SOCEPP Canada condemns the prohibition of the publication and distribution of the news paper, FINOTE NETSANET, by the Ethiopian authorities. Such action is against the basic right of the freedom of expression. The Ethiopian people have the right to expect the full respect of their inalienable rights of free speech.
In the last two decades, international press associations and human rights groups have variously and clearly established that the ruling group in Ethiopia has been among the top five violators of freedom of the press in the entire Africa. The new rulers have to disassociate themselves from such tainted history of abuse of the Meles era and follow a new path of respect for the basic rights of the Ethiopian people. Doing this only serves the best interests of all including the ruling EPRDF.
We demand that the ruling group lift immediately the restriction placed on FINOTE NETSANET as well as many others and refrain from further interference in the freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression without limitations.
We also urge the new rulers to take practical and wide ranging steps to show their renewed commitment, if they commit to do so, towards the full respect of human and democratic rights in Ethiopia. Such practical steps include, but are not limited to:
-The immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience,
-Disclose the whereabouts of the disappeared, and
-Devise a credible and transparent plan of action as to engage the opposition in a genuine national dialogue in order to create a transition that is acceptable to all.