The office of Heidi Hautala met on 19th of October with the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) to discuss the current situation of human rights defenders in Ethiopia.[:]
Human rights defenders face multitude of challenges in Ethiopia. After the 2005 general elections the civil society has faced ever more restrictions to their work. Greatest obstacle to the work of human rights defenders and independent civil society has been the passing of the Charities and Societies Proclamation in January 2009. This proclamation gives the government legal ground to clampdown on civil society and its effect has been felt in particular by the independent human rights organisations.
In the meeting furthermore detail was given to EHAHRDP recommendations concerning the support which the European Union could provide to the human rights defenders in Ethiopia and elsewhere in the East and Horn of Africa. This was discussed in the framework of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and their Local Implementation Strategies.
EHAHRDP was invited to continue the discussion further as the Subcommittee on Human Rights will discuss follow-up to the Hautala report on EU Policies in Favour of Human Rights Defenders in 2011.
EHAHRDP is based in Uganda and is the Secretariat of a network of over 65 human rights organizations working throughout this region that seeks to promote and protect the rights of human rights defenders through protection, advocacy and capacity building activities.