Ethiopia, which receives Canadian aid, accused of arbitrary arrests, silencing opposition
The Ethiopian government was the target of harsh words from protesters in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
The activists accuse government forces of limiting human rights and cracking down on dissent. They are demanding Canada institute economic sanctions on the East African nation, similar to those placed on South Africa during apartheid.
Protester Shegitu Aredo said Ethiopia takes the millions of dollars it receives in aid from the United States and Canada and uses it “as a weapon against its own people.”
“In Ethiopia, a lot of people are being marginalized and murdered for standing up for their human rights,” she said.
Fellow protester Fetno Kemo said the world needs to see and understand the abuses happening in his home country.
“We are here to show solidarity with our people … and be a voice for our people who are dying,” said Kemo.
According to Human Rights Watch, government forces have killed at least 100 anti-government protestors in recent weeks and hundreds more since November.
During the country’s election in 2015, Ethiopia’s ruling coalition party won all the parliament seats, effectively cutting out critical voices, said the organization.
Human Rights Watch also alleges Ethiopia has conducted arbitrary arrests and passed laws to limit non-governmental activity.
Canada remains one of the largest humanitarian aid contributors to Ethiopia.
Between 2014 and 2015 Canada sent $108 million to the African nation, according to Global Affairs Canada.