ADDIS ABABA – Civil society organizations and charity organizations must play their own role in strengthening current multidimensional government reforms, although they face different challenges because of the good causes and proclamation of society, concerned members
Mesai Mitiku, Ethiopian Charities and Societies Forum Communication Consultant told The Ethiopian Herald that civil society organizations and charities have an unrestricted role to support government development programs, expand the political landscape and mobilize society. He added that civil society organizations play a role in avoiding violence and conflict.
Mesai stated that civil society organizations must play their own role in controlling conflicts and violence by organizing public forums, educating society and sensitizing the democratic culture. He said that the role of civil society organizations in Ethiopia is currently very limited after the adoption of charitable and social legislation, but that they have to practice with the available situation to solve the problems and broaden the reform.
Human Rights Council Acting Director Binyam Abate also told The Ethiopian Herald that the current activities of Ethiopian charities and associations are very limited, especially during the past ten years as a result of the proclamation.
Biniyam said that while faced with many bureaucratic and legal bottlenecks, they must exercise through the capacity and accessibility they have to mobilize people for the sustainable continuity of current reforms and achieve their goals.
According to the Mesai civil societies, they surpass during crises, which is why Ethiopian civil society organizations must actively cooperate in resolving the current problems, even with their challenges.
Communication Affaires Director of Ethiopian Charities and Societies Agency, Mesfin Tadesse, also argues that civil society organizations play a major role in creating an ethical society, in mobilizing society for positive change and for democratization and development.
He said that the activity of civil society organizations in Ethiopia is currently limited, mainly because of their own internal and external factors related to the proclamation. Although they have complaints with the proclamation, their activity is very limited in mobilizing, educating and becoming the voice of the people with the available environment.
Mesfin said that charities and societies should actively participate in supporting government reforms by organizing public forums and discussions on peace.
Binyam added that currently those engaged in human rights are setting up a consortium to actively exercise their role and that other societies should take similar measures to create positive influences.
Both Binyam and Mesai claim that few public societies take their responsibility, even with the restrictive law and other administrative bureaucracies. They call on the government to create a favorable situation for charities and societies to exercise their activities whenever and wherever.
Both Binyam and Mesai urged the government to change the proclamation and create a favorable environment for charity organizations and civil society organizations. Both argued that the proclamation affected these voluntary organizations and the most important factor for the current weakness of civil society organizations is the unfair and restrictive proclamation. They said that as a result, civil society organizations are currently working for their own survival rather than investing in the community.
Legal Research Drafting and Sensitization Director of Federal Attorney General Belayhun Yirga told the Ethiopian Herald that the proclamation is changing. He added that the Law and Justice Advisory Council was established under the office of the Prosecutor General and that the process of change is already under way.
Belayhun said the first discussion forums had already begun on the proclamation and anti-terrorism laws of charities and societies.