Ethiopia on Tuesday lifted a ban on foreign diplomats leaving the capital Addis Ababa, imposed as part of a countrywide state of emergency following unprecedented anti-government protests.
The ban on diplomatic travel was imposed under last month’s state of emergency following a wave of deadly anti-government demonstrations by activists in both the Oromia and Amhara regions.
A statement published on the state-controlled Fana Broadcasting Corporate website said the government “has lifted the directive which restricts diplomats from travelling beyond a 40 kilometres (25 mile) radius out of Addis Ababa without notification”.
Defence minister Siraj Fegessa was quoted as saying, the move followed “the relative peace and security” in the country since a state of emergency was declared on October 9 after nearly a year of sometimes violent anti-government protests.
He said the travel ban – imposed for the safety of diplomats – was being lifted because it was “unthinkable” that the security threat was so serious.
Other restrictions, including a dusk-to-dawn curfew in some places, and restrictions on access to social media, broadcast media, protests, gestures, freedom of movement, guns and the internet remain in place.
Human rights groups say hundreds of mostly Oromo and Amhara protesters have been killed by Ethiopian security forces in the last year as the government sought to end protests representing the biggest challenge to its authority since coming to power 25-years ago.