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40th Special Report: Stop the Violation of the Rights of Human Rights Defenders!

“EHRCO has been issuing numerous reports on the human rights situation in the country. It is only after collecting and verifying information that EHRCO issues its reports. To collect and verify information, EHRCO usually dispatches its staff and, when necessary, members and supporters to those places where complaints and reports of human rights violations are said to have occurred. But, in trying to carry out their assignments, EHRCO’s workers often face many difficulties. These include maltreatment and threats by officials and armed government cadres of the different regions of the country.”

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Special Report No. 38: The Harm Done by Ethnic and Religious Conflict

“During the past two years alone, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) has issued no less than six reports about such ethnic conflicts in the country. These reports have been disseminated to the public, concerned governmental and non-governmental organisations and officials. However, because of resource and other constraints, EHRCO could report on a relatively smaller portion of the damage caused by these conflicts. EHRCO has reported on the limitations facing it in each of the reports it has issued. The indifference, sometimes partisanship, of government officials at various levels of responsibility appears to suggest that these conflicts were intentioned. Not only has the party in power refrained from taking lasting and just solutions to the ethnic and religious conflicts arising from the government’s ethnic policy, but it has also covered up the problem, thereby preventing the public from assisting in the search for such peaceful resolutions of the problem.”

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37th Special Report: Stop the Repeated Violation of the Rights of Students

“Since the beginning of the new Ethiopian year (i.e., September 2000), various human rights violations have occurred against students of Jimma and Bahir Dar Universities, students of Awassa Teachers College and Tabor Junior and Senior High School as well as residents of the town, and against students of Addis Ababa University.

At Jimma University, medical science students had recently submitted peacefully their complaints about their education and the inadequacy of facilities. Instead of having open and free discussions with the students, were threatened and intimidated into vacating the University campus. Not only did this disrupt the learning-teaching process, but also it did not resolve the students’ and the University’s problems.

At Bahir Dar University, many students have been suffering from typhoid as a consequence of which two students died, over one hundred have sustained serious injuries to their health due to lack of appropriate and prompt medical assistance.”

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36th Special Report: For a Sure and Lasting Peace

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (C) stands between Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki (L) who shakes hands with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (R) after signing peace agreements December 12, 2000. Ethiopia and Eritrea formally ended their two-year border war after months of mediation by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the United Nations and the United States.
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (C) stands between Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki (L) who shakes hands with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (R) after signing peace agreements December 12, 2000.

“On 12 December 2000, the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace treaty in Algiers. To the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO), the mere fact that both governments have signed the peace treaty is a good start. EHRCO would like to express its hope that future negotiations between the two governments result in a lasting and certain peace.

The protracted war that has been going in the region has killed, disabled, and displaced thousands of citizens, has destroyed lots of private and public property and hindered development efforts. It is an irrefutable fact that the destruction caused by the recent and relatively short war was appalling. That is why that the December 12 peace agreement between the two countries becomes a hopeful sign for the respect and protection of the human and civil rights of citizens.”

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35th Special Report: Ethnic Conflict A Dangerous Problem of the Utmost Concern

“For generations, members of the Geri and Borena Oromo lived in Arero Wereda, Borena Zone in Oromiya region. Both ethnic groups are represented in the executive body of the wereda council. While working together in the council, they were faced with a serious problem that they were unable to resolve. This problem had to do with ownership of land which both groups claimed beginning from 1991. To date, the wereda council has been unable to resolve this dispute over land. The Borena Oromo have since been telling the Geri saying, “The land on which you are now living has been ours for a long time. At the present moment you are using our grazing land and water wells”, telling them at the same time to vacate the area. The Geri, on their part, refused to leave the area, asserting that the land is also theirs. After that, the dispute between the two ethnic groups worsened and led to a serious conflict.

The misunderstanding and hatred between the two groups that had been muffled for many years finally broke out in the violent attack of the Geri by the Borena at about 9 o’clock in the evening of September 7, 2000. A coalition of some 60 Borena and Guji Oromo, armed with modern and traditional weapons, attacked Geri residents of Meta Gefersa in Borena Zone, Arero Wereda, causing considerable destruction to human life and property.”

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34th Special Report: Serious Destructions Resulting from Ethnic Governance

“Recently, members of wereda councils went around their respective weredas and, mobilising the people, committed serious infringements against those peasants who had come from the Amhara Region and settled in Eastern Wellega. This illegal action is a result of leadership based on ethnicity.Beginning in March 2000, council members as well as administrative officials in Eastern Wellega in general and especially in Seredeno, Abidengero, Ghida Kiramo, and Awaro weredas, caused the burning of houses and churches, the looting of household and church property, including cattle and other domestic animals, the illegal detention, beating and wounding of people whose exact number is unknown at present as well as the death of eight Amhara peasants who had been either displaced from their original region or brought for resettlement purposes. Eight persons were also killed in the conflict.”

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