Ethiopia rebuffs Amnesty’s call for Bush arrest as illegitimate
Bush arrived in Addis Ababa Sunday as part of his week-long visit to Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia to raise awareness about cervical and breast cancer and HIV/AIDS as the rights group’s call for his arrest are rejected by the three hosts.
“Amnesty has neither the jurisdiction nor the mandate to issue arrest warrants,” Kemal, Ethiopian government spokesperson, said, adding “and from our own bitter experience with Amnesty, its agenda is not justified. No one takes it seriously.”
Ethiopia is one of the major US allies in Africa and their coalition has seen a significant boost throughout Bush’s two terms in the Whitehouse.
The Horn of African state is among a handful of nations ranked as the top military and humanitarian aid recipients from Washington.
Amnesty International and other rights groups have frequently accused Ethiopia of using generous aid from US and other western donors to stifle political dissent and called for suspension of the aids.
Ethiopian government has persistently denied the allegations and called such rights groups claims as instigated by those who want Ethiopia to remain in poverty.
Earlier, Zambia dismissed the rights group’s call for Bush’s arrest on torture charges, while Bush, his wife and daughters ended their visit to Zambia Saturday.
Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister Chishimba Kambwili said his country would have considered the request only if it had come from the International Criminal Court.
Early last week, Amnesty had asked the three countries to arrest Bush, saying he already ‘has admitted to authorizing waterboarding,’ interrogation techniques that simulates drowning and viewed as torture by many.
Bush’s US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has provided AIDS treatment to millions on the continent, hardest hit by the disease, since 2003.
His Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon project launched Friday in Zambia aims at expanding the availability of breast care education and cervical cancer screening and treatment.
In Ethiopia, he is expected to visit HIV treatment facilities and health extension workers highly credited for Ethiopia’s success in improving health services and participate at the 16th international conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (ICASA), kicking off in Addis Ababa Sunday.