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CREW is a non-profit, non-government, peace and human rights organization with 501(c)(3) status dedicated to promoting the rights of Ethiopian women worldwide through education and advocacy. Since its establishment on March 25, 2012, CREW has addressed a number of critical issues that pertain to the rights of Ethiopian women worldwide. Soon after it was created, the organization focused on the plight of Ethiopian women domestic workers in the Middle Eastern countries. Accordingly, it has launched a campaign to create awareness about the slavery-like situations in which the Ethiopian domestic workers live and to challenge the international community to address their situations. Other critical issues related to the rights of Ethiopian women worldwide are also being addressed. Read more

Obama Arrives in Ethiopia, a Favored Ally In Spite of Human Rights Abuses

President Barack Obama reviews a marching band during a welcome ceremony at the National Palace in Addis Ababa on July 27, 2015. Aryn Baker, Time

On the morning of July 27, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn welcomed Obama into Addis Ababa’s National Palace with the pomp and glory of an ancient empire that, unlike much of Africa, was not colonized by a European power until 1936. A large brass band, decked out in the red and green of the Ethiopian flag, played The Star-Spangled Banner and the Ethiopian national anthem as Obama and Desalegn stood at attention. Stone lions stood atop the palace portico; real ones roamed the palace’s back garden, reminders of Ethiopia’s former emperor, Haile Selassie, who took the lion as his symbol. (Obama later visited the palace lions, and joked, in a press conference, that he was “considering getting some for the White House.”) As cannons fired off a 21-gun salute, Obama inspected troops from the Ethiopian national guard in a bit of state visit formality that appeared to bore him. Then he and Desalegn entered the palace for several hours of closed-door discussions on regional security, economic development and human rights.

For many Westerners, Ethiopia still conjures up images of starvation and desperate poverty, a product of a horrific famine during the 1980s. But today Ethiopia is the second most populous state in Africa, with some 90 million people, and it has become a regional military and economic powerhouse, averaging ten percent growth over the past decade.

But that success on the African stage has come at a cost to civil liberties and democratic ideals. Described by the Committee to Protect Journalists as the second largest African jailer of journalists, after Eritrea, the government has detained at least nine reporters and bloggers critical of the ruling party; five were released in the weeks leading up to Obama’s visit. Prime Minister Desalegn justified the detentions in a press conference after the talks by insinuating that the journalists were unethical and aligned with terrorist groups. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have lambasted the Ethiopian government for its abysmal record on human rights, noting that members of the political opposition are regularly accused and detained on charges of terrorism. Obama, in the same press conference, said that U.S. intelligence had seen no indication that the opposition groups of most concern to the government posed a terrorist threat. “If they tip into activities that are violent and are undermining a constitutional government, then we have a concern,” he said. A vocal opposition, he added, should be seen not as a threat, but as an essential part of any functioning democracy. Read more

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Summary of the 4th International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora: The Role of Civil Society Organization in the 2015 Ethiopian Elections

Th11129923_672352939578019_8306709086801255327_ne Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW) held its fourth international conference of Ethiopian women in the diaspora on March 7, 2015 at Sheraton hotel in Silver Spring Maryland. The theme of the conference was “The Role of Civil Society Organizations in the 2015 Ethiopian Elections.”

The main objective of this conference was to examine the impacts of the 2009 Societies and Charities Law on the activities of nongovernmental organizations, including women’s organizations, which work in promoting the rights of citizens. Because of the 2009 CSOs Law, CSOs are not likely to have any impact in the upcoming 2015 elections. The conference was also to create enabling environment for networking among interested groups who are concerned about Society and Charities Law and its impact on human rights organization. Read more

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Reyot Alemu released from prison

Reyot Alemu released from prison

Addis Ababa: July 9, 2015 (FBC) – Journalist Reyot Alemu has been freed yesterday after serving four years of a five year prison sentence. Reyot won an appeal at the Supreme Court against an initial 14 year sentence for terrorism charges at the 3rd Bench of the Federal High Court, which lowered her sentence to five years, only convicting her of professionally supporting a terrorist organization.

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Ethiopia releases detained bloggers and journalists: Five bloggers and journalists jailed for over a year released in Addis Ababa weeks ahead of Obama’s visit to country

 "Photo courtesy of the Zone 9 blog"

AljaazeraFive imprisoned Ethiopian bloggers and journalists have been released in Addis Ababa, after government prosecutors dropped the charges against them, Al Jazeera has learned.

The bloggers and journalists, who have been in prison for over a year, were released on Wednesday, but at least four others remain in jail.

An Ethiopian news website reported that charges were dropped against bloggers Zelalem Kibret and Mahlet Fantahun, members of the blog Zone 9, as well as journalists Tesfalem Wadyes, Asmamaw Hailegiorgis and Edom Kassaye.

The release comes just a few weeks before US President Barack Obama's visit to the country.

The bloggers were detained in the Ethiopian capital in April last year, after they announced on Facebook that they would resume writing for Zone 9.

The three journalists, not connected to the blog, were also arrested, and later charged with "terrorism".

Another blogger, Soleyana S. Gebremichale, was charged in absentia. She is currently in the United States.

"Zone 9 existed because we had a hope that we could contribute for the public discourse," Soleyana told the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) last April.

The trial had previously been adjourned at least 26 times, according to a site that tracks the progress of the cases.

The government had denied that the bloggers were imprisoned for their writing, and said they were on trial for attempting to sabotage the state, the CPJ report said.

Ethiopia's Communication Affairs Minister Redwan Hussein also criticised  the Zone 9 bloggers, saying that "most of them are not journalists but activists ... if someone engaged in criminal activities, he will face prosecution regardless of his profession."

Ethiopia, ranked fourth on CPJ's list of the 10 Most Censored Countries in the world.

CPJ also cited a report from the University of Toronto as saying, that Ethiopia have been using "malware and surveillance tools to try to monitor Ethiopian journalists around the world."

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