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Vox Sentences: Obama’s going to Ethiopia. Human rights groups aren’t happy

  • Vox Sentences
  • President Obama is traveling to Africa this week and has included a stop in Ethiopia, prompting criticism from human rights advocates concerned about the country’s treatment of journalists.
  • Six privately owned media outlets have shut down due to government harassment since 2014, at least 22 journalists and bloggers have faced criminal charges, and almost 30 have fled the country.
  • The crackdown has been justified through bogus accusations that the journalists are assisting terrorists.
  • That’s how Ethiopian ambassador to the US Girma Biru defended the persecution of journalists: “If a journalist, or a teacher, or a professor, or a farmer is supporting these types of groups to instigate violence, then he should be charged.”
  • Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Margon tells the Washington Post: “The decision to go to Ethiopia greatly undermines the stated goals and commitments of this administration when it comes to support for human rights, the rule of law and good governance in Africa and beyond.”
  • Ethiopia gets about $800 million a year in US military assistance for helping fight the Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab.
  • Adekeye Adebajo critiques Obama’s Africa record: “He hosted the first US-Africa summit in Washington last August, but this was effectively a talking shop involving empty pledges. His Power Africa initiative promised electricity to 20 million Africans, but remains largely unfunded.”

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