Thousands of Ethiopians protesting against Obama’s scheduled visit to Ethiopia Demonstration Against dictators In Ethiopia
Ethiopians March Against Obama’s Trip To Ethiopia – Video
Thousands of Ethiopians march against Obama’s trip to Ethiopia
Obama's decision to stop in Ethiopia has surprised human rights activists and advocates for good governance both in Africa and elsewhere. Ethiopia is one of the worst human rights offenders in Sub-Saharan Africa. Human Rights Watch noted that Ethiopia increasingly restricts the freedoms of assembly and expression:
[…] the Ethiopian authorities continue to severely restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, using repressive laws to constrain civil society and independent media, and target individuals with politically motivated prosecutions.
Muslim protests against perceived government interference in their religious affairs were met by security forces with arbitrary arrests and detentions, beatings, and other mistreatment throughout the year. The trial of 29 protest leaders who were arrested in July 2012 has been closed to the public, media, and family members since January. Others convicted under the country’s deeply flawed antiterrorism law—including opposition leaders and four journalists—remain in prison.
Despite the troubling state of human rights in the country, Ethiopia remains a major recipient of foreign aid money and security support from the United States. A White House statement about the trip said that Obama will visit the country for bilateral meetings with the Ethiopian government as well as the leadership of the African Union as part of US efforts to “work with the countries and citizens of sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security.”
Last month, Ethiopians voted in parliamentary elections, where opposition parties said the voting was not free or fair. The African Union said the elections were peaceful, but fell short of using the words “free and fair.” While noting that the elections were peaceful, the US State Department expressed concern about restrictions on civil society, the news media, opposition parties, and independent voices and views.