Lawyer Ameha Mekonnen wins Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law


Ethiopian lawyer Ameha Mekonnen wins the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law. The former Human Rights Council chair and human rights advocate received the 2019 Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law on December 10, Fana Broadcasting Corporate reports.

Lawyer Ameha awarded for his crucial role in defense of human rights and freedom during difficult times in Ethiopia, Ambassadors of France, and German to Ethiopia had given the award to Ameha.

A former civil servant Ameha become a pleader for journalists facing hardship by government officials after he turned into a lawyer. He has provided a legal council for journalists, opposition party members, and others who had faced charges under the Anti Terror Law. Ameha had represented journalists in the court who were accused of terrorism under the debated anti-terror law, including journalist Temesgen Desalegn and Zone 9 bloggers.

Moreover, after the reform in the Ethiopian government, ameha became the chair of the group, which was formed to revise the previous Anti-terror Law. Most human rights advocates considered the former law as a weapon for the government to persecute its criticizers. Later on, Ameha leads the group to revise the law to become compatible with international human rights conventions and agreements.

The Franco-German prize for human rights and the rule of law honors people who work for the defense of human rights or the promotion of the rule of law, in their country, in third countries or international fora starting 2016. The award announces 15 courageous women and men fighting for human rights around the world annually.

“This award is a recognition for those who fought for freedom and democracy in Ethiopia,” said Ameha on receiving the award.

The human rights counselor and pleader in Ethiopia, who is also the founder of the Network for Digital Rights in Ethiopia, had received a well-deserved award with his friends and colleagues in attendance.