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Ethiopa’s parliament signs 5-month lock down

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The Ethiopian Parliament has today approved the five-month state of emergency declared to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Council of Ministers led by PM Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday declared the measure to control the spread of the virus and reduce its impact on the country.

Ethiopia’s current tallies stand at 56 confirmed cases, out of which four have recovered and two have died. Two of the patients have been repatriated weeks back.

Abiebie Adanech, Attorney general disclosed yesterday that the COVID-19 State of Emergency (SOE) will be supervised by the Council of Ministers & Ministerial sub committees – the later to be established on an as and when basis.

Previous State of Emergencies have been overseen by Command Posts (CP), which have often been accused of gross abuse of rights including targeted arrests and use of lethal force against persons believed to flout the orders.

Ethiopia’s Chief Justice on Thursday disclosed that federal courts will listen to domestic violence cases that arise from the stay at home order occasioned by a state of emergency declaration on Wednesday April 8.

CJ Meaza Ashenafi disclosed the measure on Twitter: “Considering the possibility of an increase in domestic violence during the #StayAtHome period, a decision is made for federal courts to entertain charges of domestic violence as an urgent type of case.”

On March 18, the federal courts announced partial closure as means of containing spread of the coronavirus. The courts were not to accept new files except cases requiring urgent attention. On April 1, the closure was extended by another 23 days.

Government imposed a five-month state of emergency across the territory, the sternest measure yet for Africa’s second most populous nation. All land borders had been closed and most regional states had strict bans on public transport.

Ethiopia’s COVID-19 tallies as of April 9 midday local time stood at 55 cases with four recoveries and two deaths. The figure is relatively low for a region where neighbours had recorded 100+ cases.

The incidence of increasing gender-based violence amid lockdowns across the world was raised by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a recent address calling for more to be done to stem the threat.

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