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Future of last remaining human rights monitoring NGO in the balance

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - 24 February 2012 - The Cassation Bench of the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia is expected to hear a petition by the Human Rights Council (HRCO) on 27 February 2012 to admit an appeal against the freezing of its bank accounts. The hearing was originally scheduled to take place on 3 February, but was postponed.

Amnesty International, ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and Human Rights Watch reiterate their deep concern at the obstacles and restrictions to which HRCO and other human rights organizations are now subjected, and call upon the Supreme Court to protect the rights of all human rights organizations in Ethiopia to conduct their legitimate and essential work, including through unrestricted access to their funds.

The organisations further urge the Government of Ethiopia to create an enabling environment for civil society in accordance with its constitutional provisions and obligations under international law, and to uphold the rights to freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.

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