On 6 January 2009, the Ethiopian government pushed through passage of the Charities and Societies Proclamation before Parliament went on recess. The effects of this Proclamation were set out in Equality Now Women’s Action 22.5 that you have just received, and is also available on our website: Action Network. We hope you have the time to send a letter immediately to the Ethiopian Justice Minister, urging immediate review and revision of this law. We have suggested a possible text below, but please feel free to write your own letter.
Without an amendment to the provision that restricts organisations which receive more than 10% of their funding from outside the country from undertaking any human rights work, many critical services and protections will disappear.
Thank you for your partnership.
H.E. Berhan Hailu
Minister of Justice
P O. Box 1370
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 551 7775
I am writing to express my extreme concern about the new Charities and Societies Proclamation which was passed on 6 January 2009 and which would drastically curtail the work of non-governmental organisations working to promote human rights. My particular concern is for all those vulnerable people who will now be left without assistance when they need it most. These would include women and girls who have been subjected to sexual and other violence and who depend heavily on civil society organisations to give them legal and material help. I urge you to think again about the terrible impact this new law will have on those who just want to secure their rights under the Ethiopian Constitution to live freely and equally in security and without discrimination.
Please do all that you can to ensure revision of the law to remove the restrictions that effectively prevent the functioning of civil society organisations seeking to promote and protect all rights granted under the Ethiopian Constitution.
I thank you for you attention and for anything you can do to help.
Cc: H.E. Muferiat Kamil, Minister of Women’s Affairs, P.O. Box 1293, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 416 6362