Ethiopia welcomes EITI’s acceptance of its membership bid: Redwan lashes out at HRW for opposing approval

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Addis Ababa, 21 March 2014 (WIC) –Ethiopia welcomes approval given to its bid for membership with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Later on Wednesday the Oslo-based EITI approved the applications of Ethiopia, the United States, and Papua New Guinea for joining in the leading global initiative to combat corruption in the energy and mining industries.

The Minister in Charge of Government Communications Affairs Office Redwan Hussein told Anadolu on Thursday that his government has been striving proactively to achieve waste-free, transparent and corruption free industrial system in line with its pro-poor development approach.

“Ethiopia is happy to join in international efforts to fight corruption in the energy and mining industries,” Redwan said in a telephone interview with Anadolu.

Ethiopia has been bidding for membership with EITI since 2010 while Human Rights Watch was lobbying to prevent EITI from approving the country’s bid on alleged human rights abuses. HRW was quick also to decry the Initiative’s approval of Ethiopia’s membership bid.

“Human Rights Watch’s opposition does not emanate from a true desire to stand watch for human rights, theirs is only ideological,” Redwan said.

“There have always been interest groups who have been trying to slander Ethiopia in connection with its human rights record and Human Rights Watch clearly has been under the influence of these groups,” the country’s top communication official commented.

“Their campaign is to falsify what has been going on in Ethiopia on the ground which is development and democratic system building,” Redwan said.

Ethiopia would be striving to build a sound industrial system that was fair and equitable, according to the minister. “Industries will catalyze Ethiopia’s endeavors towards fast-track growth.”

The New York-based Human Rights Watch, which had asked the EITI board to reject Ethiopia’s membership bid, reportedly said the EITI’s reputation had been damaged.

“Human Rights Watch people do not even know where in the globe Ethiopia is,” Redwan quipped.

Home to Sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest population, Ethiopia is among the continent’s fastest growing economies and its mining industry is increasingly adding value to the economy.

But the opposition and rights campaigners accuse the government of stifling dissent and maltreatment of political detainees, allegations the government strongly denies. (Turkish News Agency)