Ethiopia. In January, over 900,000 refugees in Ethiopia
were given the right to leave the camps and settle down and
apply for jobs anywhere in the country. They had escaped
war, drought and persecution in neighboring countries such
as South Sudan and Somalia. The new law was hailed by aid
workers, who said that Ethiopia was a role model for the
world at a time when, for example, some Western countries
were pursuing xenophobic policies.
In January, the army launched an offensive in western
Ethiopia against members of the Oromo Liberation Front
(OLF). A group within the guerrillas had taken up arms since
it was claimed that the government broke the peace agreement
of 2018. The government accused the rebels of armed attacks,
rapes, bank robberies and roadblocks in the Oromia region.
Several hundred OLF members were reported to have been
In eastern Ethiopia there were ethnic strife between
Afars and Somalis. The violence caused problems for the
transport between Djibouti and Addis Ababa, which was hit by
In February, the Ethiopian army received more than 1,740
former rebel soldiers from the Ogaden National Liberation
Front (ONLF). It was a result of ONLF's peace settlement
with the government in 2018. Those who want to remain in the
army must undergo rehabilitation training, and those who
want to return to civilian life must do so.
CountryAAH, all 157 people on board were killed when a plane from
Ethiopian Airlines crashed in March after taking off from
Addis Ababa. On board, many UN employees were on their way
to an environmental conference in Nairobi. Those killed were
from some 30 countries, including Sweden.
Ethiopia hosted peace talks between the Central African
government and militia groups from the country. In March,
the parties signed a peace agreement in Addis Ababa
following conflicts with thousands of dead and over a
million in flight.
In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index,
Ethiopia had improved most of all countries in the world.
Ethiopia was previously near the bottom of the list, but had
climbed a total of 40 rankings to place 110 due to the
change of government in 2018. Imprisoned journalists had
been released, hundreds of banned websites and other media
had been allowed, and press legislation was under review.
For the first time in over a decade, no journalist was in
prison in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia's Human Rights Commission received a new head,
human rights activist and former political prisoner Daniel
Bekele during the year.
But the country was haunted by ethnic strife. Many people
were killed in northwestern Ethiopia, where gumuz and amhara
collapsed in violence. Housing was burned down, military was
sent to the area but the violence continued. The government
had difficulty controlling the state of Amhara, and in June
a coup attempt was made against the local government when,
among other things, the governor was killed. In Addis Ababa,
the country's army chief was murdered. The coup failed and
security forces arrested more than 250 people, many from
Amharas national movement.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed traveled to Sudan's capital
Khartoum to mediate between the ruling military and the
protesting opposition. According to doctors, more than 100
peaceful protesters had been killed in military violence. In
July, the military junta and the protest movement signed an
agreement on the transition to civilian rule. In July, at
least 25 people in the Sida region of southern Ethiopia were
killed in violence between security forces and activists,
who demanded autonomy for their area.
Ethiopia broke records in tree planting in July, when 350
million trees were reported to have been planted in one day.
The goal is a billion new trees to meet climate change and
give the country more forest raw material. More than a third
of the country was covered by forests a century ago, now
that area is only 4%.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace
Prize in 2019 for his work to make peace with Eritrea and
for the democratic reforms he has implemented in Ethiopia.
In October, however, violent protests erupted against the
Prime Minister of Addis Ababa and in parts of the Oromia
region. By then, an opposition activist had accused security
forces of attacking his home. The protests turned into
violence between ethnic and religious groups, security
forces opened fire, but the violence continued. At least 86
people were killed.