from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – THE rising use of social media to fuel hate speech has raised fears of an outbreak of genocide in Ethiopia.
Social media platforms have emerged as platforms by individuals and groups to deepen political and ethnic divisions in a country that is already beset by bloodshed.
Ethnic clashes are largely blamed, including the recent killing of 140 people by militiamen in the western Benishangul-Gumuz region and 80 others killed in the October 2019 protests in the restive Oromia region.
Local organisations tracking hate speech in Ethiopia have documented individuals calling for genocide against other ethnic groups.
Such social media posts are blamed for the deadly violence in Oromia.
The creation of pages criticizing the popular Oromo singer and activist, Hachalu Hundessa, preceded his murder in June and also sparked protests and violence that claimed 239 lives in total.
As tensions mount, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P) has called on social media companies to implement policies to actively prevent the misuse of their platforms to spread hate speech and incite violence.
“The Ethiopian government must confront the underlying sources of conflict in the country and implement reforms to protect human rights and guarantee equal access to government services and resources,” GCR2P stated.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has called for impartial, prompt and effective investigations into the killings.
It demands that perpetrators are held accountable.”
More than 1,2 million Ethiopians are displaced because of violence.
– CAJ News