Ethiopia Human Rights CouncilEthnic Discrimination May 2013

The Advocates for Human Rights submitted a report on the promotion and protection of human rights of ethnic minorities in Ethiopia to the United Nations Human Rights Council for its 19th Session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on May 6, 2014. The report documents the government of Ethiopia’s failure to meet its international human rights obligations, particularly with respect to the rights to equality, life, liberty, security, privacy, and freedom of expression and association. Ethnic groups such as the Oromo and the Annuak, among others, suffer the greatest consequences of policies that fail to protect, and even infringe upon, these basic human rights.

The Oromo people endure sustained persecution by the Ethiopian government. The Oromo are subject to arbitrary arrest, detention without charge, and torture. They are also subject to the government’s “Villagization Program,” which relocates indigenous people from their homes to land that is not suitable for agriculture and lacks vital infrastructure, including schools.

Oromos also report experiencing ongoing prejudice. They commonly suffer from employment discrimination. Oromos who do not overtly express support for the government are often transferred to undesirable posts or are unable to find employment at all. The Oromo frequently face limited access to food assistance and other state-distributed resources. International human rights standards prohibit these kinds of discrimination based on race and ethnicity.

Additionally, the government maintains several laws suppressing many types of government opposition, despite international concern. Regulations of charities so severely limit international funding of non-governmental organizations, particularly those working in the area of human rights, that, during the 2009 UPR, the Netherlands, Canada, and the United Kingdom all called for amendments to the Charities and Societies Proclamation. An anti-terrorism law allows the government to target groups under the pretext that they are associated with terrorist organizations. The report recommends that Ethiopia amend or repeal these laws, consistent with recommendations by the international community