ATROCITIES COMMITTED AGAINST STREET CHILDREN AND THE HOMELESS
Urgent Report no. 2/1996
May 6, 1996

Many citizens have been forced into dire poverty, beggary and prostitution as a result of the displacement caused by the long civil war, the post-Derg ethnic politics, and the mass dismissal of workers caused by the government's structural adjustment program. Consequently, there are now far more street children, prostitutes and the homeless than ever before. Unless concerted effort is made to rehabilitate these unfortunate citizens, the situation will further deteriorate thereby exacerbating the already high magnitude of crime in urban areas.
However, instead of attempting to find a just solution and reintegrating into the society these marginalized citizens, the authorities have resorted to inhuman means of addressing the problem. As of April 4, 1996, the police in Addis Ababa have been trying to clean up the city by indiscriminately rounding up the homeless and street girls late at night, and temporarily detaining some of these at police stations until the next morning. The other victims were forced onto police trucks and taken out of Addis Ababa and dumped at bushy outskirts of the city, in dangerous places such as Karra (Kottebe), Gafarssa, Qarranyo, Karraqore (Sabatta road), and Qalitti where they were exposed to attacks by hyenas.
Among the victims of this atrocious act, the following persons have personally lodged complaints with the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO).

NAME   SEX AGE POLICE ACTION  
Asmeret T/Senbet Asgedom   F 16 Abandoned at Qarranyo on 4 April 1996  
Maaza Gedamu Retta   F 15 Abandoned at Karraqore on 5 April 1996  
Eleni Asfaw Mengistu   F 18 Abandoned at Karraqore on 5 April 1996  
Jerusalem Wasse Mesfin   F 17 Detained at Woreda 7 Police Station on 5 April 1996 and released the next day  
Dessalegn Abay Tegegne   M 19 Abandoned at Karra on 5 April 1996  
Fatie Yimam Reshid   F 18 Abandoned at Karraqore on 5 April 1996  
Wudie Fentie Dejenie   F 20 Abandoned at Karraqore on 7 April 1996  
Meseret Desta Negusse   F 16 Abandoned at Karraqore on 8 April 1996  
Netsanet Shewa Negash   F 22 Abandoned at Karraqore on 8 April 1996  
Birqe Assefa Taddese   F 20 Abandoned at Karraqore on 8 April 1996  
Itagegn Mersha Manaye   F 60 Detained at Woreda 7 Police Station on 9 April 1996 and released the next day  
Tigist Mesqele Gebre   F 18 Abandoned at Gafarssa on 13 April 1996  
Sara Wolde Geda   F 17 Abandoned at Qarranyo on 14 April 1996  
Ibrahim Mohammed Sali   M 24 Abandoned at Karra on 14 April 1996  
Solomon Abate Hailu   M 17 Abandoned at Karra on 14 April 1996  
Solomon Gemechu Debela   M 28 Abandoned at Karra on 14 April 1996  
Hamid Mohammed Ahmed   M 14 Abandoned at Karra on 14 April 1996  
Aster Assefa Amelie   F 17 Detained at Woreda 5 Police Station on14 April 1996 and released the next day  
Hiwot Tareqegne Getahun   F 18 Detained at Woreda 7 Police Station on 18 April 1996 and released the next day  
Betelihem Haile   F 17 Detained at Woreda 7 Police Station on 18 April 1996 and released the next day  
Firehiwot Qelemeworq   F 16 Detained at Woreda 7 Police Station on 18 April 1996 and released the next day  
Beletu Mekonnen Taddese   F 18 Detained at Woreda 7 Police Station on 18 April 1996 and released the next day  

This act is a violation of human rights that contravenes Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 6 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), all of which provide that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." The arbitrary detention of these persons late in the night is also a violation of the provisions of Article 9 of the UDHR, Article 8 (1) of the ICCPR and Article 17 of the Constitution of the FDRE, all of which provide that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention." This illegal police action also reminds us of the atrocities committed by the Brazilian police against the street children of Rio de Janeiro. It was only last week that we heard that one of these criminal policemen was sentenced to 309 years of rigorous imprisonment.
The problem related to the high number of street children and the homeless cannot be solved by rounding up these unfortunate citizens late at night and abandoning them in the outskirts of the city where they could be attacked by wild animals. Therefore, EHRCO asks the authorities concerned to intervene immediately and to stop this inhuman act. Likewise, EHRCO urges the Ethiopian Government to take appropriate action against those policemen who have participated in this violation of the constitutional rights of the above- mentioned citizens.
EHRCO also urges all individuals, national and international organisations, religious institutions, government and non-government organisations which stand for the respect of human rights to do everything possible to stop the perpetration of these atrocities and to assist in finding ways and means of rehabilitating these unfortunate persons.