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PoliticsUN Human Rights chief to visit Ethiopia

UN Human Rights chief to visit Ethiopia

Just a week after Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn rejected calls by the UN and EU for an independent probe into the deaths of hundreds of people during months of anti government protests in parts of the country, the UN Human Rights Chief, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is set to visit Ethiopia next week.

In his interview with BBC the PM explicitly reject an independent investigation.

“No one can come and investigate Ethiopia,” Hailemaraim said. “It is an independent country that is able to investigate its own case.”

The visit by the Chief comes after an official invitation by the Ethiopian government, read a statement issued by the Commission where its headquarters is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The invitation came from the Ethiopian government,” sources at the Commission told The Reporter.

Zeid, upon his visit from May 2 to May 4, 2017 will speak with the Prime Minister, Abadula Gemeda, speaker of the House of People’s Representatives and other high-ranking officials.

In addition, he will also meet with Addisu Gebregziabher, chairperson of Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. A couple of weeks ago, the Addisu presented his Commission’s investigation report about the unrest to the house.

According to the Commission’s report, 669 civilians and security officers were killed. The report revealed that in most of the incidents the security personnel are said to have used excessive force.

From this, 462 protesters and 33 security personnel had been killed in the unrest that engulfed 91 towns in the Oromia Regional State alone. In addition, in the Amhara Regional State, 110 civilians and 30 security officers were killed in clashes sparked by the arrest of activists campaigning over disputed territory.

Zeid will meet opposition politicians and civil societies, according to the statement by the UN.

He is also expected to visit correctional facilities, according to sources.

His Commission has been calling for an independent investigation since the protest began.

In October, 2016 the Commission called on the Ethiopian government to allow an international commission of inquiry to investigate the protests and the violence used against peaceful demonstrators.

It is to be recalled that in a less than one year after the incumbent government secured 100 percent of the seats in the parliament; the country was hit by an unprecedented wave of demonstrations, which began in November 2015.

The unrest has put the country under a state of emergency.

During his visit, Zeid will also discuss with officials at African Union Commission including, the newly-elected Chairperson of the Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat. 

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