Young people in Lalibela, Ethiopia. Editorial credit: Iulian Ursachi /



Civic Mobilizations Case Study: Ethiopia

The appointment of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned in the face of mass protests, set off a transitional period in Ethiopia. Abiy pledged to reform Ethiopia’s authoritarian state and has held elections and implemented some liberalization policies. However, Ethiopia remains beset by civil war and intercommunal violence, abuses by security forces and violations of due process are still common, and many restrictive laws remain in force. Since late 2020 and until November 2022, fighting between the Federal Government and the Tigray Defense Force (TDF) has led to the displacement of millions and credible allegations of atrocity crimes, and violence has spilled over into neighboring regions.

Freedom on the Net 2023

Freedom on the Net — Ethiopia Country Report

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom on the Net, Freedom House's comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe. 

Our Work in Ethiopia

Freedom House has worked on Ethiopia since 2008, assisting human rights organizations in the development of coordinated advocacy and public outreach campaigns, and supporting the next generation of human rights defenders and democratic governance champions. Current programming seeks to protect civic space through mentorship initiatives, including a human rights internship programs and civil society capacity building. Freedom House also supports civil society to advance the recent political opening in Ethiopia by helping civil society organizations to develop strategies for the upcoming elections and outreach to citizens.

To learn more about Freedom House programming in the region, visit our Africa Programs page. 

Freedom in the World 2023

Freedom in the World — Ethiopia Country Report

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2023, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide.

Freedom Under Threat Africa Anti-NGO Ethiopia Photo

Special Report: Reform in Ethiopia - Turning Promise into Progress

Ethiopia has seen dramatic political changes this year, but significant challenges remain. The United States should seize this opportunity to support a genuine democratic transition in a pivotal country.