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Thursday, 7 July 2005 - Strasbourg
Human rights in Ethiopia

European Parliament resolution on the human rights situation in Ethiopia

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Ethiopia,

–   having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   having regard to the violent repression of protest demonstrations on 8 June 2005 following the postponement of the announcement of the final results of the general elections on 15 May 2005, which left 36 dead, more than 100 injured and led to thousands of arrests,

B.   whereas, under Ethiopian law, any arrested person must be brought before a court within 48 hours,

C.   whereas up until then the electoral process had not seen any major incidents, and the Ethiopian population's faith in democracy had been demonstrated by the participation of around 90% of the electorate in the vote on 15 May 2005,

D.   whereas 299 complaints of fraud were lodged with the electoral commission, which decided to open an inquiry in 135 constituencies,

E.   whereas, following these inquiries, a recount or even new elections may be ordered in some constituencies,

F.   whereas the announcement of the final results, scheduled first for 8 June 2005, then for 8 July 2005, will have to be postponed again pending the outcome of the hearing of the complaints,

G.   whereas voting in the election of 23 MPs for the Somali region is scheduled for August 2005,

H.   whereas the government and the opposition parties, in a joint statement issued on 10 June 2005, undertook to "seek for a resolution to all the problems by legal and peaceful means",

I.   whereas the political stability of Ethiopia is crucial to all the countries in the Horn of Africa,

1.  Condemns the violent repression of civilians, opposition leaders and supporters and the killing of at least 36 persons;

2.  Expresses its fullest sympathy and solidarity to the people of Ethiopia and presents its condolences to the victims" families;

3.  Hopes that an impartial commission of inquiry will determine who was responsible for the tragic turn of events on 8 June 2005 and that the persons in question will be brought to justice;

4.  Calls for the freeing of journalists and others who are held without charge, and for those arrested to be treated in strict conformity with Ethiopian law and the Ethiopian Constitution, in accordance with international law on human rights;

5.  Welcomes the recent release of some 4 000 detainees and the government's announcement that the detainees at the Ziway military camp will now have access to their families and to the International Committee of the Red Cross; in this context, underlines the key role that can and must be played by the Committee in assisting detainees and investigating human rights conditions in prisons;

6.  Welcomes the fact that opposition groups and international observers are able to be present when the electoral complaints are examined, with a view to arriving at uncontested results;

7.  Insists that the agreement of 10 June 2005 between the government and opposition parties be scrupulously respected, and hopes that the European Union will continue to contribute to a peaceful and democratic solution to the Ethiopian political crisis, in particular by supplying observers to the examination of the electoral complaints;

8.  Calls on the Union and the international community to stay vigilant and to do their utmost to contribute to a peaceful solution to the current tensions and not to allow the Ethiopian democratisation process to come to a halt;

9.  Calls on the Ethiopian government to put an immediate end to the restriction of reporting of opposition activities and messages in public media and calls for a code of conduct for the press to be put in place rapidly in consultation with the media;

10.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the government of Ethiopia.

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