IOLA welcomes the decision by the Ethiopian government to release ALL political prisoners

The International Oromo Lawyers Association (IOLA) welcomes the decision by the Ethiopian government to release ALL political prisoners, and the subsequent release of the first butch of 150 political prisoners from different prisons nation-wide. Because the government was denying that there were political prisoners in the country, and refused for years to allow the United Nations Human Rights experts and international human rights NGOs to visit the prisons, IOLA considers the release of these citizens, which followed a public admission by the government of its failure in delivery of good governance which led to the mass uprising and subsequent arrest of thousands of civilians, charging them with violation of the Terrorism Proclamation, a breakthrough.

IOLA also urges the government, to keeping its public promise that it would release all political prisoners, and continue releasing the remaining political prisoners, which according to reliable information are in thousands. If the intention of the release of political prisoners, as mentioned by the Prime Minister, is to foster national reconciliation, then ALL political prisoners should be released. Otherwise, very selective and half-measured acts, as so far done, will neither lead to fostering national reconciliation nor to a breakthrough to resolve our intricate problems.

It is IOLA’s profound belief that citizens have the right to demand from their government respect for their Constitutional and fundamental human rights, and it is the duty of the government to ensure that the demand from the citizens is fulfilled as prescribed in the nations constitution. Subsequently, IOLA condemns any action or omission by the government to act contrary to the letter and spirit of the nation’s Constitution.

International Oromo Lawyers Association (IOLA) IOLA Executive Committee