HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 cc105-6W
John Barrett

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations he has made to the Government of Ethiopia about human rights in the country. [153344]

Hilary Benn

During my recent visit to Ethiopia I raised the issue of human rights with Prime Minister Meles and Members of his Government about how respect for human rightsߞas enshrined in Ethiopia's own Constitutionߞcan be improved. The Prime Minister told me of his commitment to improving human rights as enshrined in the constitution and it will be important for the people to see this happen. He nevertheless accepted that there are problems with human rights in Ethiopia. He gave an undertaking to build the capacity of the judiciary and security sectors to help in the securing and protection of constitutional rights for all. Our office in Ethiopia also frequently discusses such issues with the Government.

Representations concerning human rights form part of a wider ongoing dialogue with the Government of Ethiopia. This dialogue centres on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)ߞsigned between DFID and the Government of Ethiopia in 2003ߞthat sets out undertakings by each side. The improvement of human rights is one such undertaking given by the Government of Ethiopia.

We have also ensured that indicators and targets relating to human rights will be linked to our direct budget support in Ethiopia. This will allow us to track the direction of change and inform decisions on future support.

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