UN Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to Visit Ethiopia

ADDIS ABEBA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, will undertake an official week-long visit to Ethiopia, its office revealed on Wednesday.

Kaye will become the first UN human rights special rapporteur to visit Ethiopia in a decade when he started his visit on December 2, 2019.

Kaye said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration that took office last year “undertook major political reforms that have been praised by many”.

“On the other hand, some have voiced concerns that more needs to be done to fulfill human rights law and standards related to freedom of opinion and expression,” he said.

The special rapporteur said he would focus particularly on “the measures taken by the Government to fulfill its human rights obligations relating to freedom of expression, including the protection of journalists, with a view to formulating recommendations”.

He said, as the Ethiopian lawmakers are discussing a law to combat hate speech, “my visit is particularly timely. I look forward to fruitful discussions on the draft bill with representatives from all branches of the State.”

He will meet Government officials, representatives from the judiciary, journalists and representatives from civil society in Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar.

The Special Rapporteur will present his preliminary findings at the end his mission, on Monday 9 December 2019.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report of his visit, which will include recommendations, to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2020.