Human Rights & Public Liberties

Human Rights & Public Liberties

Published on: 13 Jan, 2021

Crisis brews in Ethiopia as state of emergency declared

Published on: 3 November, 2021


A six month long state of emergency was declared in Ethiopia on Tuesday.

The state of emergency was declared after forces from the northern region of Tigray said they were gaining territory and considering marching on the capital Addis Ababa.

The announcement came shortly after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed urged citizens to take up arms to defend themselves against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

In a state media briefing Justice Minister Gedion Timothewos said: ‘Our country is facing a grave danger to its existence, sovereignty and unity. And we can’t dispel this danger through the usual law enforcement systems and procedures’.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Donald Deya, CEO of the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) said: ‘The state of emergency can slow things down. The fear is that the TPLF are marching towards Addis Ababa.’

‘Persecution’ of Tigrayans 

Deya fears that, as a result of the state of emergency, Tigrayan people who live in Addis Ababa will be persecuted. He says: ‘This has already happened in the months since November last year. For instance Tigrayan businesses in the capital has been targeted.’

According to Deya the ethnic tensions can escalate over coming months. On Wednesday the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called for accountability in Ethiopia and said that the conflict in Ethiopia has been marked by ‘extreme brutality’.