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


Ethiopia is undergoing a transition set off by the 2018 appointment of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned the face of mass protests at which demonstrators demanded greater political rights. Abiy has pledged to reform Ethiopia’s authoritarian state, ruled by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) since 1991, and is in the process of rewriting the country’s repressive electoral, terrorism, media, and other laws. However, Ethiopia remains beset by political factionalism and intercommunal violence, abuses by security forces and violations of due process are still common, and many restrictive laws remain in force. A major reorganization of the ruling party, growing conflict between ethnic communities, and new claims for self-determination have created a fluid political situation as the country prepares for elections in 2020.

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 Sub-Saharan Africa Programs page. 

People gather in Myanmar to protest the February 1, 2021 military coup. (Image credit: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Freedom in the World — Ethiopia Country Report

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2022, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide.

In the high-stakes battle between states and technology companies, the rights of internet users have become the main casualties. Illustration by Mitch Blunt

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. 

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.