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UN rights chief worried about Ethiopia situation

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [JURIST news archive] has expressed concern at the human rights situation in Ethiopia [JURIST news archive] after making a brief first-hand assessment in a visit earlier this week and holding talks with government and civil society representatives on how to address human rights challenges in the country. Arbour said prison conditions for detainees - including opposition leaders detained without bail in the wake of protests against the country's May 2005 elections who are now accused of treason and genocide - were "rudimentary" and "harsh", and called the overall situation in the country "worrisome", telling AFP that "It is worrying that at best we are in [a] state of stagnation, especially regarding political and civil rights which are in decline after months and years of hope." Read a UNHCHR press release on Arbour's Ethiopia trip.

Treason charges stand [JURIST report] against 111 Ethiopian opposition leaders, aid workers, and journalists. Violent demonstrations following the May vote led to mass detentions, although over 8,200 protestors have so far been released. Opponents of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi have accused him of election fraud. BBC News has more.

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