After the controversial 2005 general election in Ethiopia, the ruling party, Ethiopian People’s Revolution Democratic Front (EPRDF) increased restriction on independent voices inside the country. A series of legal and administrative measures taken by the government in the years that followed the 2005 elections have significantly contributed to the weakening of civil society, opposition political parties and independent media. Notable among the laws that have had a chilling effect on citizens’ exercise of freedom of association, expression and assembly are: the 2008 Mass Media and Freedom of Information Proclamation, the 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP) as well as the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP). The 2008/2009 laws are currently being used to limit citizen participation and silence dissent. Civil society and independent media are directly affected by the subsequent restrictive laws by the government. The virtual ban on foreign funding for Ethiopian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) imposed by the CSP has decimated the ranks of organizations focused on rights and governance issues. The establishment of the Charities and Societies Agency (CSA) has resulted in increased governmental intrusion into the operations of human rights groups, as well as minimal independent monitoring and reporting on the country’s dismal human rights situation. The ATP on its part criminalizes legitimate activities of journalists and the political opposition. In 2011 only, six journalists were charged under the provisions of the ATP and sentenced to between eight and eighteen years in prison. Ethiopia Human Rights Project (EHRP) understands the challenges that local civil societies in Ethiopia face and their limitations to engage on rights advocacy because of the restrictive environment in which they operate in.
Ethiopia Human Rights Project is a non-governmental organization whose vision is the amplification of Ethiopian Human Rights Voices.
We commit to stand in solidarity with the millions of Ethiopians who aspire to bring about a truly democratic political system, where human rights and fundamental freedoms are respected.
We seek to bolster the advocacy work done by domestic and international actors to advance human rights in Ethiopia. Our advocacy efforts focus on exchange of probative research and critical information with an ultimate goal of heightening awareness of human rights condition in Ethiopia.