We congratulate Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, on winning the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
This is an important signal to the world.
After taking office in 2018, he released thousands of political prisoners, unbanned opposition groups, made peace with Eritrea after almost 20 years of war and promised to reform repressive laws.
For decades, torture in Ethiopia has been endemic.
We have documented evidence of torture in Ethiopia for many years and has supported scores of Ethiopian therapy clients, especially of Oromo ethnicity and including many children.
In this context, Prime Minister Abiy’s 2018 public admission of state torture and promise that his administration would have zero tolerance for torture was most welcome. In the past year, there have been some arrests for crimes like torture but these have been limited.
The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize is an important acknowledgement of the steps taken towards reform by Prime Minister Abiy’s government. It is vital that the Ethiopian government continues to deliver on this reform by:
- actively investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of torture;
- aligning the country’s definition of torture in criminal law with international standards; and
- providing psychosocial and rehabilitation services to torture survivors.