December 10, 2017 marks the 69th annual International Human Rights Day, commemorating the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. The historic document, which articulated the unalienable rights of all regardless of race, gender, religion or creed, remains the foundational international treaty in the field of human rights. Every so often a thing comes to pass that is of such astounding importance that we must stand up and recognize it. We must place this thing on the pedestal it deserves, and ensure that the precepts and policies put in place by it are adhered to, appreciated, and spread as far as the human voice will carry. Such is the sort of message sent by Human Rights Day.
Ever since that auspicious day it has stood as the first major stride forward in ensuring that the rights of every human across the globe are protected. From the most basic human needs such as food, shelter, and water, all the way up to access to free and uncensored information, such has been the goals and ambitions laid out that day.
The Consortium of Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations (TIBIBIR), as the newly established coalition of 25 major Ethiopian civil society groups within and outside Ethiopia that have decided to defend and advance human rights, justice and the rule of law, national consensus, peace and reconciliation as well as the institutionalization of a democratic society in Ethiopia in a collaborative and sustainable manner. The Consortium would like to commemorate this day by calling the attention of the International Community to the current tragedy in Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Government has one of the worst human rights records in the world. The free press is non-existent, there’s no space for opposition political parties, and civic organizations are constantly under attack via the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO) law. The TPLF led political party; Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won 100% of the Parliamentary seats in 2015 election and 99.99% of the Regional elections.
The Consortium (TIBIBIR) has determined that the civil conflict prevailing in Ethiopia has caused massive displacements of tens of thousands of children, the elderly, women and men; the deaths of numerous Ethiopians; and has deepened instability that may potentially lead to Ethiopia’s Balkanization and possible genocide.
Citizens in different parts of Ethiopia are demanding an end to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front led repression and extrajudicial measures and the Regime is responding with brutal force by killing and wounding scores of peaceful demonstrators.
It is clear from these peaceful demonstrations and extrajudicial killings, maiming and arrests that the government of Ethiopia is either incapable or unwilling to address the root causes for the persistent civil unrest that led to the deaths of more than 1,000 Ethiopian demonstrators and the imprisonments of tens of thousands in the last two years.
We would like to use this day of Human Rights commemorations to call upon Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia to make the coming New Year, 2018 the year of Unity in Action in advancing Human Rights in Ethiopia and support our continued effort to accomplish the following actions the new Consortium has set as its primary goals:
- Advance and foster civic engagement and democratic institution building and empower Ethiopians in establishing an accountable government;
- Advocate the causes of freedom, democracy and human rights by approaching foreign policy makers, legislators, Human Rights organizations and foreign policy think tanks;
- Promote accountability for human rights violations;
- Support policies and legislations such as HR 128 that are necessary to advance freedom, democracy, human rights and sustainable and equitable development in Ethiopia;
- Create mechanisms and provide tools to educate and broaden understanding of human rights in the Ethiopian community;
- Promote and facilitate dialogue on collaboration, transition to democracy, multiparty system, federalism government accountability and respect for human rights;;
- Monitor and document human rights violations in collaboration with international CSOs; and,
- Provide a clearinghouse for information and materials on human rights and democracy.
Long Live Ethiopia and unity of the Ethiopian People!!
TIBIBIR: Consortium of Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations.
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