Monday, September 24, 2012

Why Europe should speak out about Ethiopia’s human rights (By Nicolas Beger)

(Sept 24, 2012, New Europe)--On 25 July, the European Union adopted its strategic framework on human rights and democracy and appointed Stavros Lambrinidis its first special representative for human rights, seeking to “enhance the effectiveness and visibility of EU human rights policy”.

It’s now time to translate policy into action. Ethiopia is a prime example, with its deteriorating human rights record. The recent death of former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, whose leadership was characterised by cracking down on dissidents and dismantling the independent media, provides the EU with an excellent opportunity to change its policy on Ethiopia.

What should the EU do? First, it is inconsistent for it to prioritise the UN’s millennium development goals, which target poverty, while ignoring Ethiopia’s widespread violations of civil and political rights. At a joint hearing of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Human Rights, Baroness Ashton’s External Action Service didn’t rise to the human rights challenge.

Under Ethiopia’s late Prime Minister, this EU policy has completely failed to improve the country’s human rights record, which has taken a turn for the worse over the past seven years. Read more the original article from New Europe »

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