Rebecca Long Bailey – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Rebecca Long Bailey on 2016-05-24.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the capacity of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission to investigate the handling of recent protests in Oromia, Ethiopia.

James Duddridge

We remain deeply concerned about the handling of demonstrations in Oromia, including the reported deaths of a number of protestors, and about those detained under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. We have repeatedly made representations to the Ethiopian Government over the situation in that region. Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for International Development, raised our concerns with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on 21 January and Her Majesty’s Ambassador last raised the issue with Prime Minister Hailemariam on 26 April.

I met with Dr Tedros at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on 27 January. I raised the UK’s concerns with regards to the human rights situation. We will continue to raise our concerns with the Government of Ethiopia both through our bilateral engagement, most notably through our ongoing Human Rights Dialogue, as well as jointly with our international partners.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has been appointed to look into the handling of the protests in Oromia. We will not pre-judge the outcome of their investigation and we await the publication of their report. We will continue to urge the EHRC and the Government of Ethiopia to ensure that their report is credible, transparent and leads to concrete action. We will take a view on what further lobbying, if any, might be appropriate following the publication of the EHRC report.