‘Egregious Incident’: When Last Did You See Unhappy Adesina?


When was the last time you saw a sad image of the African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Akinwumi Adesina? You can’t recall, right?

He is currently unhappy, and rightly so, with the government of Ethiopia’s handling of a human rights violation.

With the humanitarian challenges that Ethiopia is facing, I think the last thing the country wants to hear is the withdrawal of aid workers or development partners from its territory.

Unfortunately, that is what is currently playing out in Ethiopia, as the AfDB has decided to withdraw all its international staff from the country after Ethiopian security forces unlawfully arrested, physically assaulted, and detained two staff members of the bank in October 2023 without charge or any official explanation.

They were treated as though they had no rights whatsoever. Sad.

In fact, the AfDB boss had to contact the highest levels of authority in the Horn of Africa country before the two staff members were released.

In November, the bank requested a full and transparent investigation into the incident, with a high-level delegation sent to resolve the issue. But Ethiopia’s silence on this matter has been loud.

‘It also does not provide full confidence that all the African Development Bank’s employees feel safe and secure to carry out their duties and move around the country without fear of harassment’, Adesina said in a statement.

‘The African Development Bank remains particularly concerned that the Ethiopian government has, to date, not shared with the bank any report or details of investigations into the incident’.

He added, ‘While the bank appreciates the excellent relations it has with Ethiopia until this egregious incident, its continued operations and future presence in the country could be negatively affected if the incident is not fully resolved’.

Ethiopia’s handling of this matter contradicts the country’s human rights obligations as they relate to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

But why do some countries commit to upholding human rights but fail to stand by their commitment?

Anyway, Ethiopia still has an opportunity to uphold human rights by releasing the outcomes of the investigation into the incident and ensuring that violators in the country are brought to justice.

We await the country’s response.

Photo source: Reuters/Emmanuel Herman


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