The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) [official website] on Monday announced that it has implemented measures to monitor detention centers at federal and regional levels to ensure human rights protection according to the country's constitution. The EHRC will dispatch investigators [AllAfrica report] who have the responsibility to interview prison officials and detainees and then file a report based on those findings. The investigation team will focus on whether human rights abuses in the 119 prisons are taking place. The investigative measure followed after numerous reports of abuses in prisons were reported.
Ethiopia has been criticized by the international community for its human rights record. In August Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] urged the government to release [JURIST report] 17 prominent Muslim leaders who were arrested in July in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, arguing that the Ethiopian government has used its anti-terrorism law [Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009, text] as a tool to crack down on dissent, particularly dissent amongst the nation's Muslims, who constitute 30 percent of Ethiopia's population. In July UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] expressed concern that Ethiopia is intimidating journalists [JURIST report]. Earlier that month Amnesty International [advocacy website] criticized [JURIST report] the imprisonment of 20 activists in Ethiopia under the nation's anti-terrorism law. In June the Ethiopian Federal High Court [official website, in Amharic] convicted [JURIST report] 24 journalists, political opposition leaders and others under the anti-terrorism law.