Law Scholars Urge for Strict Implementation of the State of Emergency

Addis ababa, Law Scholars urged for the State of Emergency and its directives to be strictly implemented in a bid tackle the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Ethiopia.

The scholars told ENA that though the directives of the State of Emergency made in response to the threat posed by the COVID-19 is crucial, the government has failed to enforce any sort of discipline.

It is to be recalled that since reporting its first Covid-19 case on March 13, Ethiopia has closed land borders and schools, freed thousands of prisoners to ease overcrowding, sprayed main streets in the capital with disinfectant, and discouraged large gatherings.

Moreover, at the beginning of April Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency after recording the highest numbers of cases of the fatal COVID-19 pandemic in a single day.

Law Assistant Professor at College of Leadership and Governance in Civil Service University, Tesfay Abate, said the state of emergency is timely as it would help the government mobilize its full power and expedite to halt the spread of coronavirus.

He noted that the Ethiopian constitution has set declaring state of emergency when epidemic occurs as one of the conditions that the country permitted to declare a state of emergency.

Tesfay, however, insisted that declaring state of emergency alone is not enough to the fight against COVID-19 pandemic rather there should be several steps that the government needs to take without further delay.

This includes, he stated, cracking down on any irresponsible citizen or business persons, fines and other appropriate punishments need to impose.

“I was observing the activities of the people in some places and the people are in contravention of the directives instead of implementing the law strictly,” he said.

Tesfay urged the Emergency Inquiry Board, which is in charge of monitoring and controlling the implementation of the directives of the state of emergency, to ensure law enforcement.

A Law Professor at Civil Service University, Misganaw Kifelew, on his part said it’s common to see people irresponsibly ignoring the directives of the state of emergency.

The emergency declaration would be an appropriate step, as it would allow the government to quickly mobilize its full power and expedite response efforts in a move to control the spread of the virus, he noted.

However, he said as the implementation of emergency law invariably leads to restrictions on normal economic, civil or political activity and rights in order to address the pandemic, the government has to ensure human rights are respected.

The government needs to avoid the affinity of taking advantage of a state of emergency to introduce unwarranted restrictions on human rights or for other self-serving purposes that would be more difficult to pursue under normal circumstances, the scholars noted.

 

Source: Ethiopia News agency

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