EU calls for an inclusive dialogue in Ethiopia after state of emergency was announced
Thursday, 13 October 2016
The government of Ethiopia has announced a state of emergency for a period of six months, starting from 8 October. In a carefully worded statement (on 10 October), a spokesperson for EU’s Foreign Service seemed to accept the emergency provided “that fundamental rights are respected at all times”.
According to the Ethiopian government the state of emergency is intended to “to reverse the danger posed by destabilizing forces undermining the safety of the people and security and stability of the country”. The decree on the emergency had been submitted to the Ethiopian Parliament according to the country’s constitution.
“The state of emergency is essential to restore peace and stability over a short period of time,” said the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. He continued: “The state of emergency will not breach basic human rights enshrined under the Ethiopian constitution and won’t also affect diplomatic rights listed under the Vienna Convention”.
Ethiopia has over the past decade witnessed a double digit economic growth, huge infrastructure development, accumulation of wealth and growing FDI inflow because peace and stability prevailed in the country. The Prime Minister said that these infrastructures are being destroyed by anti-peace elements within a short period of time.
According to the government, orchestrated violent activities carried out in various parts of the country have led to the loss of lives and enormous damage on properties in the last weeks. Schools, health institutions, administrative institutions are also being attacked.
The violence in some parts even goes beyond damaging properties, the Prime Minister said, adding that “The forces are trying to trigger conflict among different ethnic groups and followers of different religions. If not properly addressed within a short period, the situation could undermine the national integrity of the country.”
The European External Action Service states that a way for an inclusive dialogue in response to the grievances of the population should be opened and lead to a comprehensive reform package.
“Violence, whichever side it comes from, has no place in this endeavor,” concludes the statement. “Now it is time for all forces, inside and outside Ethiopia, to restore calm and join in ensuring that Ethiopia can pursue the path of democracy and development.”