Berlin (Human Rights Watch) 06/28/2011:

The federal government should demand from Ethiopia for the protection of human rights as a condition for development assistance. Furthermore, it will confess to the visit of the Ethiopian Minister of Finance as its new human rights concept and make it clear that economic and social rights must always be associated with civil and political rights.

“Every year, millions of euros in development aid funds from Germany is paid to Ethiopia,” said Michalski Wenzel, head of the Germany office of Human Rights Watch. “The federal government should make it clear to the Ethiopian Minister of Finance that there is no money without human rights protection.”

Human Rights Watch, in the report “Ethiopia: Development Without Freedom,” documented how millions of euros in development aid funds paid to Ethiopia is used to support the one-party rule and the marginalization of government critics. Access to public service, to food assistance and jobs are dependent on the support for the ruling party, civil servants and school children have to participate in propaganda events, which are financed with funds for food aid. Moreover, the Ethiopian government is against independent media and civil society and thousands of students, scholars and activists who criticize the government have been arrested.

Germany is one of the major donors to Ethiopia. Given the new concept of human rights by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to any renewal or increase of payments to Ethiopia has to be connected with a much tighter control of the funds so that they can not be used for political purposes. In addition to the repressive NGO law and the release of hundreds of political prisoners and journalists will be demanded.

The Ethiopian government’s Finance Minister is leaving today for talks in Bonn, where also future Aid money is being negotiated.



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