The the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) began its 31st Session last week in Geneva and will conclude with the adoption of resolutions on 23 and 24 March.
A side event of a panel discussion was held to address restrictions on freedom of assembly in Ethiopia at the UN Geneva office. It was organised by a number of NGOs working on human rights worldwide, around nine of them.
The panelists included Dr. Awol Allo, Fellow of the LSE, London, Yared Hailemariam, Director of Association of Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE) and Clementine de Montjoye, EHAHRDP.
This panelists raised issues of human rights abuses in Ethiopia from freedom of assembly to freedom of expression.
I was privileged enough to attend this event. In my comments I raised the example of my co-blogger Zelalem Workagegnehu and his two friends Bahiru Degu and Yonatan Wolde, who are unjustly being held in Kilinto prison, Ethiopia since July, 2014. I tried to argue that the arrest of these young men, charged for applying for a digital security course and suspicion of links with Ginbot 7 Movement is good example that shows the links of the types of freedom(s) discussed in the panel.
I also argued such conferences and issuing of mere “we are concerned” statements could only be effective when they are complemented with actions like resolutions.
Later on I conducted an interview with ESAT Television, which can be found and listened to [highlight]HERE[/highlight] from the 16:00 minute.
I will update this story by adding the statements of the panelists, the audience and also the responses of the representative of the Ethiopian government later on.