HUMAN RIGHTS IN ETHIOPIAThe death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who took power in 1991, creates an opportunity for new leadership to support human rights. Meles’ government had severely restricted the rights to freedom of expression and association. Since late 2011, journalists and four opposition supporters had been convicted under the country’s anti-terror law. A draconian civil society law hampers independent human rights work. The government’s development policies, including large-scale commercial agricultural, has led to forced resettlement of indigenous populations, who lose their livelihoods in the process and are subjected to arbitrary arrests and assaults by the armed forces. For their part, international donors to Ethiopia have been too quiet about Ethiopia’s deteriorating rights situation.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.© 2010 UN PhotoEthiopia’s new leadership should commit to fundamental human rights reforms in the wake of the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Meles’s death was announced by the Ethiopian state media on August 21, 2012.