Saturday, June 11, 2005

Carter Center Urges Ethiopian Government to "Curb Extreme Measures" of Security Forces

Former US president Jimmy Carter's Carter Center has urged the Ethiopian government to "curb extreme measures" of its security forces during protests over disputed elections.

"The Carter Center joins other members of the international community and Ethiopian citizens in expressing its deep alarm and sorrow at the violence, injuries, deaths, and violations of human rights that have occurred since 6 June in Addis Ababa and elsewhere in Ethiopia in the aftermath of the 15 May national elections," the center, which does election monitoring and other work, said in a statement Thursday.

"Carter Center observers have been witness to and received reports of acts of violence that appear to be the result of a lack of restraint on the part of some government security forces. The Center calls upon the government to take immediate steps to curb the extreme measures employed by the security forces, which have led to multiple deaths," it added.

The center "acknowledges that the opposition parties have a shared responsibility in the preservation of a peaceful climate in which the elections process can be concluded. Every press statement, public appearance, and action must be weighed in terms of its potential effects on the fragile peace that must be maintained until the announcement of the final results," it added.

"We urge the government to provide all major parties access to the media to appeal for peace," it said.

Ethiopia's government and opposition signed a non-violence pact on Friday after deadly clashes in the capital this week during protests over disputed elections that killed at least 27 people.

But prospects for the agreement, brokered by alarmed foreign donors to ease tensions over the violence and the May 15 polls, appeared dim as the two sides traded new accusations of malfeasance immediately after it was sealed.


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