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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Ethiopia, notably the case of Dr Merera Gudina

16.5.2017 - (2017/2682(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Charles Tannock, Karol Karski, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Ryszard Czarnecki, Tomasz Piotr Poręba, Notis Marias, Ruža Tomašić, Jussi Halla-aho, Raffaele Fitto, Arne Gericke, Angel Dzhambazki, Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner, Branislav Škripek, Monica Macovei on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0369/2017

Postup : 2017/2682(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Ethiopia, notably the case of Dr Merera Gudina


The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Ethiopia;



- having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Ethiopia in the year 1993;



- having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;


- having regard to the statement of 23 December 2015 by the EEAS on recent clashes in Ethiopia;


- having regard to the statement of 10 October 2016 by the Spokesperson of the HR/ VP on Ethiopia's announcement of a state of emergency


- having regard the latest Universal Periodic Review on Ethiopia before the UN Human Rights Council;


- having regard to the US State Department statement of 18 December 2015 on clashes in Oromia, Ethiopia;


- having regard to the EU-Ethiopia Strategic Engagement


- having regard to the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights,


- having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,


- having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,


- having regard to Rules 123(4) and 135(5) of its Rules of Procedure;




A. Whereas in the most recent elections on 24 May 2015 the government coalition of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in its twenty fourth year in power, since the overthrow of the military government, won all 547 parliamentary seats and the opposition none; whereas these elections took place in a tense atmosphere and concerns over the lack of independence of the National Electoral Board;




B. whereas Ethiopia plays a key role in the region and enjoys political support from Western donors and most of its regional neighbours, mostly owing to its role as host of the African Union (AU) and its contribution to UN peacekeeping, security and aid partnerships with Western countries;


C. Whereas Ethiopia with a population of 100 million is reportedly one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, with an average growth rate of 10 % in the past decade; whereas it nevertheless remains one of the poorest, with a per capita GNI of USD 632; whereas it ranked 173rd out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index for 2014;


D. Whereas Ethiopia has declared a drought in January 2017 in the eastern provinces that has left 5.6 million people in urgent need of assistance and is appealing for $948 of assistance from the international community; whereas in 2016 drought left ten million people hungry and caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of livestock;


E. Whereas Ethiopia is host to over 700,000 refugees, mostly from South Sudan and Somalia;


F. Whereas Ethiopia’s government regularly accuses those who criticises government policy of association with terrorism, journalists, bloggers, protesters, and activists have been prosecuted under the country’s tough 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation;


G. Whereas in 2015 and 2016 Oromia, Ethiopia's largest region, saw mass protests over the expansion of the municipal boundary of the capital, Addis Ababa, into the land of Oromo farmers where two million live, 140 people being killed by security forces in the crackdown;


H. Whereas a six month state of emergency, provided for in the Constitution of Ethiopia, was declared on October 9, 2016 by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn; the state of emergency authorizes the military to enforce security nationwide; it also imposes restrictions on freedom of speech and access to information; whereas on 30 March 2017 the Ethiopian parliament extended the state of emergency for another four months;


I. Whereas Ethiopia’s government has not fully investigated the abuses during the protests that started in November 2015. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, mandated to carry out investigations, has produced two reports;



J. Whereas during the state of emergency, the government has made little progress on addressing the grievances of protesters, or in its negotiations with the opposition;


K. Whereas Ethiopia has hosted senior human rights officials recently, including UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, there has been slow progress on improving Ethiopia’s human rights situation, including imprisonment of political figures, the continuing use of anti-terrorism law/CSO law and the extension of the state of emergency;


L. Whereas Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) leader Dr Merera Gudina, a leading member of the political opposition, was detained at Addis Ababa airport in December 2016 on his return from Europe and held without charges; whereas on 24 February 2017 Dr Gudina and two co-defendants, Berhanu Negra and Jawar Mohammed were charged with four separate offences against the Ethiopian criminal code articles 32/1/a & b and 27/1, the accusations being that they are instigators of the yearlong public protest that rocked Ethiopia prior to the declaration of the current state of emergency in October 2016 and that they were involved in “creating pressure against the government” “threatening society through the means of violence” and attempting to “disrupt constitutional order.”


1. Calls on the Ethiopian Government to drop all charges against Dr Gudina, Berhanu Negra, Jawar Mohammed and all other senior political prisoners and to release them from prison, in order to increase the credibility of dialogue with the opposition;


2. Urges the Ethiopian government to end the continuing state of emergency, recognising that it is preventing free expression and severely limiting diverse legitimate views on Ethiopian society which are much needed to address Ethiopia’s crisis, this lack of discussion is putting Ethiopia’s stability at risk;


3. Urges the Government to fully respect the freedom of speech, of association and of the press as provided for in the Ethiopian Constitution and to release unjustly detained journalists and bloggers; firmly believes that peaceful protest is part of a democratic process and that excessive force in response should be avoided in all circumstances;


4. Calls on the Ethiopian government to allow unimpeded access of human rights organisations and NGOs to all parts of the country, particularly those areas where there is conflict and protest;   


5. Commends Ethiopia for the progress it has made in improving the conditions of its rapidly growing population, including refugees from conflicts in neighbouring states, and is grateful for the leadership it is showing in the region and in the African Union;



6. Calls on the Ethiopian authorities to prevent ethnic discrimination and to act in favour of a peaceful and constructive dialogue between different communities;


7. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the EEAS, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the African Union Commission and the Pan-African Parliament, and the Government of Ethiopia.