ETHIOPIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL (EHRCO)
P.O. BOX 2432, ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
TEL. 251-1-514539 OR 514489, FAX. 251-1- 514539
THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN ETHIOPIA
SEVENTH REPORT - August 26, 1994.
In Ethiopia today it is a moral imperative to think of peace, to work for peace and to act in peace. The complacency of those in power and the despondency of their rivals for power is nearing a level of brutal confrontation. The rigid, self-righteous and uncompromising position of those in power and their apparent determination to hold the monopoly of power by any means is matched by the thwarted peace efforts and frustrated ambitions of the opposition parties.
It is often heard from Government officials that all is well in Ethiopia and that there is, consequently no need for reconciliation and peace. (It is well to remember that this was the position of the previous regime until a few years before its collapse.) But the facts as they stand at present do not bear out such bold pronouncements. There is no doubt that some of the private newspapers blow rumors out of proportion and exaggerate conflicts. It is not possible, however, to discount them totally. Even if one discounts the prevailing view of armed conflicts in various parts of the country, the extremely tight security in Addis Ababa, especially when the high officials are traveling, is an obvious indication that all is not well. The recent abduction and eventual release of an expatriate employee of CARE by an armed group is another evidence for the growing concern for peace in Ethiopia. The war cries are in the air. It is essential to recognize that fact in order to combat it.
EHRCO feels the time is now to reverse the derailed democratic process and to put it back on course. The prevalent inclination of taking persons who have different views from those in power as well as their political opponents as enemies betrays a lack of understanding of political combat and a propensity to turn political combat into armed struggle. Such lack of confidence and of paranoia are obviously harmful to the effort for institutionalizing the democratic culture in the country. It is important, therefore, to make a determined effort to alter radically such attitudes if democracy and democratic culture are to take root and flourish in Ethiopia. It goes without saying that internecine blood- letting must be avoided and that all concerned should take the responsibility to extricate the nation from the senseless quagmire and vicious circle of dictatorial misrule, on one hand, and armed struggle, on the other, that has been the lot of the people during the past several decades. In order to do so, the government and opposition groups must be willing to come to terms with one another and should, through a series of negotiations, arrive at a consensus regarding the basic rules and conditions of the game. That is the only way for the establishment of peace and durable system of democratic governance, since sustainable peace and development can only be attained in a democratic atmosphere in which basic human rights are respected.
EHRCO stands opposed to any policy of hatred, especially that of ethnic and religious type. Hatred of any kind cannot be the foundation for any social good and for any social reconstruction. Hatred is a poison that consumes its own fortress before it reaches its target. It is an emotion that paralyses both the mind and spirit of human beings. Those who deny that hatred is becoming a dominant emotion in Ethiopian social life today are burying their head in the sand and waiting to be shocked to the ugly reality into which it is leading the society. The traditional Ethiopian sense of decency is being eroded fast by unhealthy ethnic feelings. It is apparent that ethnic alliance and rivalry have become facile substitutes for the deficiency of political ideas. EHRCO urges all leaders in all spheres of Ethiopian life to fight against hatred and bigotry. The media have a special responsibility in this regard.
EHRCO is committed to a democratic process, to the peace effort and to peaceful struggle. This means that EHRCO is opposed both to the determination of those in power to maintain their position by force and to the tendencies of the opposition to engage in armed struggle. Only the Ethiopian people, not guns, should be the source of political power. The Ethiopian people deserve peace to put their house in order and to overcome the scourge of periodic famines and the resulting dehumanization and continued dependence on international food assistance. Continuous appeal to international donors for relief assistance has characterized three successive and outwardly different authoritarian regimes.
Everyone has the right to life; obviously, human beings need food, clothing and shelter in order to live. Today there are over 6.7 million people in Ethiopia whose very right to life is seriously threatened and affected by the famine and may thus perish unless help in the form of food, medication, clothing and shelter is forthcoming without delay. First and foremost, it is the duty of a responsible government to make certain that the rights of its citizens are protected. In this regard the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGA) is expected to take all appropriate measures to save the lives of its citizens from the impending catastrophe which, if not attended to urgently and with total effectiveness, will result in the loss of a vast number of human lives.
EHRCO would like to make and appeal to the Ethiopian people, the international community, religious and humanitarian organizations, political groups and trade unions to actively seek ways and means and join hands with the Transitional Government to avert the threatening famine. While relief assistance must go on to save the lives of those in danger, it must also be recognized that fundamental solutions are required for resolving the nagging problem of food shortage in the country for almost three decades now.
It is the moral duty and responsibility of the TGE to facilitate efforts and to assist actively such groups in their humanitarian endeavors to reach the starving victims of the famine. Regulations and directives with regard to the distribution of aid to the starving victims of the famine must be designed with victims in mind, and most of all should be free from political considerations.
In a situation where the question of peace and stability has received primary and vital importance more than ever before, and the danger of famine looms over each citizen in every part of the country, the dismissal of employees from their jobs and the consequent exposure of their families to starvation in the name of restructuring the economy will surely and clearly aggravate their already delicate and fragile situation. Dismissal actions taken against the employees of the Ethiopian Air Lines, workers of Mito Agricultural Enterprise and various government ministries and organizations are some of the recent cases in point.
2. THE RULE OF LAW
The Ethiopian people have been struggling for a change from a rule of persons to a rule of law. It is unfortunate that even with the daily public rhetoric on the rule of law, the practice still remains frightening and shameful. The law must serve all impartially and must not be used only as a political instrument for those in power. We are forced to raise this issue of the rule of law because three years after its establishment, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council remains an unregistered Non-Governmental Organization. EHRCO is not alone in this institutionalized discrimination; there are many other NGOs that have been refused registration. There is no legal basis for such a denial of recognition. The Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Charter accepts without any limitation, and the Ethiopian Civil Code provide ample legal basis for the right to establish organizations and for acquiring legal recognition .
While EHRCO welcomes and appreciates the EPRDF's declared intentions to conduct the affairs of government in accordance with national and international laws, it is the practice that consistently seems to send the wrong signal. In practice the existing national and international instruments are not used however, without discrimination. Registration and providing legal recognition to organizations has become a political instrument to bring all in line with the policies of EPRDF. Those who have different views are denied their right to legal recognition. This is a very clear and obvious attempt to disadvantage those that are not perceived to be in line with the policies and practices of EPRDF. Again it is important to remember that this was the practice under the previous regime. Very often the unofficial excuse given is some motive, often of a political nature, that EPRDF ascribes to these organizations, including EHRCO.
All human rights issues that EHRCO raises have some political implications. Moreover, one of its fundamental objectives is to promote the democratic process and to monitor aberrations from the stated goal. In the formal sense, therefore, EHRCO deal with some political issues. it is, however, important to distinguish between dealing with political issues and being involved in political struggle which is a struggle for power. More than that EHRCO has never entered into substantive politics and compared political or economic programs of different parties and expressed any preference for any. That would be partisan politics. EHRCO deals only with the process and the procedures, that is, with the rules of the game that will transform the society into a civil society. In a nutshell, EHRCO is committed to the empowerment of the Ethiopian People , to free and open competition between all political parties, to free and fair elections, to a free, independent judicial system, including the law enforcement agencies such as the police, operating not
under a party but under the law, to free and unhindered expression of ideas in speech or through writing and to a public media that is independent of any political party and ready and willing to serve all parties and organizations with fairness and equality. These are all political issues with which EHRCO deals, but without taking sides.
Nevertheless, EHRCO is outside political combat. It has no political view other than advocating the democratic process as briefly described above. It has no Marxist view, nor a Capitalist view. It has no monarchical view, nor a republican view. EHRCO does not have any ethnic or religious view other than insisting that all must be treated equally. Moreover, EHRCO's membership is international and, therefore, cannot engage in the struggle for power.
The rule of law serves to regulate the conduct of all, ordinary citizens and public officials as well as institutions and organizations. The rule of law is also the foundation for legitimate expectations and for relying on one another in view of the law. When public officials, out of their paranoia, ascribe motives and deny a legal right, the whole foundation of the rule of law crumbles and it is difficult to rely on the law and to expect anything. Public officials have no right to ascribe any motive to any organization, other than what is stated in the statutes of that organization. They are, however, free to act in accordance with the law if and when that organization goes beyond its stated objectives. But to preempt the legal right of anyone or any organization on the basis of some assumed motive is both illegal and wrong. That issue should be left for the courts to decide, since it is not an issue of fact but an issue of law.
There is another point that needs clarification. Individual members of EHRCO, wherever they are, are free to engage in substantive politics and even engage in political combat if they so desire. That is their right. But no member of EHRCO must advocate armed struggle or join an organization that advocates armed struggle. In fact members of EHRCO may be members of different and competing political parties. The individual political convictions and actions of the member must be distinguished from the Council's collective convictions and actions. It is this simple point that escapes many public officials and some Western Embassies who have fallen prey to the propaganda barrage of EPRDF. Ato Meles, occupying the Chair in the Council of Representatives, often advocates EPRDF's positions. If one understands and accepts such irregular and wrong action, it is difficult to see the problem of distinguishing between the views of individual EHRCO members at different form from that of EHRCO. The members of EHRCO do not lose their political and other rights automatically as they join it. Nor is it desirable that they do so. No member of EHRCO however, may express any partisan inclinations in the name of EHRCO. Moreover, it is important to bear in mind that no member of the Executive Committee belongs to any political organization. EHRCO is totally independent from any influence of political parties or their political and economic programs.
The mere fact that EHRCO's reports often deal with EPRDF should not be misconstrued as a bias against EPRDF . This is simply because that group is now in power. What EHRCO calls violations of human rights are those committed by government agencies and security forces. Under similar circumstances EHRCO will certainly report in exactly the same way if another group comes to power. That is a promise.
EHRCO has also been accused of being an ethnic organization by those in power. Nothing could be further from the truth. EHRCO's membership application forms do not include any question on ethnic identity. The members of EHRCO not only come from the length and breadth of the country, they are also non-Ethiopians. It is a human organization, not an ethnic one. The only persons that are excluded from membership are those who belong to organizations that have armed wings. EHRCO does not only not believe in violence, it condemns violence as a means of both maintaining political power by force and as a means of acquiring political power by force. That is the truth.
Another accusation against EHRCO is that its membership is made up of WPE (the Derg's Workers Party of Ethiopia) members. EHRCO's accusers know that there is not a single WPE member in EHRCO. We may very soon consider the question of accepting former WPE members. For the moment and until some strictly legal issues are resolved and because WPE was a party that had a military wing, EHRCO does not accept former WPE members. That is the truth.
So far the tenacious propaganda against EHRCO has been an almost total failure. Actions speak louder than words. But the continued denial of EHRCO's legal right to registration as an NGO has reached a point where recourse to the court may be necessary.
In this connection one final point that should be mentioned is that systematic attempts are also being made to victimize members of EHRCO in very different ways. We are following developments very carefully without being paranoid. Moreover, it is now over one year since the Chairman of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council was asked to post bail of birr 20,000. So far he has not been charged for any offense and continues on bail. This is against the law.
3. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
3.1. In its Sixth Report EHRCO had indicated the real threat for the freedom of the press, the harassment and detention of journalists. This systematic attempt to stifle the freedom of the press manifests itself in two ways; first, the harassment and detention of journalists, editors and publishers; and secondly, the effective prevention of the distribution of the newspapers and magazines.
The following Table may provide some basic facts on the magnitude and intensity of harassment of journalists.
Journalists under detention, without charge 2
Journalists sentenced to 6 to 24 months in prison 7
Journalists fined from Birr 500 to 20,000 13
Journalists released on bail 21
Journalists whose cases on appeal at Supreme Court 5
Journalists on suspended jail sentence of 12 to 18 months 6
Journalists acquitted by court 9
Journalists still on litigation 10
The total fine amounts to Birr 120,500.
As a result of the financial burden incurred from the harassment of journalists and newspaper vendors and of the heavy fines they paid many newspapers and magazines have suspended their operations. As of the first week of August, 1994 fifty-four monthlies and twenty-three weeklies had stopped their operations.
The strict control of the distribution of the private papers and magazines has effectively blocked them out of the regions outside Addis Ababa. The attempt to isolate Addis Ababa, or rather to insulate the regions from its influence is a pattern that one observes in the distribution of newspapers, in the problems of teachers and the Ethiopian Teachers Association, the political parties and ethnic organizations.
3.2 It is a sad fact today that most of the prominent and popular singers of Ethiopia are not in the country. The practice of banning, or as commonly described, of detaining what officials considered offensive songs continued through the Derg period and is still the practice today. In Ethiopia, as elsewhere, songs may be expressions of popular feelings. Those who hold the monopoly of the media, especially television and radio, make a great effort to exclude songs that do not serve their propaganda.
In addition there are plays that have not been allowed to be performed in government owned theaters. This, too, is not different from the Derg period when it was the official policy that art ought to be the instrument of ideology.
There is no better evidence for the stifling of free expression of ideas than what is happening to the creative arts in Ethiopia today. Not only are the creative arts denied access to public facilities, but these same public facilities function as private enterprises of the party in power.
4. OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
The human rights conditions in Ethiopia since the Sixth Report do not indicate favorable and positive improvements in the areas of the rule of law, democratic process and respect for human rights. The Seventh Report covers complaints received by EHRCO from 10 December 1993 to 7 June 1994. Numerous additional complaints have since been received, but these have not been included in the present report due to the fact that investigations into the cases have not yet been finalized.
Furthermore, EHRCO would like to state that the names of the victims of extrajudicial killings as well as of those who have disappeared were submitted to the Ministry of Interior and the Attorney General's office of the central government. The latter, in its letter of 3 may 1994, has responded by stating that it has not come across such cases, while no response has so far been received from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
4.1 EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS
The human rights report of the US Department of State for the year 1993 has the following: " There were no reports of officially sanctioned political or other extrajudicial killings by TGE security forces or by opposition during 1993." It is difficult to imagine that the Department of state of The United States Government lacks the necessary expertise to grasp the accepted definition of extrajudicial killing or execution. It may be a case, as the Ethiopian proverb has it, of one who is feigning to sleep cannot be awakened.
What does there "were no reports" mean? From whom did the US State Department expect such reports, from the police or the militia ? The Ethiopian Human Rights Council has reported the names of human beings who were executed outside the law by security forces together with the places and the dates. The State Department, through its Embassy in Addis Ababa, could have attempted to verify EHRCO's reports of extrajudicial killings. Even if government officials denied or condemned such extrajudicial killings privately, it still does not change the fact that there were extrajudicial killings.
A Law Dictionary defines extrajudicial as " that which is done outside of a court's jurisdiction; not founded upon or dependent upon the authority of a court." The UN special Rapporteur on summary or arbitrary executions gives the following definitions:
A. Summary execution can be defined as the deprivation of life after some sort of legal proceedings which falls short of international minimum procedural or substantive standards.
B. Arbitrary execution is the deprivation of life as a result of the killings of persons carried out by the order of a government or with its complicity or tolerance or acquiescence without any judicial or legal process.
C. Extra legal execution refers to killings committed outside judicial or legal process, and at the same time, illegal under relevant national and international laws. Accordingly, in certain circumstances, arbitrary executions as defined above can be extra legal executions.
What is "officially sanctioned extrajudicial killing" ? If it means summary executions as defined above, this did not happen. If officially sanctioned means that the Transitional government is, like its predecessor, brutal frankly, that is not true, either. If it means that the Transitional Government officially disassociated itself from extrajudicial killings by taking legal actions against all members of security forces who were responsible for violating the right to life; that, too, did not happen so far. EHRCO believes that the State Department does not have a different standard for Ethiopian life nor a different standard of the right to life. The so-called human rights report of the US Department of State on Ethiopia, therefore, is a gross misrepresentation of the facts that violates the right of the American people to correct information. Such obvious attempts to cover-up gross human rights violations will encourage more violations, and that is a grave responsibility for the US State Department.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Council follows the generally accepted definition of extrajudicial killing in the cases it reports.
The following persons were killed, allegedly by members of EPRDF forces.
No. Name of Deceased Date Killed Place Killed
4.1.01 Jeldessa Golisa 27/4/93 YabelloW.AdelchechoQ.**8P/A
4.1.02 Ghababo Rari > > > >
4.1.03 Bule Halake > > > > > >
4.1.04 Adefris Yadmity 09/11/93 Jihur - Korekor Q.
4.1.05 Alemayehu Tekle 15/9 93 A/A W. 11 Q. 16
4.1.06 Zelealem Aynadis 03/10/93 Harer W. 2 Q. 14
4.1.07 Teferra Qagnew 16/10/93 Shewa Robit 02 Q.
4.1.08 Fantu Jarra 25/10/93 Welayita Soddo- Q. 05
4.1.09 Qittata Qoricha 07/11/93 Woliso - Dilala Ketema
4.1.10 Hunde Bedada > > > > > > > >
4.1.11 Hasen Kelil 13/11/93 Jimma W. 3 Q. 01
4.1.12 Belayneh Taddese 21/12/93 Guraghe Zone-Ado Tadele P/A
4.1.13 Birhanu G/Mariam 04/1/94 Attaye 01 Q.
4.1.14 Qitaw W/Tsadiq 08/2/94 Efratana Jile - Shewa Robit
4.1.15 Yonas Yirga 12/2/94 Dese 1st Police Station
4.1.16 Mamo Ashine 17/2/94 Mafud
4.1.17 Zenabu Lechemo 10/3/94 Hosaena - Police Station
4.1.18 Ahmed Omera 18/4/94 Mafud - Kure Beret P/A
4.1.19 Siraj Mohammed(Shiek)a > > > > > > > >
4.1.20 Mohammed Siraja 18/4/94 > > > > > >
4.1.21 Yitaghesu Wubisheta 19/4/94 Qewet - Simet Qebele P/A
4.1.22 HailuYirdawa > > > > > > > >
4.1.23 Tesfaye melakea 03/5/94 Qewet - Guwacha
4.1.24 Ashennafi Tilaye 05/05/94 Qellem - Qaqe Ketema
4.1.25 Zennebe Ayelea 12/5/94 Mezezo - Mar - Marefia
4.1.26 Mammuye H/Mesqela 13/5/94 Mafud - Meqagno
4.1.27 Zebene Yitna(LT.) 16/5/94 Menz - Molale Town
4.1.28 Mindaye H/Sillasea 23/5/94 Dire Dawa Woreda 1 Q02
4.1.29 Samuel Asfaw*** -
4.1.30 Tammire Kebbede 27/5/94 Menz - Molale Town
4.1.31 Meseret Astatq(cap.)e 03/5/94 Gonder -W. 2Q. 09/136
4.1.32 Ayelech Cherinnet(w/t) 06/6/94 A.A.- W.15. Q. 33/520
4.1.33 Ashenanfi Beqele(LT.)a 07/6/94 D/Birhan -Chole Peasant Association.
Note: It may be important to note that nearly one-half of those killed are from northern Shewa: Yifat and Menz in particular. Those names marked with a were killed allegedly by EPRDF forces because they were believed to be members or supporters of AAPO (the All Amhara People's Organization).
No.4.1.28. Ato Mindaye H/Sillase was Deputy Chairman of Dire Dawa AAPO branch. The whereabouts of the Chairman, Ato Melaku Yirdaw since he was taken by security forces on September 8, 1992 is still not known. He is listed under, forced disappearance,
No 4.3.06 Captain Mesret Astatque was a member of EDU (Ethiopian Democratic Union.)
a. Persons indicated under nos.4.1.01. - 4.1.04 were killed after being taken out of prisons.
b. Persons indicated under nos. 4.1.15 and 4.1.17 died in prisons due to torture inflicted upon them.
c. The person indicated under no. 4.1.28 was killed by security forces after having been taken out of his house.
***Ato Samuel Asfaw, who lived in exile in the United States for many years and returned only about two years before his death, was apprehended by security forces on 7 may 1994 at about 7:45 p.m. as he was walking to his house (Wereda 20 Qebele 40 House No. 621). According to eye witness accounts Ato Samuel was beaten and was taken away a vehicle with plate no 2 - 09151. Two out of the four persons who apprehended him were in police uniforms. On 29 May 1994 at about 9:00 p.m. a person from Qebele 40 told the owners of the house in which Ato Samuel lived that Ato Samuel had passed away and that his corpse can be found in Paulos Hospital and that this information be passed to his relatives so as to enable them take his corpse. As he did not have any known relatives in the qebele his corpse was handed over to the municipality, which carried out the burial.
xNo. 4.1.32 is a woman
4.2. COMPLAINT SUBMITTED BY I.F.L.O
The Islamic Front for the Liberation of Oromo (IFLO) in its letter dated 19/2/94 has complained that the E.P.R.D.F forces have killed 35 civilians from 9/1/94 to 29/1/94. EHRCO has submitted the list of names of the alleged victims of murder to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Office of the Attorney General.
4.3. AAPO's (ALL AMHARA PEOPLE'S ORGANIZATION) HARASSMENT
A) As indicated under 4.1. several officials, members and sympathizers of AAPO have been extrajudicially executed.
B) Professor Asrat was sentenced to two years of imprisonment and isn ow in jail. With him five others have received jail sentences in connection with AAPO.
C) After the verdict was handed down the office of AAPO and the residence of Professor Asrat were searched. Had this happened before the verdict it would have raised less suspicion than it has done now. Obviously, the harassment and intimidation of members of opposition political parties and the free press is still continuing. It is important to note, however, that while theparty in power can have members of the opposition on verbalthreats of conflict, the extrajudicial killings committed by its own security forces is considered still outside the law.
4.4. INVOLUNTARY DISAPPEARANCES
In its previous six reports, EHRCO has registered the names of 74 persons under involuntary disappearances. Out ofthis total forty persons have been released from detention,for ten others their places of detention have been revealed totheir families. The remaining individuals still continue underinvoluntary disappearance.
The names of the individuals whose whereabouts is still unknown are the following:
No Name Date Place
4.4.01 Teacher Dereje Qeneni 19/02/92 Ghimbi from his home
4.4.02 Lt. Mulugheta Birhanu 12/04/92 A.A - W.23 Q.16/100
4.4.03 Col. Befeqadu Disasa 21/04/92 > > 10 > > 02/275
4.4.04 Wz. Sara Mekonnin 19/06/92 > 1 > > 08
4.4.05 Ato Retta Mosissa 19/07/92 > > > > 5 > > 5
4.4.06 Ato Melaku Yirdaw 08/09/92 Dire Dawa
4.4.07 Lt. Yibeltal Atnafu 03/01/93 A.Abeba
4.4.08 Maj. K/Mariam Bekure 30/03/93 > W. 20 Q.51
4.4.09 Maj. Bisrat Filfilu 31/03/93 > > > > 28
4.4.10 Ato Taddese W/Aregay 07/02/93 Merhabete - Laybet
4.4.11 Col. Mekonnin W/Hawariyat27/04/93 Nazret - W. 3 Q. 13
4.4.12 Ato Efrem fantaye 29/04/93 A.A.
4.4.13 Ato Waquma Seboqa 06/05/93 > > - W. 5
4.4.14 Co.Lt Ghirma Asfaw 16/09/93 > > 4
4.4.15 Teacher Ghetinnet Asnaq 18/09/93 > > > > 16
4.4.16 Ashennafi Menghistu 19/09/93 > > > > 14
4.4.17 Corp. Enanu Koru 31/10/93 > > > > 24 Q.16
4.4.18 Pvt. Abebe Ghirma 1/10/93 > > > > > >
Furthermore, EHRCO has received new complaints that the whereabouts of the following persons, who were apprehended by security forces, are not known.
No. Name Date Place
4.4.19 Maj. Worqu Gudaye 04/09/92 A/A Wereda 20 Q.42
4.4.20 Maj. Hailu Fufa > > > > > >
4.4.21 Ato Abbebe Aynekullu 03/12/93 > > AroundAmanuel church
4.4.22 Ato Abayneh Shiferaw 16/04/94 > > Woreda 10 Qebele 04
4.4.23 Ato Ayalew Abate 22/04/94 18 06
4.4.24 Ghetachew Werqineh 29/04/94 13 05
4.4.25 Ghetachew Abebe 30/04/94 17 20
4.4.26 Birhanu Semu 24/05/94 2 17
4.4.27 Dereje Deme 24/05/94 19 56
4.4.28 Aklilu Ayele 25/05/94 15 26
4.4.29 Mitiku Wedajo 30/05/94 8 06
4.4.30 Adane Argaw 01/06/94 14 07
4.5. DEFIANCE OF COURT ORDERS
There is no real judicial process where the courts serveonly the interests of those in power and are otherwise ignored. Disregarding or ignoringcourt orders is tantamount to a declaration of the negation of the rule oflaw. In the following cases, although the courts have passeddecisions for the release of the persons listed, the executivebranch has repeatedly defied the orders of the courts bypresenting all kinds of excuses. If the persons are to becharged for other fresh offenses then charges must be broughtagainst them in accordance with the criminal procedure code. Out of some eleven such cases, acquitted by the courtsbut still detained, three have been released, six convicted and the following two remain in jail.
4.5.01 Col. Mekuria Aberra - Holeta Prison - under detention
4.5.02 Ato Aberra Yemane Ab* - A.A - > >
* Ato Aberra Yemane Ab resides with his family in Washington, D.C. and came to Addis Abeba from the United States for the Conference of Peace and Reconciliation held in December of 1993. He was one of several detained at the Airport. In spite of court order to release him he still remains in jail.
4.6. ILLEGAL DETENTION
Principle 32 of the United Nations Body of Principles forthe Protection of All Persons Under Any Form of Detention orImprisonment (UN General Assembly Resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988, adopted without a vote) states the following:
A detained person or his counsel shall be entitled at any time to take proceedings according to domestic law before a judicial or other authority to challenge the lawfulness of his detention in order to obtain his release without delay, if it is unlawful.This Principle cannot be applied in Ethiopia today and it is one of the problems of the rule of law. It is now over a year since habeas corpus has been suspended and thousands of prisoners languish in jail in various parts of the country.Some of them have been in jail for over three years now. Prosecution of these prisoners has been postponed severaltimes. The last three public announcement have been forFebruary 1994, then for June of 1994, and the most recentannouncement is for September, 1994. Meanwhile the detention of new ones without any dueprocess continues. EHRCO has received complaints that a numberof detainees who are incarcerated in various prisons,detention centres and police stations are languishing withoutbeing formally charged. The Present list does not includethose in the previous reports.
EHRCO has the names of these prisoners.
No. Name of Prison No of Prisoners
4.6.01 Gonder Prison 62
4.6.02 Qalliti 52
4.6.03 Hurso Military Camp 50
4.6.04 Goro wereda Police Station (Guraghe Zone) 32
4.6.05 Debre Zeit Police Station 19
4.6.06 Central Investigation Organ18
4.6.07 Welayita Soddo Prison 16
4.6.08 A/A - Wereda 18 (Police Station 15
4.6.09 Aseko, Arba Gugu Police Staion 11
4.6.10 A/A Prison 11
4.6.11 Asella Prison 10
4.6.12 A/A Wereda 17 Police Station 9
4.6.13 Dire Dawa Prison 8
4.6.14 A/A - 2nd Police Station 7
4.6.15 Sheno Police Station 7
4.6.16 A/A - Wereda 19 Police Station 6
4.6.17 Shewa Robit Prison 6
4.6.18 Air Force Headquarters - (D/Zeit) 6
4.6.19 Neghele - Walelign Army Division Camp.3
4.6.20 Sidama Zone Prison 3
4.6.21 Harer Police H.Q. 3
4.6.22 Shire "Bado Sidist" Prison 2
4.6.23 A/A 1st Police Station 2
4.6.24 Aqaqi Police Station 1
4.6.25 Navy Headquarters 1
4.6.26 Ghideo Police Dept. 1
4.6.27 Bahir Dar Prison 1
4.6.28 Emergency Security Force 1
4.6.29 Awasa Wereda Police Station 1
4.6.30 Maychew Prison 1
4.6.31 Holeta Prison 1
4.6.32 Masha Police Station (Shekicho) 1
4.7. PERSONS DISMISSED FROM THEIR JOBS
The following persons have filed complaints that they were dismissed from their jobs without due process and in contravention of the laws governing such dismissals.
No. Name Place of Work
4.7.01 Ato Ayalew Halefom Mekele - ERA
4.7.02 Cpl. Afewrk Demisse Arsi - Prison
4.7.03 Ato Demisse Kidane Region 14 Prosecutor'sOffice
4.7.04 Sirak Teshome 3
4.7.05 Dr. Demeqw Lemma Coffee plantationDevelopment Corp.
4.7.06 G/Mariam Shekur Tea Development & Marketing Enterprise
4.7.07 Cpl. Moghes Qitaw Police Garage
4.7.08 Pvt. Awghechew Shemelis
4.7.09 15 workers Southern Wollo RegionalAdministration
4.7.10 22 workers Tigray Courts
4.7.11 37 workers Ethiopian AirLines
4.7.12 251 workers Mito Agricultural Enterprise
4.8. DENIAL OF PENSION RIGHTS
The following persons have filed complaints because they havebeen deprived of their rights to pension. Accordingto Ethiopian Civil Service Law, all civil servants have the right to pension to which they have contributed from their salaries.
No. Name Place of Work
4.8.01 Capt. Ghetachew Argaw Ground Force
4.8.02 Sgt. Yalew Simegn
4.8.03 Capt. Mulu Sewinnet Police Force
4.8.04 Lt. Tadesse Tareqegn
4.8.05 Ato Seleshi Mulatu Pension withdrawn
4.9. PRISONERS OF WAR
The following persons were taken captives by E.P.L.F and are still languishing in prison cells. EHRCO has several times in the past raised the issue of prisoners of war and it urges again the international community, especially those who are actively engaged in such humanitarian roles, to take up the issue with the authorities concerned and provide some relief to the families of these victims. EHRCO also appeals to the Transitional Government toplay a more active role in this matter as a gesture of humanitarian concern for its citizens. The following is a newlist of names of prisoners of war.
No. Name Date Captured Place Captured
4.9.01 Capt. Aimro Gettu May, 1991 Asmara
4.9.02 Mandefro Filate Asseb
4.9.03 Melaku Seyum Asmara
4.9.04 Lt. Shishigu Ghissilla > >
4.9.05 Pvt. Aberra Mammo
4.9.06 Lt. Kebede Hagos
4.9.07 P/M Melaku Jenbere
4.9.08 Atnafu Channe
4.9.09 Maj. Ghirma Dilnessahu
4.9.10 Capt. Taddese Bejigha
The Ethiopian Human Rights Council would like to bring to the attention of the authorities of the Transitional Government that the reported violations are violations of rights as provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and embodied in the Charter, and other relevant laws ofthe country. Serious steps must, therefore, be taken to study and thoroughly investigate illegal practices of security forces whose purpose ought to be the protection of human rights. EHRCO hopes that after proper investigations necessarysteps will be taken to institute legal actions against violators of human rights. EHRCO urges the Transitional Government to make sure that the laws of the country are implemented without discriminationand are not used as the political instrument of one party. EHRCO expects the registration of many NGO's, including EHRCO,to be resolved in accordance with the law. As of the last week of August, 1994 the TGE does not seem to have the intention or desire to create a favourable condition for the development and maturity of the privatepress.
EHRCO would like to appeal to the TransitionalGovernment to change its unfavourable policy of suppressingthe private press. In this connection, EHRCO would like tonote that the plight of the performing artists, especiallywith the use of the public media and of the public theatres,is a matter of a fundamental right of expression. In a situation of widespread famine, which according tomany observers is feared will exact a heavy toll of humanlives, and the existence of thousands of internally displacedpersons, the Transitional Government is expected to give this national problem top priority and divert a sizable part of thefinancial resources of the country towards tackling theimpending catastrophe. It is evident that respect for human rights is the basisfor democracy, peace and development. EHRCO appeals to theauthorities of the TGE to rectify current practices ofviolations of human rights prevalent in the country and toreaffirm their commitments to international standards of humanrights. It is the duty of all political parties and ethnic orother organizations to give a chance to the democratic processby recognizing each other's rights to have access to people intheir respective regions and to struggle for these rights in apeaceful and legal manner. The TGE and other political organizations should learn totolerate and respect each other's political views andopinions, develop a mechanism for avoiding unnecessaryconfrontations and create a forum for continuous dialogueswhich will have a positive impact in creating a democraticculture. A political organization which shies away fromdebates cannot be said to have confidence in its program andthe people it claims to represent. The Ethiopian people havesuffered the evil consequnces of wars and not, therefore, want to go through another one. EHRCO has repeatedly andconsistently advocated peaceful political struggles and hasalways urged all political parties to follow such policies.
EHRCO appeals to all human rights organizations as wellas governments and international agencies who believe in thecause of human rights, the democratic process and the rule oflaw to write to the following officials of the TransitionalGovernment and to influence them to take corrective actions.
9.1. The Transitional Government of Ethiopia, Council of Representatives, P.O.Box 80001, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.
9.2. H.E. Ato Meles Zenawi, President of The Transitional Government of Ethiopia P.O. Box 1031, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.
9.3. H.E. Ato Tamirat Laine, Prime Minister, Transitional Government of Ethiopia, P.O. Box 1031, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.
9.4. Ministry of Internal Affairs Transitional Government of Ethiopia, P.O. Box 5721, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.
9.5. The Ministry of Justice Transitional Government of Ethiopia, P.O. Box 1379, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.
9.6. The Attorney General's Office Transitional Government of Ethiopia, P.O. Box 1379, Addis Abeba,
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