Canada has added its voice to calls for political reforms, peaceful and inclusive political dialogue in Ethiopia. The country also expressed ‘‘concerns over the deaths and violence arising from the recent unrest, particularly in the Oromia and Amhara regions.’‘
This position was contained in a statement released by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, after the visit of Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs to the horn of Africa nation that has been suffering from anti-government protests since November 2015.
‘‘Minister Dion had a meeting with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, in which they discussed the current state of emergency and the critical importance of undertaking timely and meaningful reforms for the benefit of all Ethiopians—particularly its youth—in support of the country’s growth and prosperity.
Minister Dion had a meeting with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, in which they discussed the current state of emergency and the critical importance of undertaking timely and meaningful reforms for the benefit of all Ethiopians.
‘‘The Minister also participated in an in-depth exchange with civil society representatives, highlighting the need for democratic space, pluralism and respect of fundamental freedoms for any political dialogue to be successful,’‘ the statement read.
Canada noted that Ethiopia was ‘‘an important partner in the region.’‘ Ethiopia was the final stop of the Minister’s first visit to sub-Saharan Africa, he had earlier visted Nigeria and Kenya.
Ethiopia is currently under a Command Post administering a 6 month state of emergency imposed in early October. The authorities recently released a list of over 11,000 people arrested under the state of emergency.
They also lifted a restriction on the movement of diplomats citing the return to peace. The state of emergency had raised concerns about the use of repression to silent opposition members.
The government recently reshuffled the cabinet as part of plans to make governance all inclusive. Human rights groups continue to pile pressure on the government accusing it of using the security mechanisms to repress dissenting voices.
Before Canada, Norway had expressed similar sentiments over the restive situation in the horn of Africa region in general but more so about Ethiopia. Norway described Ethiopia as a“partner” suffering from political unrest resulting in a recently imposed state of emergency.
The Norwegian Foreign Affairs chief, Borge Brende,said there was the need for the government to quickly undertake planned political reforms, an that they will be closely following the situation in the country. A similar call was made by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, on a recent visit.