ETHIOPIAN WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS ALLIANCE – For Immediate Release (voiceofethiopianwomen@gmail.com)

February 10th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Outraged at the massive human rights abuses in Ethiopia and concerned by the draconian law passed by the Ethiopian Parliament that is designed to silence all types of dissent and clampdown on any civil society activity ( particularly rights-based work) a group of women have come together to form The Ethiopian Women’s Human Rights Alliance.

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Outraged at the massive human rights abuses in Ethiopia and concerned by the draconian law passed by the Ethiopian Parliament that is designed to silence all types of dissent and clampdown on any civil society activity ( particularly rights-based work) a group of women have come together to form The Ethiopian Women’s Human Rights Alliance.

We, women of the Alliance have decided to work together to form a common platform for protesting, organizing and mobilizing against human rights abuses in Ethiopia which have gone on unabated for too long; and to find effective ways of making noise, raising awareness and seeking redress to these abuses in any way we can and working with everyone who will.

This grass roots movement will rely on the effort and commitment of long time Ethiopian human rights activists and community organizers, friends of Ethiopians, and partner organizations who deeply care about justice for all mankind.

It is our hope that women who share our desire and dream of a better Ethiopia where there is respect for human rights and the rule of law will join hands to express outrage at the recent arrest and imprisonment of Birtukan Mideksa.

Arrested on trumped-up charges, thrown into solitary confinement and denied access to legal counsel and Red Cross inspectors by the Ethiopian Government, Ms. Birtukan Mideksa, a former judge, and current Chairwoman of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJP), does not know when — or if — she will ever be released from the infamous Qaliti Prison.

Following post election protests in 2005, Ms. Mideksa and her colleagues along with scores of civil society activists and journalists found themselves in prison facing trumped up charges of capital crimes. The resulting political tension and diplomatic pressure forced the government to arrange for a politically brokered settlement to release them.

The negotiations took many months. Unfortunately, once the government secured this settlement with the prisoners, it accelerated the pace of the trials and convicted these prisoners, sentencing them to life in prison before “pardoning” them, breaking its own terms and conditions of the agreement. In addition, it embarked on a massive propaganda campaign -also a breach of the agreement- regarding the “pardon” that was granted to these prisoners.

Ms. Mideksa’s recent arrest was prompted following her refusal to a demand by the government that she revoke a statement she made disclosing that her prior release was not based on a formal legal pardon, but rather a politically negotiated settlement.

The real reason she was re-arrested and held in such harsh conditions is because of her leadership of a popular movement and her continuing struggle for the cause of human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Ethiopia.

Our work towards her freedom, as it gathers momentum will lead into sustained campaign efforts for other victims as well. We hope to build a vibrant worldwide grassroots movement that will help bring about change in the human rights conditions for Birtukan and thousands of others, by raising awareness, calling for redress and policy change.

We call on all peace loving citizens to join hands and work with us in whatever way they can to say, “Enough!”

  1. | #1

    I respectufully and proudly salute the “ETHIOPIAN WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS ALLIANCE” the spirit-lifting powerful contents of their Press Release. This superp expression of courage eptomized by the word “Enough” at the end is a mighty driving force in our struggle for freedom, unity, democracy and justice for which Birtukan is paying the price in the Kaliti dungeon on behalf of all of us in the larger prison, Ethiopia.

    Yes, Enough is Enough. Thank you EWHRA!

  2. | #2

    Very well put. An encouraging development, indeed.

  3. Belaye Hagos
    | #3

    Keep up the good job EWHRA. It seem to me that, the current Ethiopia has more women heros than men. It looks that history repeat itself. Remember the victory of Adwa was acheved partly by Emporor Menlik’s wife Tshaitu Bitule who turn back the retreating army by telling them that ‘we are winning go forward not backward’. That strong word lead Ethiopians to win the war against Italian invadors. Ethiopias freedom is coming and women is going to lead us to victory.

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