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Carter Center Statement on the Situation in Ethiopia


In Atlanta- Jon Moor 404-420-5107
In Ethiopia- John Marsh +251 11 551 6390

ATLANTA….The Carter Center expresses its alarm at the outbreak of violence in Ethiopia rooted in the ongoing dispute over the May 2005 elections. We send condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives, and urge that every effort be made to avoid further death and injury.

Both government and opposition party supporters must show restraint. Leaders from each side must seek meaningful, constitutional, and peaceful mechanisms for bringing election disputes to a conclusion and allow the country to move forward.

The Center calls upon the government to insist that state security forces refrain from excessive use of force in response to protests and respect and protect the human rights of those who seek to express their opinions peacefully. Free expression and the right of association, including peaceful public demonstrations, are essential to all democracies, and the Ethiopian government has the responsibility to allow such constitutionally protected actions.

The Center encourages the opposition parties associated with the actions to exercise influence over their supporters to bring the current crisis to a close. The constitution's rights of association and protest also have strict limits. They exist within the context of the law.

The Carter Center calls on all parties and the Ethiopian people to recommit themselves to the pursuit of peace and democracy. All parties should seek to re-invigorate channels of communication and peaceful debate while disavowing violence.

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