“No alleged crimes or statements should justify the violation of Article 5 of the person’s right to be protected from enforced disappearance”
Ethiopian Human Rights Defender Center (EHRDC) is a non-governmental, non-partisan, and non-profit organization established to create a strong national human rights defenders’ network that is dedicated to protecting and defending Human Rights Defenders (HRDs). EHRDC was established to ensure the safety, security, and well-being of HRDs. EHRDC has been continuously engaging with human rights defenders and journalists to enhance their capacity and to defend their rights.
EHRDC is deeply concerned over the escalation of the disappearance and detention of journalists, human rights defenders, and activists in Ethiopia. EHRDC has expressed its concerns and continuously urged the government to respect the freedom of expression and protection of people against forced disappearance.
According to the report by Addis Standard released July 5, 2022, Abebe Bayu, a journalist of the YouTube-based Ethio-Forum media is held in Awash Arba Prison in the Regional state of Afar. Abebe’s whereabouts have been unknown since July 1, 2022. Similarly, the whereabouts of journalist Yayesew Shimelis has been unknown since the 28th of June just one week after being released on bail. Yayesew was also arrested in May and was later released on bail on June 20, 2022. In addition, journalist Temesgen Dessalegne, Chief Editor of Feteh magazine is also being detained since May 26, 2022, despite being granted bail. Belay Bekele, a social media activist and poet has also recently disappeared to be released seven days after his first disappearance. EHRDC recalls within a period of 3 months, more than 20 journalists including Gobeze Sisay, Sobontu Ahmed, Bekalu Alamirew, Meaza Mohammed, and Solomon Shumiye were arrested and disappeared.
Yared Hailemariam, Executive Director of EHRDC stated, “No alleged crimes or statements should justify the violation of Article 5 of the person’s right to be protected from enforced disappearance. We urge the government to release Abebe Bayu, to disclose the whereabouts of journalist Yayesew to his family, and to respect the decision of the court for the release of journalist Temesgen Desalegn up on bail”. EHRDC also urges the government to uphold its international commitments to the freedoms of expression and put an end to the unlawful arrests and detaining of journalists, activists, and human rights defenders without due process of law as well as respect the Ethiopian media law against the unlawful arrest and detention of journalists for any alleged offense committed through media.