Monday, July 16, 2018
Friday, July 13, 2018
Monday, July 9, 2018
Hug It Out
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed started his groundbreaking visit to Eritrea by wrapping Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in a hug on the tarmac – a dramatic emblem of the burgeoning thaw in tensions between the two countries.
It’s the first time in two decades that the leaders of the two countries met and follows Abiy’s surprise decision last month to accept the terms of a peace deal signed in the year 2000. It prompted a flood of emotion in the Eritrean capital of Asmara, NPR reported.
The decades-long conflict has killed tens of thousands of people.
With the visit, a direct international telephone connection was restored between the two countries for the first time in 20 years, another confidence-building measure following Abiy’s announcement that Ethiopian Airlines would resume flights to Eritrea.
Already moving to liberalize a repressive regime at home, reconciliation with Abiy could encourage similar progress next door by removing Isaias’ excuse for maintaining “a permanent state of military readiness,” said University of London scholar Martin Plaut.
Sunday, July 8, 2018
Friday, July 6, 2018
Louder Than Words
Ethiopia’s attorney general announced the dismissal of five top prison officials for alleged human rights violations, making good on new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s strong condemnation of what he called government terrorism.
The announcement came just hours before the release of a damning Human Rights Watch report describing systematic torture in Jail Ogaden, a prison in Jijiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s Somali region, the Washington Post reported. None of the officials dismissed were linked to that institution, however.
Earlier, Abiy had denounced the use of torture before the country’s parliament, saying, “Does the constitution demand people be flogged, be injured, be kept in dark rooms? It doesn’t. That is the terrorist act of us, the government.”
Abiy’s government has closed the infamous Maekelawi detention center in Addis Ababa, the Guardian noted. But brutality remains particularly severe in eastern Ethiopia under Somali regional president Abdi Mohamed Omar.
“Torture in detention is a serious problem throughout Ethiopia, but Jail Ogaden is in a class of its own,” said Felix Horne, the HRW report’s author.