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October 17th, 2016

NDP statement on situation in Ethiopia

NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, Hélène Laverdière, and NDP Vice Chair of the Subcommittee for International Human Rights, Cheryl Hardcastle, released the following statement today:

New Democrats are deeply concerned about the ongoing political and human rights crisis in Ethiopia. The country has been rocked by deadly protests over several months, resulting in the declaration of a six-month state of emergency, beginning October 9th.

Human Rights Watch has warned that Ethiopian security forces have been involved in the deaths of more than 500 people during demonstrations in the past year. Government limitations on press freedom and civil society have compounded these problems.

Canada is currently the third-largest bilateral country donor in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a Country of Focus for Canada’s development assistance. In 2014-2015, Canada provided over $108 million in international development assistance to Ethiopia, not including regional development aid.

We urge the Government of Canada to work with its allies to pressure the Ethiopian government to immediately resolve the situation and protect civilians. The Ethiopian government should reach out to and engage all parties and opposition groups in a peaceful, constructive and inclusive dialogue.

Ethiopia is renowned for its rich cultural traditions and is blessed with over 80 different ethnicities. All Ethiopians deserve peace, security and a democracy that is truly representative of all the peoples within the country.