Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia Dies, Transition Should Support Rights Reform
(Nairobi) – Ethiopia’s new leadership should commit to fundamental human rights reforms in the wake of the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Meles’s death was announced by the Ethiopian state media on August 21, 2012.
Meles had been in power since 1991, when the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) lead a coalition of armed opposition groups in overturning the rule of Mengistu Haile Mariam.
Meles leaves a mixed legacy on human rights. Under his leadership the country has experienced significant, albeit uneven, economic development and progress. At the same time – particularly since the controversial 2005 elections – Ethiopia has seen a sharp deterioration in civil and political rights, with mounting restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly.