Kefyale Gebregiorgis of Virginia, a physician in private practice who remains a strong supporter of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democracy Party (EPRDF) and Berhane Mewa of Washington DC, a prominent businessman and opposition figure debate on the US State department's report on Human rights in Ethiopia.
The 2008 report on Ethiopia listed unlawful killings, torture, mistreatment of opposition supporters by security forces; arbitrary arrest and detention of suspected sympathizers or members of opposition or insurgent groups; police and judicial corruption; illegal searches; restrictions on freedom of assembly and the press; arrest, detention, and harassment of journalists.
Ethiopia's state minister for government communications, Bereket Simon, told reporters recently the U.S. report is "based on hearsay and is full of lies."
Berhane Mewa, former president of the Ethiopian and the Addis Ababa chambers of commerce, says that there are enough evidences to support the US state department report which charges the government of Ethiopia with wide spread human rights abuses. Berhane claims that the government's decision to reject the report is a 'calculated move' to get the Obama adminstration's attention. The Ethiopian government continues intimidating opposition groups, non governmental organizations and others ahead of the upcoming national election in 2010, he adds.
Dr Kefale Gebregiorgis argue about the veracity of the U.S. State Department's human rights report. He says the U.S. government doesn't have the resources to collect objective data of abuses in Ethiopia.
VOA horn of Africa service's Alula Kebede moderated the debate between Dr Kefale Gebregiorgis and Mr Berhane Mewa on his Friday weekly "Eset-ageba" (crossfire). (Click the links on the side to listen to these interviews in Amharic).