The United Nations Human Rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, will be in Ethiopia between May 2 – 4 at the invitation of the government.
He will meet with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, the speaker of parliament and other top government officials to discuss issues of human rights and the work of the UN office in the country.
He is expected to hold a press conference to round up his visit. Ethiopian human rights have been a top issue following anti-government protests and attendant security clampdown which led to deaths and mass arrests.
His talks with African Union officials will focus on plans to reinforce coordination between the UN and AU on human rights.
The UN rights body officially requested to send independent investigators, a position that was rejected by Addis Ababa. The PM stated last week that Ethiopia was competent enough to probe the deaths.
The country’s human rights outfit in a recent report stated that 669 people were killed as a result of the protests and the parliament directed subsequently that security officers found culpable of highhandedness be prosecuted.
The country has been under a state-of-emergency since October 2016. Hundreds of protesters were arrested, some have been released after receiving training. The worst hit areas are the Amhara and Oromia regions.
Meeting with AU chief and top officials
A statement from Zeid’s office further disclosed that he will take the opportunity to meet with the African Union (AU) chief, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and other top officials at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.
‘‘His talks with African Union officials will focus on plans to reinforce coordination between the UN and AU on human rights, in line with other recent steps to strengthen their partnership, including the recent signature in New York of a framework agreement on enhanced cooperation in peace and security,’‘ the statement added.