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These rights are entrenched in international law and frequently touted by the government as part of Ethiopia’s constitution.
The Ethiopian government has maintained strict control over Internet and mobile technologies so it can monitor their use and limit the type of information that is being communicated and accessed.ongoing but limited insurgency by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) in the Oromia region to justify widespread repression of the ethnic Oromo population.Associations with other banned groups, including Ginbot 7, are also used to justify repression.Unlike most other African countries, Ethiopia has a complete monopoly over its rapidly growing telecommunications sector through the state-owned operator, Ethio Telecom.This monopoly ensures that Ethiopia can effectively limit access to information and curtail freedoms of expression and association without any oversight since independent legislative or judicial mechanisms that would ensure that surveillance capabilities are not misused do not exist in Ethiopia.Information gleaned from telecom and Internet sources is regularly used against Ethiopians arrested for alleged anti-government activities.
During interrogations, police show suspects lists of phone calls and are questioned about the identity of callers, particularly foreign callers.
While this electronic “evidence” appears to be used mostly to compel suspects to confess or to provide information, some recorded emails and phone calls have been submitted as evidence in trials under the repressive Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.
The government has also used its telecom and Internet monopoly to curtail lawful opposition activities.
Phone networks have been shut down during peaceful protests.
Some high-profile Ethiopians in the diaspora have been targeted with highly advanced surveillance tools designed to covertly monitor online activity and steal passwords and files.
Instead, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of ethnically-based political parties in power for more than 20 years, continues to severely restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.