The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission statement on the State of Emergency

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The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it was concerned about the situation of people being detained in connection with the state of emergency in various cities.

The commission said that since the declaration of the state of emergency in Addis Ababa on October 30, 2014, people have been arrested at their workplaces, homes, and on the streets and detained at various city police stations.

Although the state of emergency gave law enforcement agencies the power to detain reasonable suspects suspected of collaborating with terrorist groups, EHRC confirmed that the arrests took place on the basis of ethnicity and that some police stations received family requests, clothing, and food. The commission expressed concern that the ban and the arrests included mothers with children and the elderly.

EHRC stated law enforcement and the implementation of the state of emergency must be in a manner that respects the principles of legitimacy, the need for justice and fairness, as well as human rights.

Law enforcement agencies have a responsibility to respect and uphold human rights that cannot be restricted under any circumstances, and to carry out their duties in a professional manner.

EHRC noted the need for rapid and specialized screening of vulnerable groups, especially the elderly, mothers of children, and those in need of medical attention.