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Ethiopia: Ending ‘Emergency’ Should be Step to Broader Reforms

In response to the vote by Ethiopia’s parliament to lift the state of emergency that had been imposed in February, Freedom House ( issued the following statement:  

“Lifting the state of emergency is a commendable measure and another indication that the new government, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, intends to continue with its reform agenda,” said Jon Temin, director of Africa programs. “The government should now expand and protect the right for political parties and individuals to speak and act freely, ahead of the local and national elections scheduled to take place in 2019 and 2020 respectively.”   Freedom House recommends that the government’s next steps include:

  • Releasing all remaining political prisoners, including those held under the state of emergency
  • Inviting all political parties for dialogue with the government that promotes meaningful political participation and national consensus 
  • Revising the Charities and Societies Proclamation and the Antiterrorism and the Mass Media Proclamations to remove the severe restrictions these laws place on freedoms of expression, association and assembly
  • Pursuing reforms to guarantee the independence of key democratic institutions – including the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, the judiciary and the security services – from political interference.

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2018 (, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2017 (, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2017 (

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Freedom House.

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ABOUT FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom House ( is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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