Ethiopia: Human Rights

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 26th May 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why Ethiopia was not classified as a priority country in the FCO's recent report on human rights and democracy, in the light of the government of Ethiopia's response to the Oromo protests.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

Any list of priorities has to be limited. Our concept of Human Rights Priority Countries is not intended to an exhaustive list of trouble spots. Nor is it a homogenous group. We have chosen to focus on 30 countries where we judge the UK can make a real difference on human rights over the duration of this Parliament. Our concerns are not limited to those countries; our interests are global. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy highlights specific human rights issues, which we are keen to work on with other countries to address. We have consistently expressed our concern at the human rights situation in Ethiopia, and have made representations specifically in response to the Oromo protests.

We remain deeply concerned about the handling of demonstrations in Oromia and the reported deaths of a number of protestors, and have repeatedly made representations to the Ethiopian government over the ongoing situation in that region. The Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt Hon. Member for Putney (Justine Greening), raised our concerns with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on 21 January. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Rochford and Southend East (James Duddridge), raised our concerns with the Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Dr Tedros, at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on 27 January. Our Ambassador to Ethiopia also raised the issue with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on 26 April. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and raise our concerns with the Ethiopian government, including on the use of force. We will continue to work with our partners, including the US, in urging the Ethiopian government to use restraint in their handling of the protests in Oromia.

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