Ethiopia’s prime minister has for the first time rejected calls by the UN and EU for independent investigations into the deaths of hundreds of people during months of anti-government protests.
Hailemariam Desalegn has said that Ethiopia is able to carry out the investigations itself.
Protesters from the Amhara and Oromia regions have been complaining about political and economic marginalisation.
The government has imposed a state of emergency in response to the protests.
The country was hit by an unprecedented wave of demonstrations, which began in November 2015.
International rights groups have said that hundreds of people lost their lives in incidents where police and protesters clashed.
In the past, the government has disputed the figures and said that the security forces were responding to what were described as “anti-peace forces”.
Mr Hailemariam said that an investigation by Ethiopia’s Human Rights Commission, a body created by the constitution, was the only way of dealing with the issue.
He said that the commission was an independent institution but admitted that it “lacked capacity” and said that it could be strengthened.
He said Ethiopia’s sovereignty should be respected and rejected the call for external investigations.
Zeid Raad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, had on August last year called for international observers to investigate the killings after accusing security forces of using live ammunition against protestors in the Amhara and Oromia regions.
A call that was reiterated by the EU in October and repeated last week.
The prime minister also defended the state of emergency, imposed in October last year, saying it has brought “normalcy” to the country.
He said the recent four-month extension of the emergency law by parliament was “necessary to consolidate some of the gains that the state had achieved in instituting reforms”.
Mr Hailemariam said that the government has been focussing on solving the unemployment issue, especially among the youth, which he admitted had “brought resentment”.
He also said that there are ongoing talks with other political parties to ensure inclusivity in running country affairs, a main concern, since his EPRDF has an overwhelming majority in parliament.
He said that the thousands who were arrested in a nationwide crackdown were still being held in prison and will have to go though the judicial process.
Ghana: video of police assault on nursing mother goes viral
Ghana’s social media space – Facebook and Twitter – has been buzzing with a call for the arrest of a police officer for assaulting a nursing mother.
A viral video shows the said officer in what starts like a tussle with the woman in a banking hall. Subsequently, he is seen hitting the woman with an umbrella, punching and slapping her on the face.
Reports indicated that the woman, a client of the savings and loans company, where the incident occured had arrived when the company had closed.
She ostensibly got in despite the close of business and refused to leave till she could withdraw a sum of 250 cedis ($50). Social media users are calling for the immediate arrest of the police officer.
Local media portals also report that the police heirachy has confirmed that a probe had been opened into the alleged incident and that due process was going to be pursued.
The video continues to be widely shared on Facebook with some prominent media personalities joining the calls for justice for the woman.
This is the video! This woman’s family and husband needs to track this barbaric being down! @GhPoliceService after shooting, now this? When will we see action? When will u stop this bureaucratic gimmick and take action against irresponsible officers disgracing the uniform? When? pic.twitter.com/9Fmkys80BI
— Bridge-it O2 (@Bridget_Otoo) July 20, 2018
Trump extends Somali immigrants’ stay in US
Somalis living in the United States under protected status have been given permission by the Trump administration to remain in the country for at least another 18 months, because of ongoing violence in the North African nation.
At least 500 Somalis in the United States with Temporary Protected Status will be able to re-register for an extension of their status through March 17, 2020, according to a Thursday statement from the Department of Homeland Security. The status grants beneficiaries the ability to legally work while they are in the United States.
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