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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Nation identifies 5 corridors for horticulture developmentThe Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research said five development corridors said to be favorable for horticulture development in the country have been identified.
Addis Ababa- Oromia, Hawassa- Arba Minch, Awash- Dire Dawa and Harrar, Bahir Dar- Nile Gorge and South Gondar, as well as Mekele- Raya and Alamata are the corridors.
Some 50,000 hectares land has allocated in these areas for flowers, vegetables and fruits as well as coffee production, the Director-General, Dr. Fantahun Mengistu told ENA.
The horticulture development corridors need to be identified so as to further boost horticulture development thereby improve its contribution to the nation's development, he said.
Favorable ecosystem and nearness to various transport systems including air transport are the criteria used to select these areas, he added.
- See more at: http://www.ena.gov.et/en/index.php/economy/item/404-nation-identifies-5-corridors-for-horticulture-development#sthash.sWoasxzB.dpuf
African Union's (AU) high level panel on illicit financial flows (IFF) from Africa ranked Ethiopia ninth from the top 10 African countries with high illicit financial flows from 1970 to 2008 next to Côte d'Ivoire and Sudan.
The panel, which was chaired by Thabo Mbeki, former South African president and comprised nine other members, released its report at Hilton Hotel on February 1, 2015.
The high level panel is the first African initiative mandated to be established after the fourth joint annual meeting of the AU/ECA conference of ministers of finance, planning and economic development adopted a resolution to establish the level of IFF from the continent, to asses its long term impacts and to propose policies in reversing the illegal outflows.
The Report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, used estimates by various researches on illicit financial flows from Africa, adding that a significant amount was from sources such as bribing and trafficking of drugs, people and firearms, which are secret in nature and could not be properly estimated.
The panel reported that Ethiopia could have lost 16.5 billion dollars due to illicit financial flow from 1970 to 2008, which was 2.3pc of the total IFF from the continent, based on which the total continental loss could be computed to a little over 700 billion dollars. However, the report gives a different figure, 854 billion dollars for the total loss during the period.
The 1994 constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia provides in its fundamental rights and freedoms section, specifically under Article 21, the following regarding the rights of persons held in custody and convicted prisoners:
1. All persons held in custody and persons imprisoned upon conviction and sentencing have the right to treatments respecting their human dignity;
2. All persons shall have the opportunity to communicate with, and to be visited by their spouses or partners, close relatives, friends, religious councilors, medical doctors and their legal counsel.
The responsibility of ensuring that the rights set out under Article 21 are fully respected primarily lies on the government. Several prisoners and their families have claimed over the years that these rights are routinely violated. These claims have received extensive coverage even by international human rights activists. This week saw yet another claim lodged by the mother of TemesgenDessalegn, the former editor-in-chief of the weekly Fitih who is serving a three-year sentence in connection with news reports and articles which appeared on the newspaper. In a petition written to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and which was copied to the Office of the Prime Minister, Parliament, the Institution of the Ombudsman and various diplomatic missions, Temesgen’s mother said that her son has been denied his visitation rights for over a month now. The government must launch a probe into the matter and take the appropriate measures.
The right to be visited of all inmates must be respected regardless of their status or the reason they are being held in custody. A considerable number of prisoners have submitted petitions to courts and publicized through other means stating that their families and friends have been banned from visiting them. Given the frequency of similar complaints, the government must look into why the entities to blame—the federal and regional prison administrations—impose such prohibitions in a clear contravention of the constitutionally established rights of citizens and hold to account the perpetrators. In short, the government is duty-bound to discharge responsibly its constitutional obligation to protect the rights of persons held under custody.It would be a gross dereliction of duty if it were to turn a deaf ear to accusations of rights violations by detainees who look to it to afford them safety and protection while in correction facilities.
Aside from constituting a breach of the rule of law, the act of forbidding the loved ones or friends of someone from visiting them in prison and thereby causing them anguish very much goes against Ethiopians’ cherished tradition of caring for those languishing in prisons. Such callousness prompts many to lose faith in their government.
As we have said time and again there can be no negotiating when it comes to respecting the law. If Ethiopia is to become truly a democratic nation, fundamental principles like the rule of law and equality of all citizens before the law must be upheld scrupulously. Anything which impedes this is bound to lead to tyranny and the curtailmentof the rights enshrined in the constitution. And the country cannot earn the respect of the international community through the effort extricate itself from the clutches of poverty alone; its performance in terms of ensuring the unabridged observance of constitutionally guaranteed rights is as well an important factor in this regard. The public should not be disenfranchised due to the infringement of its rights and lack of good governance.
To recap,the rights of persons held under custody as provided for by Article 21 of the constitution needs to be enforced to the letter and in the spirit of the constitution. This provision is reinforced by another constitutional proviso which stipulates that everyone has the right to respect for his human dignity. As the stakeholder principally responsible for seeing to it that these rights are indeed respected, the government is obliged to improve its checkered track record in this regard and bring anyone found to have flouted a fundamental constitutional right. Otherwise, it will be complicit in the acts of the perpetrators and thereby have its credibility put on the line.
Daren Wendell has embarked on a daunting journey — running the equivalent of 100 marathons in 100 days. The Canton South High School graduate is testing his physical limits to raise money to provide safe drinking water for 2,500 people in Ethiopia.
Daren Wendell, a Canton South High graduate, has embarked on a run across the U.
See more at: http://www.indeonline.com/article/20150216/NEWS/150219427/1994/NEWS/?Start=2#sthash.h1qiH9Gj.dpuf
On Tuesday, February 17 at 19:30 GMT: 
Ethiopia's jailed Zone 9 bloggers are on trial this week for terrorism and treason, charges facing more than two dozen journalists, bloggers and publishers. To avoid arrest, 30 journalists fled the country in the past year. The government says they’re criminals, destabilising Ethiopia's fragile democracy in the name of “press freedom.” Rights groups say they’re victims of repression. Join us at 1930GMT.
Read more: 
Ethiopia’s stifled press - The Washington Post
Could Kenya learn from Ethiopia's anti-terror strategy? - Voice of America

Image by Hugh D'Andrade, remixed by Hisham Almiraat, used with permission.Last April, nine writers were arrested and imprisoned in association with Ethiopia's Zone 9 blogging collective. Eleven weeks later, they were charged under the nation's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. Since their arrest, Soleyana Gebremicheal and Endalk Chala, two members of the collective who now live in the United States, have advocated tirelessly for their colleagues’ release. Global Voices is honored to publish this original contribution by Soleyana and her colleague, Patrick Griffith, who are now petitioning the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to intervene on the bloggers’ behalf.

Despite early, high-level condemnation of the arrests of independent journalists and bloggers in Ethiopia nine months ago, international attention has waned as the pre-trial proceedings have dragged-on. The government’s continued detention of three independent journalists and six members of the Zone 9 blogging collective is not only an outrageous attack on the press – it is also illegal and unconscionable.
After its founding in May 2012, the Zone 9 blog received widespread attention from Ethiopian activists and academics who used the site to promote political rights enshrined under both international and Ethiopian law. For a time, they managed to operate in an increasingly restrictive media environment. When access to the site was blocked inside the country, members circulated articles through social media. When authorities summoned the contributors for questioning and accused them of threatening national security in 2013, the group temporarily stopped writing about political issues. But when the activists announced that they would revive the site and focus on Ethiopia’s upcoming national elections scheduled for May 2015, the government response was swift – within days, six members of Zone 9 and three independent journalists who knew them socially were behind bars. 
Eventually, the government charged all nine detainees with terrorism and treason.
The use of overly broad national security laws to silence peaceful activists may seem like a surprising overreaction to online activism, but in Ethiopia, politicized prosecutions have become commonplace. Since the government passed the widely-criticized 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, prosecutors have cast an ever-widening net in an attempt to silence any kind of dissent. The government has applied the Proclamation to detain critical journalists, opposition activists, and religious protesters – apparently unconcerned that misusing such laws threatens to seriously undermine its credibility with security allies in a region with very real terror threats. 
The condemnation of such tactics has been nearly universal. The former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and political leaders – including US Secretary of State John Kerry – have all called for an end to the imprisonment of peaceful writers and activists on terrorism charges. In the case of the imprisoned Ethiopian publisher Eskinder Nega, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention specifically found that the government violated international law when it sentenced him to 18 years in prison under the 2009 Anti-Terror Proclamation. Despite such calls, however, the prosecutions have continued.
It has now been nine months since Ethiopian authorities arrested the Zone 9 bloggers and their journalist friends. During the first three months, they were held at the notorious Maekelawi police station in Addis Ababa, where reports indicate that torture is rampant. In fact, a complaint prepared by the group for the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission indicates that authorities severely mistreated some detainees while interrogating them about their criticism of the government and their contacts with international human rights organizations. Some were beaten, gagged, deprived of food and sleep, subjected to cold temperatures, and threatened not to report the mistreatment. The women were insulted during questioning and faced harassment and intimidation based on their gender. All of them were forced to sign false confessions.
Although the government has held 16 preliminary hearings, the trial has yet to begin. If past cases are any indication, however, the outcome has already been determined. That is why the Ethiopian Human Rights Project and Freedom Now have filed a petition with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which shows that the continued imprisonment of these peaceful activists violates international law. The work of these activists and journalists advocating for basic rights is clearly protected under international law and the treaties that the Ethiopian government has ratified, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. As such, the government's imprisonment of these individuals on spurious terror charges is arbitrary and illegal.