After dozens have been killed during widespread protests in Oromia and Amhara regions in Ethiopia, UN urged Ethiopia to allow observers to inspect the use of excessive force. A government spokesman, Getachew Rada stated that Ethiopian government was responsible for protecting its own citizens and said there was no need to send observers to the region while pointing out to the already present UN staff in the country.What Happened?After the Ethiopian government declared their development plan to expand the capital Addis Ababa, people who live in rural areas started protesting since they were going to experience negative effects of the decision. Since the beginning of these protests on December 2015, at least 500 people have been killed by the government forces, a Human Rights Watch report says. The ruling political party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front has won all the seats in the parliament and has been suppressing freedom of expression and press since then. Freedom of Expression and PressWhile there are lots of journalists under arrest, “Ethiopia now has the most journalists in exile of any country in the world other than Iran”, according to Committee to Protect Journalists’ statistics and Human Rights Watch research. Reporters Without Borders revealed in their 2016 index that Ethiopia is the 142nd out of 180 countries on freedom of press. On the 11th of July, the Ethiopian government has blocked social media across the country after the national exam questions were leaked online. Government spokesman said the ban was needed in order to prevent the university candidates from being distracted. Extrajudicial KillingsIn 2015, 4 people from the opposition party Semayawi have been killed, including the founder of the party, Samuel Awake. While it is known that 2 out of 4 were killed by the country’s security forces, none of the cases have been investigated except Awake’s. The Use of Disproportionate ForceDuring the elections, 46 people have been injured by the security forces and 2 people were shot to death. While a leader of an Ethiopian oppositional party said 50 people were killed during the last protests, Amnesty International claims the number to be 90. It is known that peaceful demonstrations are suppressed violently in Ethiopia and there are videos published by Human Rights Watch, showing security forces beating and torturing people under arrest. Öykü Deniz AYTEMİZ

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