Briefing Paper: Imperiling the Right to Vote in Ethiopia

As Ethiopia prepares to hold its parliamentary elections on May 24, 2015, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has written a briefing paper detailing several pre-electoral violations that jeopardize the right to vote and the right to participate in government in the country.

Over the last several years, and with increasing intensity in recent months, the Ethiopian government has systematically stifled civic space in the country and criminalized dissent, mainly targeting human rights activists, journalists, and opposition supporters deemed too critical of government policy. These well-documented and widespread violations of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association in the lead up to the May 24 elections imperil the right of all Ethiopians to effectively exercise their right to vote and demand attention from the international community.

At the core of any functioning democratic society is the right to vote and participate in government through freely chosen representatives, and these rights must be protected to ensure that public officials are accountable to the people.