Some 15 national opposition political parties taking part in a lengthy negotiation with the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) over numerous issues, including amending some legal procedures related to election and the electoral system of Ethiopia, yesterday started debating on the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation Number 652/2009.
During the session, the parties aired their concerns over the existing anti-terrorism proclamation. In this regard, the group of 11 national opposition political parties that forged unity for the purpose of this negotiation proposed the cancellation, amendment and incorporation of new articles to the existing anti-terrorism proclamation.
Of the total 38 articles that make up the anti-terrorism proclamation, the parties proposed that Articles 5(1), 19(1), 3-12 and 22 be amended, Articles 3(6), 5(1)(A), 14, 21,23, 25 be cancelled and proposed some five new articles be incorporated to the existing proclamation.
According to the document that the parties submitted to the secretariat of the negotiation last week, the reason the parties proposed to amend, cancel and include new articles is mainly because the existing anti-terrorism proclamation is against basic human rights and even violates basic human rights enshrined in the constitution.
Apart from this, the document stated that the existing anti-terrorism proclamation violates basic human rights such as freedom of expression, organization, gathering and petitioning as a group.
Similarly, the existing anti-terrorism proclamation is applied by the government to silence different views and opinions of journalists, human rights activists, which in turn hampers the process and efforts of different groups in building a democratic system in the country.
The existing anti-terrorism proclamation also weakens the efforts of the opposition parties to contribute to the democratization process of the country and, hence, the parties took a stand over the proclamation, the document reads.
So far, the ruling party and the national opposition parties have agreed to amend the existing Revised Political Parties’ Registration Proclamation No. 573/2008 and the Amended Electoral Law of Ethiopia Proclamation No. 532/2007. As a result of the ongoing negotiation, the parties have agreed to change the electoral system of the country to a mixed electoral system from the current winner-take-all system.
Opposition and the ruling parties have haggled over the proposed issues over the anti-terrorism proclamation, and the negotiations will continue on Thursday.