Ethiopia 2005

Africa

Yearbook 2005

Ethiopia. According to countryaah, Addis Ababa is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Ethiopia. Parliamentary elections were held in May after a dirty election campaign and accusations against the government for persecution of oppositionists. The human rights organization Human Rights Watch also accused the regime of silencing critics and arresting opponents. The election itself was conducted without any direct interruptions, but the slow voting count raised concerns that cheating could be going on, and the EU observer force felt that the election did not meet international standards.

Despite the difficulties, the opposition achieved groundbreaking successes. Having previously held only 12 of Parliament’s 547 seats, the opposition parties were now given 175 seats, including all seats in Addis Ababa. Several ministers, as well as the mayor of the capital, were voted off. But the opposition, dominated by the Alliance Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), claimed it was deprived of victory and called for protest demonstrations. The protests were fought with brutal force, and up to 40 people were shot dead by police. Thousands were arrested but were eventually released. When Parliament opened in October, CUD members refused to take their seats. They were then deprived of their parliamentary immunity and charged with attempted coup and treason. In early November, the capital was shaken by new unrest that required at least 46 deaths. About 11,000 people were estimated to have been arrested across the country, including the entire CUD leadership. At the end of the year, at least 3,000 remained in prison. In December, 131 people were prosecuted for, among other things. coup attempt, treason, genocide and other crimes. Among the defendants were the entire management of CUD as well as a number of academics and 13 journalists. The major aid countries’ calls for reflection and negotiations were rejected by the government as undue interference in Ethiopia’s affairs.

During the year, the outside world also noted increased tension along both sides of the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The blame for the escalation was largely blamed on Eritrea, despite Ethiopia refusing to accept the boundary set by a UN-appointed international commission in 2003. In November, the Security Council called on both parties for maximum restraint. In December, the Permanent Arbitration Court in The Hague sentenced Ethiopia to pay damages to Eritrea for destruction and surrender during the 1998–2000 war, despite the court finding that it was Eritrea who started the war. During the year, Ethiopia received the 1,700-year-old Aksumobelisk, which was stolen by Italian soldiers in 1937 and which was outside the FAO headquarters in Rome. The richly decorated, 24 m high obelisk is one of Ethiopia’s most important cultural treasures.