Ethiopia: Academic Institutions Are Meant to Teach; Not to Serve As Political Tools

HRLHA Appeal and Urgent Action

HRLHA FineMarch 3, 2013 (HRLHA) — The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) strongly condemns the academic dismissals and suspensions of ten students of Addis Ababa University from their studies on February 21, 2013 upon their return to the University to resume their studies after a two-week break following the end of the first term exam. According to information obtained through HRLHA informants, this purely racial and politically motivated decision handed down by what is known as the discipline committee of the University was connected with the incident that took place in January 2013 between the Tigre and Oromo students. Various sources, including the HRLHA, have reported that the clash between the two groups of students was triggered when some students of Tigre nationals posted posters containing derogatory messages that aimed at the Oromo people. In connection with this incident, HRLHA had then reported, under an urgent action entitled, Beatings, Arrests and Detentions at Addis Ababa University, that more than 100 Addis Ababa University students, the majority of whom were Oromos, were arrested and detained.

All the ten dismissed and/or suspended students, one of whom was a female, spent about a month in detention before they were released on bail and returned to the University. The ten students who were given academic dismissal and suspension were:

No Name Sex Department & Year Birth Place
1 Tadele Tarkegn M Earth Science – 3rd year Nekemt/Wolega, Oromia
2 Abebe Tuji Chala M Biology 3rd year South Showa, Oromia
3 Gemechu Deleto Dafo M Science 4th
4 Melkamu Mulugeta Kefyalew M Physics 4th Liben, Oromia
5 Fikadu  Meserra M Chemistry 3rd Chalia, Gedo, Oromia
6 Addis Gatera Yadessa F Mathematics 4th
7 Bekalu Siyum Teshale M Mathematics 4th Ajje, Oromia
8 Kajela Adimasu Deressa M Biology 3rd Aira, Wolegga, Oromia
9 Isayas Itana M Geology 2nd Mendi, Wollega, Oromia
10 Ararsa Waktola Oljirra M Earth Science 4th Limu, Wollega, Oromia

dismissedstudents

Background:

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa in Feb 2012 reported on  a similar situation in its Urgent Action released under the title “Widespread Violence against Students in Ethiopia,  Dismissals and Suspensions of University Students on Political Grounds”  that three students of Jimma Unversity in the regional state of Oromia in Ethiopia were given academic dismissal while four others were suspended from their studies at the university for two years for demanding for a halt to what was described as politically motivated racial slurs allegedly perpetuated by students of Tigray origin, the ethnic group that controls the political power under the current regime.

As it was the case in the previous similar human rights violations against Oromos and other students, this most recent violence by the government and university administrations was the result of a deliberate provocation by students who belong to the ruling TPLF/EPRDF party aimed at politically intimidating the non-Tigre students while destabilizing their academic lives.  The worst aspect of these kinds of extra-judicial and politically motivated violences against students of non-Tigrian origin is that the victimized students not only receive punishments that they don’t deserve, but also brings tension and instabilities in and outside the University compounds. In general, their academic life would be disrupted, and as a result, their future lives would be ruined. More astonishing is that the culprits who are behind such violence always go unpunished, while the innocent face double victimization.

It is very unfortunate that such racial, discriminatory, and dictatorial actions and experiences have been repeating themselves in the past years under the Ethiopian TPLF/EPRDF regime. It is more unfortunate that they have been happening in academic environments where equal and fair treatments of students are expected in a friendly, conducive, motivational, and absolutely non-political atmosphere. It is undoubtedly very difficult to expect the emergence of adequately trained, motivated, and productive citizens with quality and transferable academic achievements from such discriminatory and intimidating environments.

HRLHA demands that the officials of Addis Ababa University immediately reverse this purely racial and political decision and allow the victimized students to go back to their studies. It also demands that the University stop hosting such relentless actions against the young generation, and instead work on creating conducive academic environments.

HRLHA also calls up on regional and international diplomatic, democratic, and human rights agencies to challenge the Ethiopian TPLF/EPRDF regime on its persistent racial, discriminatory, dictatorial, and suppressive actions against the generations in charge of shaping the futures of the country.

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Africa Department United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) 7 place Fontenoy 75352 Paris 07 SP France General phone: +33 (0)1 45 68 10 00 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            +33 (0)1 45 68 10 00     end_of_the_skype_highlighting Website: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/africa-department/

UNESCO Africa Rigional Office Mr.JOSEPH NGU Director UNESCO Office in Abuja Mail: j.ngu(at)unesco.org Tel: +251 11 5445284 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            +251 11 5445284     end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: +251 11 5514936

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights United Nations Office at Geneva 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland Fax: + 41 22 917 9022 (particularly for urgent matters) E-mail: tb-petitions@ohchr.org this e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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African Commission on Human and Peoples‘ Rights (ACHPR) 48 Kairaba Avenue, P.O.Box 673, Banjul, The Gambia. Tel: (220) 4392 962 , 4372070, 4377721 – 23 Fax: (220) 4390 764 E-mail: achpr@achpr.org

Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights Council of Europe F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE + 33 (0)3 88 41 34 21 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            + 33 (0)3 88 41 34 21     end_of_the_skype_highlighting + 33 (0)3 90 21 50 53 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            + 33 (0)3 90 21 50 53     end_of_the_skype_highlighting Contact by Email: commissioner@coe.int

U.S. Department of State Tom Fcansky – Foreign Affairs Officer

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Amnesty International – London Claire Beston Claire Beston Claire.Beston@amnesty.org

Human Rights Watch Felix Hor Felix Horne hornef@hrw.org

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About GETINET DINKAYEHU

Unity of Oromo Struggle is a priority The Oromo want dignity, self-expression, and self-governance. The Oromo want their voices to be heard. The Oromo want sovereignty They want to live together at peace with their neighbors, who themselves also live in freedom exercising their own sovereignty.The struggle for independence will continue until the Oromo question gets proper and just response. A well organized liberation struggle and the spirit of Oromummaa will save the nation’s unity and identity from later day detractors. Long Live Free Oromiyaa!!Down with Colonial forces and their lackeys!!

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