January 12, 2010

HRLHA Urgent Action No 8 January 2010

Kidnappings and Disappearances of Students in Southern Ethiopia

January 8, 2010

Your Excellency Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
PO Box 1031
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tel. 251 111552044 or 251 11 1113241
Fax: +251 11 1552030

In a recently launched wave of kidnappings and arrests against students in southern Ethiopia, three Oromo students of Awassa University have so far disappeared; and the extra-judicial action against students is said to have continued. According to HRLHA informants in the area, 1. Nagga Gezaw, second year Civil Engineering student, and 2. Dhaba Girre, third year Management student, were kidnapped and taken away from the University campus by members of the security and police forces of the Federal Government of Ethiopia on the 5th of January 2010; while Jatani Wario, second year Co-operative student, was taken away from the campus in the same manner by the same kind of forces on the 6th of January 2010. The whereabouts of the three Oromo students were not known ever since they were kidnapped by the government security and police forces. HRLHA informants have learnt, though it has been difficult to trace and document, that there are more students that have faced the same fate and might be in the same situations as a result of these most recent extra-judicial actions. According to some insiders, the kidnapping and disappearance of the three Oromo students of Awassa University is related to the students’ movement taking place in Gujii/Borena Zone of Oromia Regional State which was triggered by the alleged poisoning and contamination of local rivers and stream waters by uncontrolled and/or unregulated waste products from the activities of gold mining industry at Laga Danbi. During the Universal Periodic Review of Ethiopia on December 9, 2009, the Ethiopian delegation testified in front of the member states that there were no human rights abuse in Ethiopia; and guaranteed that any form of human rights abuses will never be committed. However, within a one month time, the bad human rights record of the Ethiopian Government has surfaced once again. The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) expresses its deep concern over the safety and well-being of the three Oromo students and others. Given the very bad record of the Ethiopian prison officials and the worst situations of prisons in Ethiopia, as confirmed and reported on by many regional and international human rights agencies as well as diplomatic bodies, the case of the three Oromo students becomes very worrisome. HRLHA calls upon governments of the West, all local, regional and international human rights agencies to join hands and demand the immediate halt of such kinds of extra-judicial kidnappings, mass arrest and imprisonment of innocent students and other civilians by the Ethiopian government. The HRLHA is a non-political and non-profit organization that is engaged in challenging abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own fundamental human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies. • Ministry of Federal Affairs Siraj Fegisa P.o.Box 5718 Tel 251 11 1512766 Or 5159330 • Cc Minister of Justice Mr Brihan Hailu, Ministry of Justice, PO Box 1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Fax: +251 11 1517755 +251 11 1515099 0r 15157950 Email: ministry-justice@telecom.net.et • Federal Commissioner of Police Mr Workneh Gebeyehu, Federal Police Commission, Ministry of Federal Affairs PO Box 5068, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia • Simone Joseph - Foreign Affairs Officer U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor Washington, D.C. 20037 Tel: +1-202-261-8009 Fax: +1-202-261-8197 • Joseph, Simone O (DRL) [mailto: JosephSO@state.gov ] European Commission Delegation to Ethiopia Paola Cerea – Human Rights Project officer Paola.cerea@ec.europa.eu • Office of the 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 • 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 • Amnesty International – London Telephone: +44-20-74135500 Fax number: +44-20-79561157 • Human Rights Watch – New York, Tel: +1-212-290-4700 Fax:+1-212-736-1300 Email: hrwnyc@hrw.org Garoma Wakessa – Executive Director

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