Ethiopian ministers propose ending state of emergency now

January 26, 2022 GMT

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia’s Council of Ministers on Wednesday proposed ending the country’s six-month state of emergency now, citing recent developments in the war that has raged in the Tigray and neighboring regions for more than a year.

The proposal must be approved by lawmakers. It comes after “changes in the security situation,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

The state of emergency was imposed in early November as Tigray forces fighting Ethiopian and allied forces moved closer to the capital, Addis Ababa. They withdrew back into the northern Tigray region late last month under pressure from a drone-supported military offensive.

Witnesses, lawyers and human rights groups have said thousands of ethnic Tigrayans were detained under the state of emergency’s sweeping powers. An unknown number have been released after the shift in the war late last month.

The government-created Ethiopian Human Rights Commission in a statement urged lawmakers to quickly approve the proposal to end the state of emergency, saying the proposal calls for the release of those still detained in connection with it.

Ethiopia’s government has sought to restrict reporting on the conflict and detained some journalists under the state of emergency, including a video freelancer accredited to the AP, Amir Aman Kiyaro.