering til at indstille sikkerhedsstyrkernes voldelige nedkæmpelse af de politiske demonstrationer, som kritiserer regeringen og støtter oppositionen. I den fælles erklæring fra USA og EU opfordres den ethiopiske regering også til at revidere sine parlamentariske regler, så alle partier kan deltage i den demokratiske proces. Efter at oppositionen fik langt flere pladser i parlamentet end forventet ændrede regeringen de parlamentariske regler, så der skulle en opbakning fra 51% af parlamentsmedlemmerne til blot at fremsætte forslag i parlamentet (tidlige skulle der blot opbakning fra 20 medlemmer, men da havde oppositionspartiet da også blot 12 pladser). Oppositionen er således helt uden indflydelse, og derfor nægter det største oppositionsparti CUD med 109 pladser at deltage.

Ethiopian security have been on heightened alert since the clashes - ©  Anthony Mitchell/IRIN
ADDIS ABABA, 7 Nov 2005 (IRIN) - The United States and European Union urged the Ethiopian government on Sunday to end its crackdown on opposition leaders, many of whom were seized last week during bloody clashes between demonstrators and police.

In a joint statement, they also called on the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to allow families and humanitarian workers access to those who were detained during the fighting.

The EU and US - which together are providing some US $1.3 billion in aid to Ethiopia this year - issued 10 demands, including lifting restrictions on opposition leaders, freeing all political detainees, releasing the names of people in detention and reopening private media.

The violence, which left at least 46 people dead, had undermined efforts to build democracy and "damaged Ethiopia's international reputation," said the statement, which was read in the capital, Addis Ababa, by UK Ambassador Bob Dewar.

"Unrest has spiraled out of control with tragic results," he said. "We urgently call upon all political parties to desist from further violence and to abide by the rule of law. These distressing events have further deepened mistrust, as well as political and social divisions."

The diplomats declined to take questions from journalists.

On Saturday, Meles announced that an independent commission would investigate whether police used excessive force to quell last week's violence and similar protests in June, when at least 42 people were killed.

Shops remained closed and taxis were off the streets following a week of demonstrations. Protests in the capital against the disputed 15 May elections began peacefully last Monday but turned violent on Tuesday and spread to other parts of the country.

The vote - which was seen as a test of Meles's commitment to reform - gave his Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front control of nearly two-thirds of parliament.

Opposition parties have accused the ruling party of rigging the election and said the process was marred by fraud, intimidation and violence.

Meles has blamed the main opposition party, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), for the violence and vowed to prosecute opposition officials.

An estimated 4,000 people, including some opposition leaders, have been arrested, Western diplomats said.

Lawmakers from the CUD have refused to take up their 109 seats in the 547-seat lower house in protest of rules passed by the previous parliament that they maintain were intended to limit their powers.

The new rules stipulate that parties must hold a minimum of 51 percent of parliamentary seats in order to propose motions and present an agenda. Previously, a motion could be tabled with the support of only 20 lawmakers. The opposition party had 12 seats in the old house.

The EU-US statement called for a review of parliamentary rules that prevent political parties from participating in proceedings.

In a statement, leaders of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, the Roman Catholic Church and Evangelical Church appealed on Sunday for calm, saying, "Let peace be our agenda."

About 40 percent of Ethiopia's population is Muslim, and 50 percent follows the Orthodox Church.

© IRIN - This article appeared originally on IRIN News.org and is published by engelund.dk according a general agreement. To view the original article, please click here.
IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) is a project of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
[This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.]



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Opdateret d. 26.12.2005