THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN ETHIOPIA
SEVENTH REPORT
26 August 1994

1. Introduction

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 rumours 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 travelling, 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 recognise that fact in order to combat it.
EHRCO feels the time is now to reverse the derailed democratic process and to put it back in 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 institutionalising 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 dehumanisation and continued dependence on international food assistance. Continuous appeal to international donors for relief assistance has characterised 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 (TGE) 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 an appeal to the Ethiopian people, the international community, religious and humanitarian organisations, 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 recognised 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 endeavours 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 the 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 organisations 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 Organisation. EHRCO is not alone in this institutionalised discrimination; there are many other NGO's 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 organisations 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 organisations 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 organisations, 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 deals 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 organisations 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 organisations. 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 organisation, other than what is stated in the statutes of that organisation. They are, however, free to act in accordance with the law if and when that organisation goes beyond its stated objectives. But to pre-empt the legal right of anyone or any organisation 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 may advocate armed struggle or join an organisation 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 members 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 Melees, 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 fro 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 organisation. 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 organisation 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 organisation, not an ethnic one. The only persons that are excluded from membership are those who belong to organisations 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 victimise 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 offence and continues on bail. That 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 from 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 organisations.
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 theatres. 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 favourable 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 finalised.
Furthermore, EHRCO would like to state that the names of the victims of extra-judicial 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. Extra-Judicial Killings

The human rights report of the U.S. Department of State for the year 1993 has the following: "There were no reports of officially sanctioned political or other extra-judicial 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 extra-judicial 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 U.S. 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 extra-judicial killings. Even if government officials denied or condemned such extra-judicial killings privately, it still does not change the fact that there were extra-judicial killings.
A Law Dictionary defines extra-judicial as "that which is done outside of a court's jurisdiction; not founded upon or dependent upon the authority of a court." The U.N. Special Reporter 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 extra-judicial 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 extra-judicial 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 U.S. 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 U.S. State Department.The Ethiopian Human Rights Council follows the generally accepted definition of extra-judicial 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
1   Jeldessa Golisa   27/4/93 Yabello W. Adeghelchecho Q.8 PA.  
2   Ghababo Rari   27/4/93 >> >>
3   Bule Halake   27/4/93 >> >>
4   Adefris Yadmitu   16/08/93 Jihur - Korekor Q  
5   Alemayehu Tekle   15/09/93 A/A W. 11 Q. 16  
6   Zelealem Aynadis   03/10/93 Harer W. 2 Q. 14  
7   Teferra Qagnew   16/10/93 Shewa Robit 02 Q.  
8   Fantu Jarra   25/10/93 Welayita Soddo- Q. 05  
9   Qittata Qoricha   07/11/93 Woliso - Dilala Ketema  
10   Hunde Bedada   07/11/93 Woliso - Dilala Ketema  
11   Hasen Kelil   13/11/93 Jimma W. 3 Q.01  
12   Belayneh Taddese   21/12/93 Guraghe Zone -Ado Tadele PA.  
13   Birhanu G/Mariam   04/01/94 Attaye Q. 01  
14   Qitaw W/Tsadiq   08/02/94 Efratana Jile - Shewa Robit  
15   Yonas Yirga   12/02/94 Dese 1st Police Station  
16   Mammo Ashine   17/02/94 Mafud  
17   Zenabu Lechemo   10/03/94 Hosaena - Police Station  
18   Ahmed Omera   18/04/94 Mafud - Kure Beret PA.  
19   Shiek Siraj Mohammeda   18/04/94 Mafud - Kure Beret PA.  
20   Mohammed Siraja   18/04/94 Mafud - Kure Beret PA.  
21   Yitaghesu Wubisheta   19/4/94 Qewet Simet Qebele PA  
22   Hailu Yirdawa   19/4/94 Qewet Simet Qebele PA.  
23   Tesfaye Melakea   03/05/94 Qewet - Guwacha  
24   Ashennafi Tilaye   05/05/94 Qellem - Qaqe Ketema  
25   Zennebe Ayelea   12/05/94 Mezezo - Mar-Marefia  
26   Mammuye H/Mesqela   13/05/94 Mafud - Meqagno  
27   Lt. Zebene Yitna a   16/05/94 Menz - Molale Town  
28   Mindaye H/Sillasea   23/05/94 Dire Dawa -Woreda 1,Q. 02  
29   Samuel Asfaw*   23/05/94 Dire Dawa -Woreda 1,Q. 02  
30   Tammire Kebbede   27/5/94 Menz - Molale Town  
31   Cap. Meseret Astatqee   03/5/94 Gonder - W. 2 Q. 09/136  
32   Ayelech Cherinnet(w/t)   06/6/94 A.A - W. 15 Q. 33/520  
33   Ashenanfi Beqele(Lt.)a   07/6/94 D/Birhan -Chole Farm Ass.  


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. 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, in 6). Captain Meseret Astatqe was a member of EDU (Ethiopian Democratic Union.)
a. Persons indicated under nos. 1-4 were killed after being taken out of prisons.
b. Persons indicated under nos. 15 and 17 died in prisons due to torture inflicted upon them.
c. The person indicated under no. 8 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 27 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 by 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. No. 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 sympathisers of AAPO have been extra-judicially executed.
B) Professor Asrat was sentenced to two years imprisonment and is now 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 the party in power can have members of the opposition jailed on verbal threats of conflict, the extra-judicial 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 of this total forty persons have been released from detention, for ten others their places of detention have been revealed to their families. The remaining individuals still continue under involuntary disappearance. The names of the individuals whose whereabouts is still unknown are the following:

No   Name Date Place
1   Teacher Dereje Qeneni   19/02/92 Ghimbi- from his home  
2   Lt. Mulugheta Birhanu   12/04/92 A.A W. 23 Q. 16/100  
3   Col. Befeqadu Disasa   21/04/92 A.A W. 10 Q. 02/275  
4   Wro. Sara Mekonnin   19/06/92 A.A W. 1 Q. 08  
5   Ato Retta Mosissa   19/07/92 A.A W. 1 Q. 5  
6   Ato Melaku Yirdaw   08/09/92 Dire Dawa  
7   Lt. Yibeltal Atnafu   03/01/93 A.A.  
8   K/Mariam Bekure   30/03/93 A.A W. 20 Q. 51  
9   Maj. Bisrat Filfilu   31/03/93 A.A W. 20 Q. 28  
10   Ato Taddese W/Aregay   07/02/93 Merhabete-Laybet  
11   Col. Mekonnin W/Hawariyat   27/04/93 Nazret - W. 3 Q. 13  
12   Ato Efrem Fantaye   29/04/93 A.A.  
13   Ato Waquma Seboqa   06/05/93 A.A W. 5  
14   Sub.Lt Ghirma Asfaw   16/09/93 A.A W. 4  
15   Teacher Ghetinnet Asnaq   18/09/93 A.A W. 16  
16   Teacher Ashennafi Menghistu   19/09/93 A.A W. 14  
17   Corp. Enanu Koru   31/10/93 A.A W. 24 Q. 16  
18   Pvt. Abebe Ghirma   31/10/93 A.A W.24 Q. 16  


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
19   Maj. Worqu Gudaye   04/09/92   A.A Wereda 20 Q. 42  
20   Maj. Hailu Fufa   4/09/92   A.A Wereda 20 Q. 42  
21   Ato Abebe Aynekullu   03/12/93   " Around Amanuel Church  
22   Ato Abayneh Shiferaw   16/04/94   A.A Woreda 10 Q. 04  
23   Ato Ayalew Abate   22/04/94   A.A Woreda 18 Q. 06  
24   Ato Ghetachew Werqineh   29/04/94   A.A Woreda 13 Q. 05  
25   Ato Ghetachew Abebe   30/04/94   A.A Woreda 17 Q. 20  
26   Ato Birhanu Semu   24/05/94   A.A Woreda 2 Q. 17  
27   Ato Dereje Deme   24/05/94   A.A Woreda 19 Q. 56  
28   Ato Aklilu Ayele   25/05/94   A.A Woreda 15 Q. 26  
29   Ato Mitiku Wedajo   30/05/94   A.A Woreda 8 Q. 06  
30   Ato Adane Argaw   01/06/94   A.A Woreda 14 Q. 07  

4.5. Defiance Of Court Orders

There is no real judicial process where the courts serve only the interests of those in power and are otherwise ignored. Disregarding or ignoring court orders is tantamount to a declaration of the negation of the rule of law.
In the following cases, although the courts have passed decisions for the release of the persons listed, the executive branch has repeatedly defied the orders of the courts by presenting all kinds of excuses. If the persons are to be charged for other fresh offences then charges must be brought against them in accordance with the criminal procedure code.
Out of some eleven such cases, acquitted by the courts but still detained, three have been released, six convicted and the following two remain in jail.
1. Col. Mekuria Aberra (Holeta Prison - under detention) 2. Ato Aberra Yemane-Ab (A.A. Prison - under detention). Ato Aberra Yemane-Ab resides with his family in Washington, D.C., and came to Addis Ababa 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 for the Protection of All Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (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 several times. The last three public announcements have been for February 1994, then for June of 1994, and the most recent announcement is for September 1994.
Meanwhile the detention of new ones without any due process continues. EHRCO has received complaints that a number of detainees who are incarcerated in various prisons, detention centres and police stations are languishing without being formally charged. The present list does not include those in the previous reports. EHRCO has the names of these prisoners.

  Name of Prisoner   No. of Prisoners
1   Gonder Prison   62
2   Qalliti Prison   52
3   Hurso Military Camp   50
4   Goro Wereda Police Station (Guraghe Zone)   32
5   Debre Zeyit Police Station   19
6   Central Investigation Organ   18
7   Welayita Soddo Prison   16
8   A.A - Wereda 18 (Police Station   15
9   Aseko, Arba Gugu Police Station   11
10   A.A Prison   11
11   Asella Prison   10
12   A.A Wereda 17 Police Station   9
13   Dire Dawa Prison   8
14   A.A - 2nd Police Station   7
15   Sheno Police Station   7
16   A.A - Wereda 19 Police Station   6
17   Shewa Robit Prison   6
18   Air Force Headquarters - (Debre Zeyit)   3
19   Neghele - Walelign Army Division Camp   3
20   Sidama Zone Prison   3
21   Harer Police H.Q.   3
22   Shire "Bado Sidist" Prison   2
23   A.A 1st Police Station   2
24   Aqaqi Police Station   1
25   Navy Headquarters   1
26   Ghideo Police Dept.   1
27   Bahir Dar Prison   1
28   Emergency Security Force   1
29   Awasa Wereda Police Station   1
30   Maychew Prison   1
31   Holeta Prison   1
32   Masha Police station (Shekicho)   1
  Total   364

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.

  Name Place of Work
1   Ato Ayalew Halefom   Mekele - ERA  
2   Cpl.Afewrq Demisse   Arsi - Prison  
3   Ato Demisse Kidane   Region 14 Prosecutor's Office  
4   Ato Sirak Teshome   Region 3 Prosecutor's Office  
5   Demeqe Lemma   Coffee plantation Devt. Corp.  
6   Dr.G/Mariam Shekur   Tea Devt. & Marketing Enterprise  
7   Cpl. Moghes Qitaw   Police Garage  
8   Pvt. Awghechew Shemelis   Police Garage  
9   15 workers   Southern Wollo Regional Adm.  
10   22 workers   Tigray Courts  
11   37 Workers   Ethiopian Air Lines  
12   251 Workers   Mito Agricultural Enterprise  


4.8. Denial Of Pension Right

The following persons have filed complaints because they have been deprived of their rights to pension. According to Ethiopian Civil Service Law, all civil servants have the right to pension to which they have contributed from their salaries.

  Name Place of Work  
1   Capt. Ghetachew Argaw   Ground Force  
2   Sgt. Yalew Simegn   Ground Force  
3   Capt. Mulu Sewinnet   Police Force  
4   Lt. Tadesse Tareqegn   Police Force  
5   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 to play a more active role in this matter as a gesture of humanitarian concern for its citizens. The following is a new list of names of prisoners of War.

  Name Date Captured Place Captured
1   Capt. Aimro Gettu   May, 1991 Asmara
2   Capt. Mandefro Filate   May, 1991 Asseb
3   Capt. Melaku Seyum   May, 1991 Asmara
4   Lt. Shishigu Ghissilla   May, 1991 Asmara
5   Pvt.Aberra Mammo   May, 1991 Asmara
6   Lt. Kebede Hagos   May, 1991 Asmara
7   P/M Melaku Jenbere   May, 1991 Asmara
8   P/M Atnafu Channe   May, 1991 Asmara
9   Maj.Ghirma Dilnessahu   May, 1991 Asmara
10   Cap. Taddese Bejigha   May, 1991 Asmara


5. Conclusion

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 of the 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 necessary steps 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 discrimination and 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 the desire to create a favourable condition for the development and maturity of the private press. EHRCO would like to appeal to the Transitional Government to change its unfavourable policy of suppressing the private press. In this connection, EHRCO would like to note that the plight of the performing arts, especially with 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 to many observers is feared will exact a heavy toll of human lives, and the existence of thousands of internally displaced persons, the Transitional Government is expected to give this national problem top priority and divert a sizeable part of the financial resources of the country towards tackling the impending catastrophe.
It is evident that respect for human rights is the basis for democracy, peace and development. EHRCO appeals to the authorities of the TGE to rectify current practices of violations of human rights prevalent in the country and to reaffirm their commitments to international standards of human rights.
It is the duty of all political parties and ethnic or other organisations to give a chance to the democratic process by recognising each other's rights to have access to people in their respective regions and to struggle for these rights in a peaceful and legal manner.
The TGE and other political organisations should learn to tolerate and respect each other's political views and opinions, develop a mechanism for avoiding unnecessary confrontations and create a forum for continuous dialogues which will have a positive impact in creating a democratic culture. A political organisation which shies away from debates cannot be said to have confidence in its program and the people it claims to represent. The Ethiopian people have suffered the evil consequences of wars and do not, therefore, want to go through another one. EHRCO has repeatedly and consistently advocated peaceful political struggles and has always urged all political parties to follow such policies.
EHRCO appeals to all human rights organisations, political and religious associations as well as governments and international agencies who believe in the cause of human rights, the democratic process and the rule of law to write to the following officials of the Transitional Government and to influence them to take corrective actions.