THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN ETHIOPIA
THIRD REPORT
July 16, 1992

1. Introduction

It should be recalled that EHRCO in its Second Report had indicated what appeared to be hopeful signs for the protection of human rights in Ethiopia. After more than four months, however, hope has turned into wishful thinking.
Compliance to legal procedures requires a firm commitment to due process. In order to do this, there are no sufficient number of trained, qualified, and experienced police force who could undertake criminal investigation and eventually bring alleged offenders to trial. EPRDF has almost totally disbanded the Ethiopian police force without calculating the social risks involved.
As a result, many persons are being detained without any criminal investigation nor any appropriate legal measures in order to file criminal proceedings within a short period of time. The Attorney General's office which is empowered to regulate and control the prosecution of criminals has not been operating effectively for some time. The criminal courts which are duly authorised to see criminal cases have not been fully operational for over a year. The promise made by the Transitional Government that former government, party and military officials and others detained will be tried by an independent court in the presence of international observers has not as yet materialised. Consequently, many persons still remain in prisons without the benefit of due process. It is unlawful to detain indefinitely and punish people unless proved guilty by a competent court of law.

The Third Report of EHRCO, which is detailed below, consists of complaints submitted to it from March to June of 1992. EHRCO's report is mainly based on eye witness accounts and reports of victims themselves or their relatives, friends and neighbours. Only one case of the many extra-judicial executions has been reported in the public press. EHRCO's staff and members do their best to verify all the reports that EHRCO receives. Names, dates and places are cited. For some cases of torture there are photographs of the victims, although our present facilities do not allow us to print them. EHRCO has a list of the authentic names of all prisoners that are included in its report. It should also be made clear that not all persons who have been victims of human rights abuses are willing to testify for fear of more and worse suffering.

Whenever EHRCO's report includes unverified reports it is clearly indicated as allegation. Such cases are mostly from reports copied or submitted to EHRCO by various political or ethnic organisations. Since these allegations are often not taken up by the media, EHRCO provides these as information that may be challenged.

EHRCO believes that it is the responsibility of the Transitional Government to maintain law and order. Any violation of human rights by any type of organisation does not exonerate the Transitional Government from responsibility. The Transitional Government has the duty to bring all persons abusing the human rights of persons to justice. It is sad to state that so far the Transitional Government has not taken any legal step to correct current human rights abuses. But the human rights abuses of the Derg Period are its preoccupation. It is EHRCO's stand that yesterday's abuses of human rights cannot be fundamentally corrected as long as human rights continue to be abused today. This does not, however, mean that those who committed gross human rights abuses yesterday should not be brought to justice. So far, however, it is only the media that plays the role of both the attorney general and the courts.

2. Cases Of Serious Human Rights Violations

The most serious violations of human rights in Ethiopia continue to be those affecting human lives.
2.1. Extra-judicial Executions: The following persons are known to have been killed by members of EPRDF forces without any legal basis or due process of law.

Name of Deceased Place of Execution Date of Execution
Ashenafi Alemu   Addis Ababa K.21, Q.23   2/19/92
Dawit Agonafir   Dire Dawa K.1, Q.04   2/15/92
Stu. Mekonnin Tesfaye   Addis Ababa K.4, Q.27   1/30/92
Stu. Fitsum Tekle   Addis Ababa K.4, Q.27   1/30/92
Chuchu Menghistu   Addis Ababa K.16, Q.22   2/20/92
Tesfaye G.Mesqel**   Addis Ababa K.3, Q.47   4/26/92
Maj. Alemayehu Haile**   Addis Ababa K.21 Q.32   1/27/92
Mulugheta Guta   Addis Ababa K.2, Q.09   3/19/92
Mekonnin Ghelaye   Addis Ababa K.11, Q.09   5/10/92
Atnatiyos Erghete   Addis Ababa K.9, Q.09   4/25/92
Unidentified Man   Addis Ababa K.17, Q.23   5/8/92
Unidentified Woman   Popular Verdict, Ghinchi Town   3/16/92
Neghese Molla   Semen Gonder, Armachiho   2/22/92

** killed near their homes; Stu. =student

2.2. Ato Tesfa Mikael Jiorjio, a noted political figure in Eritrea, was shot and killed by unknown gunmen a couple of months ago. We have not yet verified the date.
2.3. On February 9, 1992, at 2.30 A.M., Weizero Hareghewein Sileshi was seriously shot twice on her left arm by a gun fired by EPRDF forces. This happened at her home in Addis Ababa K. 19, Qebele 55.
So far the Ethiopian public has never been given any assurances that such flagrant violation of the right to life and the rule of law will be respected. Nor has the Ethiopian public seen any such offenders tried and convicted.

3. Loss of Life, Destruction of Property and Displacement of Persons Due to Rivalry Between Ethnic Organisations

As reported by EHRCO previously, the suffering of the people resulting from the rivalry and armed conflict generated by ethnic organisations have not stopped. Consequently, loss of human lives, serious suffering and much loss of property are still continuing as could be substantiated from the various complaints brought to the attention of EHRCO.
3.1. Complaint lodged by Christian Welfare Association of Ticho, Sude, Ameya and Seru Weredas of Arsi: The Association has complained of the following violations of human rights in Sude wereda:
1. That the Christian population in these areas could not lead a peaceful life.
2. That in Kulu, Derreba and Diksis towns the population has been prevented from going to the market.
3. That bandits have taken away the flour mill of the people and that Christians are prevented from using the flour mill of the Muslims.
4. That 13 Christians have been massacred and that many are detained and their property looted.
5. Serious problems have been reported from Arsi Administrative Region, Arba Gugu, Merti Jegu, Gololcha Weredas. On January 30, 1992 at Merti Wereda at a place called Mofer Ghibi, the following persons have been found killed by unknown persons: Indeshaw Ghirefe, Missa Tadu, Ketema Jemaneh, Mulugheta Hailu and Taddese Ghebre.
6. On April 3, 1992, two young boys aged eighteen and twelve were killed while going to water their cattle at a river in Arba Gugu Awraja, Merti Wereda, Wereba Peasant Association.
7. In addition on April 7, 1992 within the same Arba Gugu Awraja two other persons were killed.

3.2. In Southern Shewa Administrative Region, Haiqotch Awraja, Arsi Neghelle Wereda non Oromo peoples living in the areas were attacked by Arsi Oromos. The following disturbing results have allegedly occurred since December 19, 1991 as reported by representatives of the Amhara and the kembata living in that area.
I. 60 deaths,
II. 60 other persons wounded,
III.6205 heads of cattle looted,
IV.64 houses with corrugated iron roof destroyed,
V. Over 7246 houses set on fire,
VI.1200 barns set on fire,
VII. 14,520 quintals of cereals looted,
VIII.crops on farms with a total area of 247 hectares set on fire,
IX.12,766 corrugated iron sheets looted,
X. 48 rifles expropriated illegally and forcefully,
XI.Church property estimated at about Br. 431,120 looted.
The total loss of houses and other properties is estimated to be about Br. 931,782.

3.3. In Metekel Awraja, Diba Tena, Mandura Gungua Weredas the representatives of the displaced Amharic speaking Moslems have reported the following actions allegedly committed by the Beni Shangul:
I.Many persons were burnt alive,
II.many men were castrated,
III.about 270 persons were shot and killed,
IV.6833 houses were burnt,
V.6833 houses of residents in nine peasant associations were burnt down and the people were forcefully displaced,
VI.crops on farms and grains in stores as well as livestock were either looted or burnt,
VII.185 mosques and schools were burnt.

As a consequence of all this some 60,000 persons are displaced and are now under temporary open camps at Menta Wuha and Chagne towns without any shelter, clothing and medical facilities.

3.4. Atrocities Committed At Bidden: The Atrocities committed against peaceful residents in the town of Bidden is a serious violation of human rights. It is the responsibility of any government to maintain law and order and to protect the lives of its citizens. However, it is frightening to note that there was no established government force to maintain law and order in the area. It is further strange that these atrocities have not been revealed to the public for a long time. Even now, it is essential that the government should give special attention to the atrocities committed and bring to justice the persons responsible for this horrible criminal act. It is also the right of the Ethiopian public to know accurately what is presently happening in Arab Gugu, Arsi.

3.5. The Complaint lodged by the All Amhara People's Organisation - Zone 3 Council: The Organisation has lodged a complaint to the Transitional Government with regard to violence allegedly inflicted on the Amhara by EPRDF's OPDO (Oromo People's Democratic Organisation) in Arba Gugu Awraja, Jeju, Aseko and Guna weredas. It is stated that the loss of many lives and of property has occurred in these areas since June of 1991. It is alleged that armed Oromo groups along with OPDO forces, a part of EPRDF, have fired against residents of Wemeta Lensho Peasant Association, threatened the residents to surrender their weapons, forced the people to attend a meeting and looted the property of the church and the residents of the area. It is also alleged that they had beaten and tortured many people.
Initially, the OPDO forcefully disarmed the residents in Arba Gugu Awraja, Aseko Wereda Qebele Peasant Associations. Eventually they returned the weapons to the Oromo people and not to the Amharas. In Guna wereda, in the localities of Dima Achale, Dima Bedaso, Dima Arera, it is reported that Amharic speaking persons have been detained without cause.
The Organisation has requested that a committee of non-partisan groups be dispatched to the area, investigate the situation, have detained persons released, cause looted properties to be returned to the owners and bring those responsible to trial.

3.6. Inhuman and Illegal Acts Committed Against the Guraghe Ethnic Group in Kefa and Illubabor Administrative Regions: A fact finding mission sent by the Guraghe People's Democratic Front (GPDF) has ascertained that about 3000 persons of Guraghe ethnic background had been displaced and that, in addition, Children are dying and that nursing mothers are facing hardships due to lack of medical care, shortage of food and shelter. The displacement of the Guraghe population is mostly in the areas of Limu and Diddessa Awrajas. Although the displacement of other ethnic groups is comparatively small, non-Oromo ethnic people have also been displaced. This illegal act is continuing and expanding to adjacent areas causing the loss of life and destruction of property of the people. Those responsible have not been brought to trial, because, it is alleged, the instigators of such unlawful actions are cadres of political organisations. The fact finding team of GPDF alleges that the government has not fulfilled its duty of maintaining peace and security in the area.

4. Victims Of Torture, Cruel And Inhuman Punishment
The legal procedures to be complied with respect to interrogation of persons suspected on reasonable grounds of having committed a crime, the taking of testimony after appropriate investigation of the commission of a crime, is clearly provided for in Ethiopian laws. No one should be compelled, on grounds of mere suspicion, to be detained and then forced to confess under torture or other cruel and inhuman punishment. Such measures are in violation of the standards provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The number of victims of this kind of violations of human rights brought to the attention of EHRCO are eleven. Only four of these have reported directly to EHRCO. For the others EHRCO has eye witness accounts of inmates. Two of the victims were afraid to testify to EHRCO. At present only one of the eleven remains in prison. In order to safeguard the safety of those victims, their names are not disclosed. However, the number of victims and the prisons in which they were tortured are as follows:

1   Seven victims in Addis Ababa   K. 21, Q. 20 prison.  
2   Two victims in Addis Ababa   Abuare Ammunition Depot prison.  
3   One victim in Addis Ababa   Nefas Silk Awraja Ethiopian Freight Transport.  
4   One victim in Addis Ababa   K. 21, Q. 25  


5. Cases of "Disappearances"

A directive issued by the Transitional Government was announced through the media on March 25, 1992. It stated that no search would be undertaken in private premises at night; and that appropriate assistance would be accorded to persons whose homes were violated due to illegal search after the stated hours. It has now been reported to EHRCO that searches and arrests are undertaken in violation of the directive announced by the government as well as the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The following persons whose names and addresses, including the house numbers of most of them, are indicated are some of the persons arrested and taken from their homes by EPRDF and whose present whereabouts are unknown.

No Name Place Arrested Date of Arrest
1.   Lt. Col. Mulugetta Tamirat*   A.A. K.15 Q.15 House No. 767   2/28/92  
2.   Master Tech. Solomon W/Aghegnehu*   Debre Zeyit Fasil Hotel   3/18/92  
3.   Ato Baraki   Nazret   5/28/91  
4.   Lt. Mulugheta Birhanu   A.A., K. 23, Q. 16,100   4/12/92  
5.   Ato Ahmed Haji   A.A., K. 9 Q. 11   5/5/92  
6.   Col. Daniel Tesemma   A.A., K. 18, Q. 15   5/23/92  
7.   Col. Taddese Asfaw   A.A., K. 24, Q.12,780   5/23/92  
8.   Pvt. Tasew Seifu   A.A., K. 24, Q. 12,780   5/23/92  
9.   Col. Belatchew Ghirefe   A.A., K. 22, Q.61,835   5/23/92  
10   Ato Ketema Desta   A.A., K. 3, Q. 44,286   5/23/92  
11.   Col. Befeqadu Disasa   A.A., K. 10, Q. 02,275   4/21/92  
12.   Lt. Asmamaw Tekle Worq   A.A., K. 17, Q.19,654   2/28 /92  

* Those who were detained before March 25, 1992.

5.1. Disappearances After Being Taken From Their Homes
5.2. On 6/19/92 Weizero Sara Mekonnin, a former member of the Eritrean Liberean Front (ELF), was abducted by unknown persons driving a car while walking from her office (the Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information) to take a taxi. To this day her whereabouts are unknown.
5.3. Detained Military Persons Whose Whereabouts are Unknown: According to information received from former inmates in Tollay and family members, the whereabouts of the following former military officers who were earlier under detention in Tollay Detention Centre is presently unknown.
Capt. Tsegaye
Capt.Belayneh Alemayehu
Lt. Lakew Tsegaye
Capt. Demisse Ayele
Capt. Menberu Belay
Col Mekonnin Ahmed
Lt. Yimam Ishetu
Col. Shelemaw Elmina
Major Teshome Ejersa
Lt.Menghesha Selamu
Col Temesghen Challa

The Persons mentioned under items 5.1., 5.2 and 5.3. above who had earlier been arrested or detained and whose present whereabouts are unknown should be produced and their whereabouts made known and, if they have committed crimes, they should be brought to trial as soon as possible.

6. Prisoners Of War
The present whereabouts of the following military officers of the former regime who were taken as prisoners of war in battle are unknown.
6.1. Brigadier General Beretta Ghemoraw, captured in Tigray administrative region at the battle of Inda Sillase in January 1989.
6.2. Colonel Ghetahun Wolde Ghiorghis, Commander of the 103rd Commando Division captured at the battle of Inda Sillase in January 1989.
EPRDF has a responsibility to inform the Transitional Government of the whereabouts of the above prisoners of war.

7. Status of Prisoners

In the Second Report of EHRCO the details of some 1720 prisoners were indicated. Amongst these were 816 former security personnel in Holeta, 178 WPE members in the same town, 250 former officials at Sendaffa, 231 in Addis Ababa prison, 86 in Bahir Dar prison, and 58 in Menz Ghishe, Mehal Meda prison still waiting for due process.

7.1. Nine prisoners have been released from some of the prisons mentioned in EHRCO's previous reports. This number is however very small as compared to those still under detention without any investigation being undertaken for such a long period of time. As it is said that "justice delayed is justice denied", it is unfortunate that many people for various unknown reasons are still under detention without any due process. Some of these are detained for over a year without sufficient food and medical treatment in some of the prisons.
7.2. Since the issuance of EHRCO's Second Report, new cases of persons detained for many months without due process of law have been submitted to it. EHRCO has a list of the names of all these prisoners. The places of detention and the number of prisoners reported to EHRCO are the following:

Name of Prison   No. of Prisoners Reason for detention
Tollay   716 Former army Unknown
Fiche   1 Unknown
Qaliti   1 Unknown
Debre Sina   1 Red Terror
A.A 2nd Police Station   1 Party member
A.A 2nd Police Station   10 Red Terror
Dese   600 Unknown
Jimma   2 Red Terror
Debre Zeit   1 Red Terror
A.A, Qirqos Awraja   1 Unknown
Debre Birhan   4 Unknown
A.A, 3rd Police Station.   2 Unknown
A.A, Nefas Silk Awraja   1 Unknown
Holeta   4 Theft
Bahir Dar   122 Unknown
Hosaina   3 Red Terror
Nazret   1 Unknown
A.A., K. 18 K. 33   14 Unknown
Dire Dawa   40 Former Prisoners
Mizan Teferi   4 Former Awraja Officials
A.A. Prison   50 Former Prisoners
Shashemenne   8 Red Terror
Asella   28 OPDO Members
Gonder Be'ata   1 Unknown
Debre Marqos   355 Unknown
Debre Zeyit Police Station   2 Unknown
Gonder   6 Unknown
Danghila   14 Unknown
Holeta Army camp   22 WPE members
Shewa Robit   3 WPE members
Awasa   1 Unknown
Ambo Police   1 Unknown
Neqemte   1 Unknown
A.A. K. 13 K. 09   1 Unknown
(Former residence of Dej. Kebbede Tesemma)
Ghedeb Asesa Arso   1 Pro OLF
Maichew-06 Tigray   40 Pro EDU
West Gojjam (Akomait Ghebriel)   1 Unknown
Unknown (Addis Abeba)   1 Unknown
Alemghena Awraja   1 Red Terror
Aqaqi Beseqa   2 Unknown
A.A. K. 10 K. 16   17 Unknown
Debre Zeyit (Workshop)   35 Red Terror 21, 14 Unknown
Weldeya   1 Unknown
A.A. Bole Awraja   1 Unknown
Asella   1 Unknown
Dilla   1 Unknown
Azezo, Gonder, Military Camp   22 EPRP Members
Total No. of Prisoners 2147  

Among the detainees mentioned under item 5 above in Addis Ababa 2nd police station, Ato Mes'hafe Sirak is a member of EHRCO. Ato Mes'hafe Sirak was elected to the Provisional Qebele Committee on April 20, 1992 by the Qebele residents. He was detained on suspicion that he was a former WPE member and kept in custody at the police station for over 20 days. After his release the election committee and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Transitional Government confirmed in writing that he is not a member of WPE and therefore entitled to participate in the election. This incident indicates that persons are being detained unnecessarily without sufficient grounds and prior to appropriate investigation being undertaken and without the right of bail.
The detainee, in Dilla prison, Ato Mamo Wojega, lecturer of law at the commercial College of Addis Ababa, is also a member of EHRCO. He was invited to participate at an election conference in Dilla organised by Ghideo People's Democratic Organisation on June 2, 1992. After the conference he was called to the office of the Representative of the Transitional Government of the area and informed that higher officials have ordered his detention. He is still under detention without due process of law.
The detainees, at Azezo Military Camp are members of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP) who were refugees in Sudan. The EPRP Foreign Relations Committee has issued a communiqu‚ on June 5, 8 and 9 of 1992 to all concerned organisations and human rights bodies complaining of the illegal detention of its members in Ethiopia after having been arrested in Sudan and handed over to the Transitional Government of Ethiopia. One of these, a lady, was released recently.
It has been further reported to EHRCO that the prisoners detained at some of the above detention centres and prisons are facing difficulties due to lack of food and that the general prison conditions are not satisfactory. Persons who have no relatives or whose relatives do not know where they are face severe starvation.

8. Violations Of The Right To Work
In Addis Ababa Kefitgna 5, Qebeles 06, 12 and 19 over 1000 merchants who were running their small shops attached to permanent buildings since about 1956 were ordered by the Transitional Government to close down their shops. They have complained that life is becoming difficult for them and their families in view of the sudden and arbitrary action taken by the government to close their shops. No plan was made for an alternative place where these small merchants could operate.

9. Cases Of Displaced Persons:

9.1. Persons Displaced From Assab Facing Problems of Retrieving Their Property: In May 1991 over 59 persons who were former residents of Assab and engaged in private and government business for many years were forced to vacate the area leaving their movable and immovable properties when EPLF forces occupied the port of Assab. After peace and stability was restored these displaced persons had petitioned the office of the EPLF in Addis Ababa and the Ethiopian Transitional Government to assist them collect all their properties left behind at the time of the evacuation. But to no consequence so far.
9.2. Military Personnel and Families Forcefully Evacuated from Their Residences in Military Camps: The details of former military personnel and their families evicted from their camps by the transitional Government are provided in the tables below. No arrangements were made for housing these persons. In fact, the eviction was carried out on the eve of Easter, a very important day for Ethiopian Christians.

Name of Camp   No. of Families No. of Persons Total
4th Army Div.   330 1030 1360
Gofa Sefer   250 804 1054
Mastenagheja   500 1800 2300
Janmeda   400 1330 1730
Popolare   210 928 1138
Meghenagna   100 365 465
Mehandis   200 1100 1300
Depot   200 710 910
Military Police   180 510 690
Tatek   120 385 505
Tatek Civil Employees   227 865 1900
TOTAL   2717 9827 1254 4

9.3. Families of Deceased Military Personnel: The following table illustrates the families of deceased military personnel, mostly women and children. These are persons whose bread winners have lost their lives in the battlefield. These, too, were evicted from their camps without any arrangement for shelter.

Name of Camp   No. of Families No. of Persons Total
4th Army Div.   20 127 147
Mastenagheja   40 160 200
Gofa Sefer   30 180 210
Janmeda   60 420 480
Popolare   6 42 48
Meghenagna   4 20 24
Mehandis   6 24 30
Depot   4 20 24
Military Police   3 18 21
Tateq   2 12 14
TOTAL   175 1023 1198
GRAND TOTAL   1892 10850 13742

10. The Labour Union Of The Commercial Bank Of Ethiopia
10.1. On March 16, 1992 the Vice President of the Labour Union of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia was arrested by persons who had no warrant of arrest and released after being unlawfully detained for 35 days at a special security prison and at the central investigation department without any sort of investigation.
10.2. The President of the Labour Union was at the same time being traced for arrest and his present whereabouts is unknown.
10.3. From the 89 congress members of the Labour Union of the bank, 54 of them have been dismissed since December of 1991 and are suffering along with their families. The bank account of the Union has been blocked without any court order. Another account opened in the name of the President and the Secretary of the Union in which contributions by the bank staff were being credited in order to help the dismissed Union officials has likewise been blocked without any court order.
10.4. The issue as to whether or not the Union should be dissolved is still pending at the courts. The grievances hearing committee which had been established by the Transitional Government and which decided to dismiss the employees of the bank is not a legally constituted court of law; nor have the judges been duly appointed by the judicial administration commission; and, therefore, the decision has no legal validity.


11. Violations Of Right To Work And Pension


11.1. Civil servants forced to serve in the armed forces by the Derg regime are not now reinstated in their previous civilian jobs. Among such groups are 17 teachers from Arsi Administrative Region and 93 other civil servants from various government agencies.
11.2. Persons Unlawfully Pensioned: 26 former employees of the Freight Transport Corporation who had been forced to be pensioned off before their retirement age have complained of the decision made without due process.
11.3. The following employees have been dismissed from their respective jobs in violation of civil service regulations, the labour laws and appropriate legislation. I.728 civil servants from various government organisations.
II.5 employees of various government corporations.
III.1,496 employees from various institutions.

12. Violations Of Property Rights
It is to be recalled that under the Derg regime trucks and buses of individuals were requisitioned to serve in the war effort. Many vehicles and other property may have been thus seized in battle by EPRDF. Now that EPRDF is the decisive part of the Transitional Government, it is incumbent upon it to return these properties to the rightful owners.
12.1. Trucks and Buses Seized by EPRDF

Name of Owner Type Plate No. Date of Seizure Place of Seizure
  Sidamo Transport Organisation
Bus
 

AA 3-08810
 

16/06/1982
 
Debre Tabor
Amiha Kasaye   Truck   AA 3-08958   Yekatit 1981   Shire
Gugsa K.Mariam   >>   AA 3-02957   12/06/1981   >>
Akalu Ghebreyesus   >>   AA 3-04956   11/06/1981   >>
Solomon H. Mariam   >>   AA 3-01588   Yekatit 1981   >>
Merressa W. Mariam   >>   AA 3-08918   >>   >>
Adugna Tareqegne   >>   AA 3-01390   >>   >>
>>   Trailer   AA 3-02590   >>   >>
Asrat Awlachew   Truck   AA 3-04553   >>   >>
Beqele Dibaba   >>   AA 3-06475   >>   >>
Adem Mohammed   >>   AA 3-00391   >>   >>
Aseffa Gurmu   >>   AA 3-00891   08/10/1982   N. Shewa
Tikuye Yusuf   >>   Dese3-00135     Dese Area
Kasaye Beqele   >>   AA 3-08813   17/06/1983   Bahir Dar


12.2. House Expropriated by OPDO-EPRDF
A couple, Ato Siyum Tadesse and Weizero Abebetch Mamo, have complained that the representative of OPDO-EPRDF of Neqemte area, Ato Ghetahun Qittasa as per written instructions of January 31, 1992 expropriated their home financed under a mortgage loan granted by the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Neqemte branch.

12.3. Properties expropriated by OLF
12.3.1. It has been reported that in January of 1991 armed OLF forces stopped the driver of Tanker plate No. AA 3-12954 with its trailer fully loaded with Naphtha while the tanker was proceeding to Dire Dawa from Assab and took the tanker trailer by force at the town called Roda in Eastern Harerghe Administrative Region.
12.3.2. In the town of Deder property estimated at Birr 161,180 was reported to have been taken by the forces of OLF from the residence and hotel of Ato Solomon Birqineh. The OLF forces loaded the loot on eight trucks on January 10, 1992 and drove off.

13. Violations Of Freedom Of Movement


The Haji and Umra Pilgrimage Provisional Co-ordinating Committee has reported in its various communications to EHRCO the following:
That the Ethiopian Transitional Government had refused to provide regular passports to the Ethiopian pilgrims going to Mecca. They were provided with laissez passer documents instead. Most of the would-be pilgrims could not even get these documents after eight months of hardship.
The Ethiopian Transitional Period Charter has accepted the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly under Resolution 217 A(III) of December 10, 1948. In it Article 13 (2) states that everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. It is further provided under Article 18 that the rights of freedom of conscience and religion are respected and that anyone is entitled to manifest his religion or belief in worship and observance.

14. Wereda And Regional Elections


The preparations for the Wereda and regional elections were marked by unusual national and international publicity. The Ethiopian media was claiming that some 33 million Ethiopians will be voting when the total population of voting age cannot be more than 26 million. The elections were to be "the first democratic elections in the history" of the country. They were to chart a new path to democracy. More than 200 international observers came from nearly all the continents to monitor these elections in various parts of the country.
When it was over, it was a very disappointing performance and a very expensive exercise in futility. Several parties boycotted the elections on allegations of threats and even arrests of their candidates by the ruling party, EPRDF. The elections were marred by serious irregularities from the registration of voters and candidates to the voting procedures.
The verdict of the international observers was mostly negative. The African-American Institute stated that these elections "fell considerably short of the stated objectives" and that "political intimidation and harassment were reported in all parts of the country." The German Observer Group stated that "the election results for the observed areas should not be taken as fair and free reflection of the democratic will of the people."
The Ethiopian Human Rights Council did not monitor the election process directly. But information was being received by EHRCO from Addis Ababa and from other places as well. EHRCO's assessment of the elections is more fundamental than mere procedures and technicalities: the necessary conditions for free and fair elections did not and still do not exist in the country. First, the monopoly of the media by the ruling party, EPRDF, in which other parties could not compete in any meaningful way. Second, there was neither time nor favourable conditions for all candidates to move freely to all parts of the country and face the voters. Only EPRDF had that prerogative. Third, the Ethiopian people never knew what the issues in these elections were. None of the parties debated the issues publicly. Fourth, there was really no independent election commission and, therefore, the registration of voters and of candidates could be managed by EPRDF cadres and officials.
The Ethiopian people need peace and security. The only way Ethiopia can have peace and security is to empower the people and to allow them to exercise that power in a free and fair election, i.e. through the democratic process. To believe that the elections of June 21, 1992 were free and fair is to do a great disservice to EPRDF and to Ethiopia as well as to the democratic process. We must make greater effort and ensure the conditions for having a free and fair election in the future.

15. Conclusion


The concerned officials of the Ethiopian Transitional Government should take note that the violations of human rights detailed in this report are violations of rights and freedoms which are guaranteed by the charter and by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The respect of human rights is the basis for peace and democracy, and therefore the government should rectify these violations and give the Ethiopian people firm assurances that due process of law shall be fully respected in practice. Any political organisation or ethnic movement should disseminate its political program by peaceful means, acknowledging the role of other organisations in the political process. The use of force is not only undemocratic, but also manifests the reliance of those organisations on force rather than on the rule of law.
The Ethiopian people have suffered too much from wars and it is a pity to see that the people are being instigated to another war. EHRCO has repeatedly reminded political organisations to refrain from violence and to undertake their political struggle peacefully.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Council requests individuals residing in Ethiopia or abroad, human rights organisations, governments, international organisation, political and religious organisations to support and promote the cause of human rights, the democratic process and the rule of law in Ethiopia and to write to the addresses stated hereunder requesting the rectification of the violations outlined in the report.