THE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE
FOR ETHIOPIAN PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE (ISCEPC)
North American office: P. O. Box 53022, Medford MA 02153. U. S. A
UNRAVELING HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN ETHIOPIA: WAYS AND MEANS OF
ALLEVIATING THE PROBLEM
Human rights week observance and electronic mail conference
Dates: 3-8 March, 1997
Dedication: To past and present Ethiopian men
and women who gave up their freedom, family, friends and career
to struggle for a democratic Ethiopia.
Human Rights Week and Electronic Mail
Members and Friends of ISCEPC
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The human rights week observance and the electronic mail
conference has been successfully conducted on EEDN and Ethiolist
networks, between 3 and 8 March, 1997. Thank you very much for
participating in this important conference.
On balance the papers and biographical sketches presented have
been informative, educational and thought provoking. A total of
seventeen pieces have been submitted. Fourteen of them in a paper
form while three were information notes provided by individuals
and institutions. On behalf of myself and ISCEPC I thank Dr.
Assefa Negash (Amesterdam), Professor Getachew Haile (Minnesota),
Woizero Berhane Yeras Work (Geneva), Professor Theodor Vestal
(Oklahoma), Professor Adeno Addis (California/Australia), Ato
Girma Bekele (California), Professor Awetu Simesso (Stanford),
Ato Wondimu Mekonnen (Scotland), Woizero Sara Amsalu
(Philadelphia), Dr. Araya Amsalu (Ohio), Ato Amha Asfaw
(Missouri) and Woizero Alem-Tsehai Gebru for addressing this
conference, submitting their pieces or providing information.
During the week, various on and off-line messages of support,
suggestions and commentaries have been received from Switzerland,
Canada, Germany, Michigan, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, Japan,
Australia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. This shows that the
conference was indeed global. Thanks.
The ISCEPC together with other sister institutions, and above all
you, will continue its efforts to get all prisoners of conscience
released. There is no other choice, except intensifying the
As you know this is a monumental task. It needs the full
co-operation of not only Ethiopians but also the international
community. In this line, several ideas are being considered. I
have summarized them as follows.
(a) In due time, ISCEPC publishes the proceedings of this
conference, with some editing and insertions, in a booklet form.
The booklet should be circulated as widely as possible.
(b) Request Ethiopian professionals to assist in the preparation
of a video about human rights abuses in Ethiopia.
(c) Request the Ethiopian media (Newspapers, radios and
magazines) and international media to give a greater attention to
the plights of Ethiopian prisoners of conscience in their
programmes and publications.
Please note that biographical sketches are now available for the
following prisoners of conscience:
- Dr. Taye Wolde Semayat, Assistant Professor of Political
Sciences Addis Ababa University and President of the Ethiopian
- Professor Alemayehu Teferra, President of Addis Ababa
- Professor Asrat Wodleyes, Dean of Faculty of Medicine Addis
Ababa University and President of All Amhara People Organization;
- Ato Abera Yemaneab, Secretary General of the All Ethiopian
Socialist Movement and Deputy Chairman of the Coalition of
Ethiopian Democratic Forces;
- Ato Tsegaye Gebre Medhin, Senior Member of the Ethiopian People
- Fitawrari Mekonnen Dori, Deputy Minister of Information and
Deputy Chairman of the Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic
ISCEPC will endeavour to get the biographical sketches of other
prisoners of conscience. Any information in this regard is
(d) Request Ethiopian professionals in computing and information
technology to create, update (the existing ones) and maintain a
permanent presence on the Web, that detail human rights abuses in
(e) Call on the leaders and the clergy of the Ethiopian Churches
world-wide to mention the names of prisoners of conscience during
the forthcoming EASTER prayers. Urge them to communicate with the
Vatican so that the Pope will include human right issues in his
Easter Message, if possible in the context of Ethiopia.
(f) Call upon the organizers of the Ethiopian Soccer Tournament
in North America to observe a minute of silence before the start
of the July 1997 games.
(g) Urge Ethiopians to establish contacts with human right
monitoring groups and NGOs so that the services of professional
psychologists would be cheaply available, for the healing of the
psychological wounds of the victims of violence.
(h) Establish a fund and/or search for scholarships so that the
children of the prisoners continue with their education.
Finally, I would like to thank members of the editorial board of
of this conference. Special thanks goes to Dr. Samuel Kinde and
Dr. Tsehai Berhane Selassie for bringing this conference to a