The national political parties have started negotiating today on the anti-terrorism proclamation.
Saying that some articles contradict with the constitution, violate human rights and shutter political space for peaceful struggle, the group of 11 parties proposed for the amendment of four, omission of six and introducing five new articles to the proclamation.
However, the ruling party EPRDF argued that the proclamation never contradicts with either the constitution or any of the international laws and conventions that Ethiopia has ratified so far.
The opposition parties proposed to amend the responsibility entrusted to police while believing that a possible terrorist act may occur.
In this case, the police are entrusted to gather information and evidence and arrest suspects without a court order. The parties argued for the need to limit this power, saying it leaves a space for police forces to exercise unlimited power.
EPRDF argued that this authority has entrusted on the police due to the nature of the issue, which needs urgency in preventing and controlling the damage that could be caused by terrorism.
Other opposition parties argued for the omission of an article that allows the gathering of information through intercepting or conducting surveillance on telephone calls and internet, stating that it violates individual rights.
The ruling party opposed the argument saying that individual rights should be respected except in compelling circumstances such as national security.
EPRDF mentioned article 26/3 of the constitution that clearly stated the possibility of limiting individual rights, in accordance with specific laws whose purposes shall be safeguarding national security.
After thorough discussion on the issue, the national political parties agreed to meet on 28 December 2017 to continue their dialogue.