Ethiopia: House Adopts Commission Unrest Enquiry Report

” This is not about the constitution, but failure to address problems as stipulated in the constitution”

Good governance issues, along with rent-seeking proclivities and anti-peace elements were found causes for the unrest in some parts of Oromia and Amhara states, according to the Human Rights Commission report.

The Commission presented its report to the House of Peoples’ Representatives yesterday following the completion of its inquiry on the unrest in the aforementioned areas.

Presenting the report on the Oromia state unrest, Commissioner Dr. Addisu Gebreegziabher said that good governance issues and gaps in involving the public in development activities have been identified as causes for the unrest leading the people to be frustrated and vulnerable to anti-peace elements.

He added that rent-seeking proclivities seen in some governmental structures, issues in the utilization of land and other natural resource, justice system and social service delivery as well as youth unemployment were other factors that instigate the unrest.

Failure to address good governance problems promptly is human right violation, as both are two sides of a coin., he said.

The report went on to highlight the opportunity that these issues opened for anti-peace elements like OLF and members and leaders of other opposition parties along with external forces to use this gap and the master plan issue to manipulate the minds of the youth and others to riot further exacerbating the unrest.

Dr. Addisu said that as a result of the unrest in Oromia state 173 people of which 14 were members of the security forces have died and 856 people were injured while governmental institutions, public and private property were also destroyed. He added that the country’s security forces, the defence, militia, state and federal police have done their job to minimize the damage and put the situation under control. According to Dr. Addisu, the Enquiry Committee formed by the Commission concluded that security forces have used proportional force to subdue the unrest and make recommendations.

Regarding the unrest in parts of Amhara, in relation to the demand of the Qemant community of North Gondar for self-administration, Dr. Addisu said that the community’s demand is clearly constitutional and should have been handled swiftly instead of being dragged for six years. This is not about the constitution, but failure to address the problem as it stipulated in the constitution, he added.

Furthermore, the Commissioner added that the state administration should have involved the public to resolve the issue. He also said that persuasion should have been used to control the unrest instead of deploying special police force which uses excessive force in Mawra and Aikel woredas of North Gondar Zone. In the areas assessed the unrest took the lives of 97 people of which two were members of special police force while injuring 86 people.

The report made recommendations which included bringing the culprits before law, involving and benefiting the youth in development , ensuring transparency, offering training to the police forces, assisting the victims and also applying religious and traditional conflict resolution mechanisms.

Legal and Justice Affairs Standing Committee Chairperson Gebregziabher Ara’ya said the report would serve as a valuable input to deal with such issues. He also said the report confirmed that the problems were not created by the Constitution or the federal system. He added that the Commission’s report should be encouraged as it helps strengthen the federal system by creating such opportunity to draw lesson from such incidents.

Following thorough deliberation, the House adopted the report with ten abstention.


Source:  The Ethiopian Herald