Tuesday, July 19, 2005

New Swedish Election Observers to Ethiopia

Harold Doan and Associates -- Sweden is sending additional election observers to Ethiopia. During the election of 15 May Sweden contributed six election observers to the joint EU election observation mission.

In response to a request by the EU Commission, Sweden is now sending an additional four Swedish election officials to Ethiopia to observe the process concerning appeals against the election results in certain election districts and the new round of elections expected to take place in August.

"The Government has followed developments in Ethiopia following the general election on 15 May with deep concern. The violence, the deaths and the large number of arrests in the wake of the demonstrations protesting the way the government handled the aftermath of the election deeply regrettable," Minister for Foreign Affairs Laila Freivalds states.

"It is therefore of the utmost importance that follow-up of the election in Ethiopia is carried out in good democratic order, showing respect for human rights. By sending additional Swedish election observers, we wish to contribute to this important process at what is a sensitive point in time for Ethiopia," Ms Freivalds continues.


allAfrica.com -- An umbrella body representing more than 250 international and local charities in Ethiopia has said the government threatened on Saturday to ban it because of alleged "political bias".

The Christian Relief and Development Association (CRDA) said it was accused of "illegal and destructive activities" after voicing concerns over post-election violence.

"We are very alarmed by this threat because it means any criticism being made within the country is being stifled," Semira Alhadi, deputy director of the body, told IRIN.

Ethiopia's justice ministry has called a meeting on Tuesday with the 12-strong board of the CRDA.

CRDA had called for an independent inquiry after an estimated 40 people were killed during violent clashes between security forces and civilians protesting alleged electoral fraud in the 15 May elections.

It said the media was being muzzled and civil society was being marginalised in the Horn of Africa country. It also condemned mass arrests and demanded an independent inquiry into the killings.

The organisation criticised Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's ban on demonstrations in the capital, and said it had not served its purpose because people had been killed in clashes with police.

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