Ethiopia responds to international criticism of detentions


Ethiopia responds to international criticism of detentions

NAIROBI – International criticism that the Ethiopian government is arresting citizens for their ethnicity is incorrect and undermines Ethiopia’s sovereignty, the prime minister’s spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Billene Seyoum told a press conference that such accusations worsened divisions in society and he said that arrests carried out under the state of emergency were declared https: //www.reuters. com / world / africa / addis-ababa-government-urges-residents-register- arm-media-2021-11-02 on November 2 were legal.

“This is a legitimate government … which goes through the constitutional process of adopting all kinds of security measures to ensure that the order of the state is well protected,” Billene said. . “Anything in direct interference is seen as a push towards the sovereignty of the country, for these are clear state processes and mandates that the nation is following.”

She was responding to a statement released Monday by the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands, expressing concern that reports of widespread arrests of Tigrayan citizens – including women, children and elderly – could violate international law.

On November 17, Ethiopia’s state-appointed Human Rights Commission said thousands of people had been arrested since the state of emergency was declared.

Billene said it is currently unclear how many people are being held as authorities investigate and release some people.

War erupted in the northern Tigray region a year ago and has since infiltrated two other regions of Ethiopia. Last month, Tigrayan forces and their allies advanced within 220 kilometers of the capital, but they have since withdrawn and the government has regained significant territory.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in footage released on state media Monday evening that most of the areas that had been seized by Tigray forces in Amhara and Afar regions had been taken over by government forces.

“We will continue to (liberate) the remaining areas,” he said in a speech to the soldiers. “The victory will continue and nothing will stop us. The enemy will be destroyed.”

Reuters reported last month that Ethiopian authorities rounded up prominent Tigrayans – from bank CEOs to priests – as well as United Nations staff in a massive crackdown on suspected supporters of rebel forces du Nord, citing interviews with people linked to the detainees.

The most recent wave of arrests follows previous arrests of Tigrayan citizens – after the conflict began and again as Ethiopian forces prepared to withdraw from Tigray in June.

The Addis Ababa government has repeatedly denied that the arrests were linked to ethnicity and said only supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF), which controls most of Tigray, are targeted. .


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