Ethiopia: Arrests and Violence

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 22nd September 2020.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of (1) recent large-scale arrests and alleged disappearances in Ethiopia, (2) violence against the Tigre people, and (3) intercommunal violence in Oromia; what representations they have made to the government of Ethiopia; and  what discussions they have had with (1) the African Union, and (2) the United Nations, about those bodies involvement in peace building work in Ethiopia.

Photo of Baroness Sugg Baroness Sugg Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is concerned by reports of violence between ethnic groups in Ethiopia, reports of arrests and abuses by security services. The Minister for Africa visited Ethiopia from 27 - 29 July and was able to discuss these issues with the President, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and the President of Oromia Region. He pushed for full and transparent investigations on the violence and that those detained are afforded due process and their cases heard promptly. The Minister for Africa also expressed the need for more peaceful dialogue between different ethnic groups in Ethiopia and for space to be given for political debate.

While in Addis Ababa, the Minister for Africa called on Commissioners at the African Union. They discussed a wide range of issues, including peace and security matters.

The UK supports the efforts of the Government of Ethiopia to strengthen accountability and has been encouraged by the opening of the political space - in particular the release of thousands of political prisoners and the reform of legislation which constrained civil and political rights. We support civil society organisations in Ethiopia so that they can play an increasing role in monitoring human rights. The UK is also working closely with international partners including the African Union and the UN to promote a peaceful and stable Ethiopia [and has contributed over £15 million to UNDP support for the National Elections Board of Ethiopia]. The UK is watching carefully developments and reactions to the elections held in the Tigray region on 9 September.

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