On 2nd of December 2016, Euractiv published an article with the title «Commission to Ethiopia: ‘Start addressing legitimate grievances of your people’». The article was written after the arrest in Ethiopia of Dr Merera Gudina under the current state of emergency.
Dr Merera Gudina was arrested for violating the state of emergency directive stated under article 2, stipulating among others it is prohibited to communicate with organizations proscribed as terrorist.
Euractiv’s piece may give a wrong impression to the reader about the reasons underlying the arrest of Dr Merera Gudina and the nature of the state of emergency which was declared in Ethiopia last October.
In fact, the article is misleading when it says Dr Merera Gudina “addressed the European Parliament in Brussels”. To be more precise, Dr Merera Gudina took part in a hearing in the premises of the European Parliament but no MEPs were present except its organizer Mrs Ana Gomes, who also invited Dr Berhanu Nega.
Though Euractiv’s article rightly states Dr Berhanu Nega is the leader of a banned group, it fails to state precisely that this group, called Ginbot 7, is openly calling and carrying out an armed struggle in Ethiopia with the goal of overthrowing the legitimate government by unconstitutional means.
In a press release published on 1st December 2015, the EU delegation in Addis Ababa had also clearly distanced itself of the movement of Dr Berhanu Nega and reminded that “The EU rejects as a principle any violent means for political purposes”.
The article moreover fails to mention that the provisions implemented through the state of emergency have restored peace and security in the country. Some restrictions have already been lifted, and Belgium, Germany and the UK have eased their travel advices to Ethiopia after taking note of these progresses.
It should also be underlined that during a discussion with members of the Ethiopian opposition political parties on 1 December 2016, the Secretariat of the Command Post and Minister of Defense Siraj Fegessa reassured the state of emergency is not up for threatening opposition party members. Instead, the state of emergency was established to ensure that stability and calm are restored in the country.