Ethiopia

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Persistent violations
  • Female genital mutilation[1]
  • Early and forced marriage[2]
  • Child labour[3]
  • Trafficking of children[4]
  • Children living on the streets[5]
  • Corporal punishment[6]
  • Inadequate health provision, high infant and child mortality and high rates of malnutrition[7]
  • Inadequate education provision[8]
  • Absence of human rights education[9]
  • Violence and sexual violence against children at the hands of police and security forces[10]
  • Child abuse and domestic violence[11]
  • Low minimum age of criminal responsibility[12]
  • Use of, and conditions in, detention for children[13]
  • Inadequate and inappropriate juvenile justice system[14]
  • Discrimination against women and girls[15]
  • Discrimination against children belonging to minority or indigenous groups[16]
  • Discrimination against children with disabilities[17]
  • Sexual abuse and exploitation of children[18]
  • Lack of reintegration for former child soldiers and potential continuing recruitment of children to be child soldiers[19]
  • Inadequate system for birth registration[20]

For more details, go here

Footnotes
  1. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Human Rights Committee, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Committee against Torture, Universal Periodic Review
  2. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, UN Committee against Torture, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Universal Periodic Review
  3. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child< UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Committee against Torture
  4. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Human Rights Committee, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Committee against Torture, Universal Periodic Review
  5. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Universal Periodic Review
  6. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee against Torture, Universal Periodic Review
  7. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Universal Periodic Review
  8. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues, Universal Periodic Review
  9. UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Universal Periodic Review
  10. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee against Torture, Universal Periodic Review
  11. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Committee against Torture, Universal Periodic Review
  12. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee against Torture, Universal Periodic Review
  13. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Human Rights Committee, UN Committee against Torture, Universal Periodic Review
  14. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee against Torture, Universal Periodic Review
  15. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues, Universal Periodic Review
  16. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues
  17. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
  18. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, UN Committee against Torture, Universal Periodic Review
  19. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  20. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review




Introduction

Landlocked in the Horn of Africa and bordering Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea and Kenya, Ethiopia is the second most populous country on the African Continent. One of only two countries to stay independent during the European colonial period, while formally a parliamentary republic, Ethiopia is accused of being effectively a one-party state, with suppression of opposition, media and civil society. Despite the death of its long time Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, in 2012, there is nothing to suggest this will change with continuing state repression, significant gender discrimination, including violence, and severe restrictions on the operations of NGOs and civil society groups.

Geography

Ethiopia is a large landlocked country in the sub-region known as the horn of Africa, and shares borders with Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. The capital city is Addis Ababa.

Population and Language

With a population of 85 million people,[1] almost half of which is under 18,[2] Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa. This population is relatively ethnically diverse, made up of those of Oromo, Amhara, Somali and Tigraay descent as well as southern peoples and nationalities. A further 17 per cent of the population belong to a smaller ethnic grouping. Reflecting this diversity, a variety of languages are spoken in the country, including Amharic, Tigrinya, Afan, Oromo, Guragigna, Sidaminga, Somali and Arabic. English is also widely spoken and is taught in schools.[3]

History and Politics

Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and, with the exception of the six year Italian occupation from 1936, was never colonised. Following the British liberation of the country during the second world war, the pre-war Emperor Haile Selassie I, was returned to power in the country and remained in power until the revolution of 1974. After the revolution Ethiopia was subject to the brutal Marxist dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam and the Provisional Administrative Council (known as the Derg), throughout the rule of which the country was in a near permanent state of civil war. The Derg government came to an end in 1991, when the Ethiopian Peoples' Democratic Front captured Addis Ababa, and Meles Zenawi took power.

Since the 1994 institution of a democratic constitution, Ethiopia has operated a policy of “ethnic federalism”, whereby the Constitution provides for a degree of self-determination and autonomy for the country's ethnic groups. In both national and local elections the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front, made up of parties representative of a variety of ethnic backgrounds, has maintained an overwhelming majority in the Parliament and local bodies. In the 2005 national elections, opposition representation increased ten-fold to 176 out of 547 seats in the Parliament, but the shift in power resulted in violent protests which led to the deaths of an estimated 199 civilians and police officers.[4] In the most recent elections of May 2010, the EPRDF won 90% of the popular vote and 545 parliamentary seats.[5] Meles Zenawi died in office in August 2012 and state media has announced that Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will lead the country until the next elections, which are due in 2015.[6]

Economy

Ethiopia's economy is heavily reliant on agriculture, which accounts for 40 per cent of GDP and around 80% of employment.[7] Poverty also remains a significant problem, 39 per cent of the population living on less than US$1.25 per day, alongside a low level of development that places the country 174th in the world on the Human Development Index.[8] Nevertheless, the country has seen significant economic improvement over the last decade averaging growth of 10 per cent between 2006 and 2011, a figure which made the country Africa's fastest growing non-energy producing economy over that period.[9] The country is reliant on a close relationship with Djibouti, through the ports of which the vast majority of its Ethiopia's imports and exports travel.

Media and Civil Society

The situation for media and civil society organisations in Ethiopia has undeniably improved since the harsh rule of the Mengistu dictatorship but since the political upheaval of 2005, journalists have experienced substantial interference. Media laws permit the imposition of prison sentences for defamation or publishing false information, and anti-terrorist laws have led to the conviction and imprisonment of seven journalists since 2011. Foreign journalists must also practice substantial self-censorship and avoid criticism of the government in order to avoid deportation.[10] Reporters Without Borders rated the country 127 out of 179 in its 2011/12 Press Freedom Index, a ranking that demonstrates a significant improvement since the ranking of 160th in 2006 in the immediate aftermath of the post-election hostilities, but took account of the noticeable problems that remain.

Amnesty International has noted the serious barriers facing human rights organisations operating in the country, in particular in relation to the restrictions implemented by the Charities and Societies Proclamation of 2009. This legislation prevents civil society organisations (CSOs) from receiving more than 10 per cent of their funding from foreign sources, and as such has prevented a large number of independent Ethiopian CSOs from continuing operations in the country.[11]

The African union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa are both based in Addis Ababa.

Human Rights and Children's Rights

Beyond the limitations of freedom of expression affecting the media and civil society, a number of other serious human rights violations have been reported in Ethiopia. Amnesty International has reported on widespread complaints of arbitrary arrest and detention, particularly affecting people suspected of involvement in, or being in support of, the Oromo Liberation Front or the Ogaden National Liberation Front. The conflict in the Somali region has also reportedly given rise to widespread human rights violations, including mass arrests, arbitrary detention, torture, rape and arbitrary extra-judicial killings.[12]

A wide range of children's rights concerns have also arisen in relation to the country, including poor access to schools[13], the practice of child marriage and discriminatory practices, violence and sexual violence against women and girls[14]. Female genital mutilation has been identified as a particularly persistent form of violence against women and girls.

  1. UNDESA, "Population Statistics 2011"
  2. UNICEF, "Ethiopia Statistics" 2010
  3. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, "Ethiopia Country Profile"
  4. The Washington Post, "193 protestors said killed in Ethiopia@ 18 October 2006
  5. The Guardian, "Ethiopian electoral board confirms PM Meles Zenawi's landslide poll victory" 21 June 2010
  6. BBC, "Ethiopia: Parliament session on Meles succession delayed" 22 August 2012
  7. The Economist, "Frontier mentality" 12 May 2012
  8. UNDP, "International Human Development Indicators: Ethiopia"
  9. The Economist, "Frontier mentality" 12 May 2012
  10. Reporters Without Borders, "World Report: Ethiopia" and "Journalists are not terrorists" 24 January 2012
  11. Article 19, "Ethiopia: Future of last remaining human rights monitoring NGO in Ethiopia in the balance" 2 February 2012
  12. Amnesty International, "World Report 2012: The state of the world's human rights"
  13. Independent Expert on Minority Issues, A/HRC/4/9/Add.3, para. 52
  14. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, E/CN.4/2005/47/Add.1, para. 15

Sources:

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