Ethiopian Parliament Approves State of Emergency

ADDIS ABABA – Members of Parliament on Thursday approved a state of emergency declared by the Council of Ministers to tackle threats to Ethiopia’s constitutional order. .

Announcing the declaration last Tuesday, Justice Minister Gideon Timotios said the government found it necessary as the situation in Ethiopia becomes hard to handle using the existing security structure.

The emergency law, which became effective as of Tuesday, aims to protect civilians from atrocities being committed by the terrorist TPLF Group in several parts of Ethiopia, according to the minister.

Council of ministers declared the six-month long nationwide emergency on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. The emergency law enables authorities to detain people suspected of having relation with the group without warrants, seize property, enter and search anybody.

Ethiopia’s constitution requires for the draft declaration 1264/14 to be submitted to the parliament within forty eight hours for approval.

During its regular parliamentary session on Thursday morning, members of parliament ratified the bill with a majority of votes. One parliamentarian chose to abstain.

Following the ratification, the lawmakers established a seven member State of Emergency Implementation Inspection Board (SEIIB) consisting of parliamentarians and legal professionals.

The board members are Lema Tessema, Workesemu Mamo, Somlomn Lale, Bifti Mohammed, Christian Tadele, Mitiku Mada, and Gemechu Beshada. Lemma will serve as chairman of the board while Workesemu deputizes him.

Board members have been sworn in at the parliament by President of Federal Supreme Court Meaza Ashenafi.

They are now tasked to announce the names of persons detained by virtue of the state of emergency within one month after detention and publicize the reasons for their detention, as per the constitution.

The board also has the powers and duties to supervise and control the measures taken during the state of emergency so as to ensure that they are not in any way inhuman, as per the constitution.

If the board is convinced that any measure is inhuman, it could give recommendations for improvement to the PM or to his Cabinet, bring to justice all those who perpetuate inhuman acts during the state of emergency. The board will also be tasked to submit its recommendations to the Council of Peoples’ Representatives where a request for the renewal of the state of emergency is submitted to the Council.

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