A senior United Nations official has urged Ethiopia on Monday to stop continuous internet shutdowns without any legal basis. Ethiopia’s state-owned Ethio Telecom and only internet service provider, has cut internet access at least 9 times this year alone without explanation.
The U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of expression David Kaye told a news conference in Addis Ababa that he is concerned about the frequent internet shutdowns carried out by the government. He narrated his internet shutdown experience during his first mission to the country in the past week.
Kaye said officials were unable to give a legal basis for the action which he said some officials have continued to justify. Kaye also urged the authority to revise a draft law meant to curb hate speech to ensure it protects freedom of speech.
Cabinet approved the law last month to combat what it called fake news and hate speech ahead of elections scheduled for May next year. He asked authorities to reconsider a draft hate speech law that he said would worsen already high ethnic tensions and possibly fuel further violence.
Kenya: Government Extends Deadline For Issuance Of E-Passport
Kenya authorities have delayed the deadline by a year for all citizens to switch to e-passports. It is the second time the deadline has been extended.
Ministry of interior says the deadline has now been pushed back to march next year to enable nearly two million Kenyans – mostly in the diaspora – who are still holding the old document to replace it.
The government said it had set up passport centres in Dubai, Johannesburg, Berlin, Paris, London and Washington DC to make it easier for Kenyans living abroad to get the e-passports.
The old passport was initially scheduled to be phased out by September last year but was pushed back to March this year.
The government says e-passports are intended to minimize fraud, identity theft, forgery and passport skimming.
At Least 29 Injured In Bomb Attack At Pro-Abiy Rally In Ethiopia
At least 29 persons are reportedly injured in an attack at a political rally, organized by officials, in support of prime minister Abiy Ahmed in central Ethiopia on Sunday.
Prime minister Abiy Ahmed himself was not there. Police say six suspects have been arrested following the attack in Ambo town. State-run Ethiopian news agency quotes Oromia regional state police commissioner Ararsa Merdesa as saying it was a grenade attack.
Political tension is high as Ethiopia gears up for elections in august. Violence arising from ethnic differences is threatening to undermine reforms initiated by the prime minister.
W.H.O. Warns It Is Running Out Of Money To Tackle Ebola Epidemic In D.R.C.
The World Health Organization, W.H.O., says it is running out of funds to continue the fight against Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The U.N. health body is appealing for forty million dollars to save its efforts to end Ebola in the country.
W.H.O. says its Ebola operation is in dire straits in north Kivu and Ituri provinces – two cities that have been wracked with violence. The world body says it would run out of funds in a week and is urging donors to urgently come to its rescue.
Who says if it does not get the necessary funds to continue the Ebola fight, the declining number of cases in the country would pick up again.
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