RESOLUTION OF ETHIOPIAN UNIVERSITY STUDENT ASSOCIATIONS

RESOLUTION OF ETHIOPIAN UNIVERSITY STUDENT ASSOCIATIONS

AND CONCERNED ETHIOPIANS IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

CONCERNING THE ONGOING STANDOFF BETWEEN THE EPRDF AND

ADDIS ABABA UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

 

               On May 6th 2001, we members of Ethiopian University Student Associations and Concerned

               Ethiopians in the San Francisco Bay Area discussed the current Addis Ababa university students

               movement and passed the following resolution by acclaim.

 

 

 

 

          WHEREAS Addis Ababa University students were lawfully and peacefully exercising their

          democratic and constitutional right when they were assembled on campus to meet with and submit a

          number of reasonable requests to Ms. Genet Zewdie, Minister of Education of the EPRDF, on April

          11, 2001, when Federal Police on campus, without cause or provocation, violently dispersed the

          assembly, killing at least one student and injuring at least fifty students; and

 

          WHEREAS Ms. Genet Zewdie herself has publicly declared that the violent attack was not ordered

          by her or by the government and was unprovoked; and

 

          WHEREAS Addis Ababa University students were within their right during the ensuing discussions

          in demanding that Federal Police, who had caused them undue intimidation and physical harm, be

          removed from campus and replaced by campus service officers; and

 

          WHEREAS barred from demonstrating on campus, students were within their right to take their

          protests to the streets of Addis Ababa on April 17 and 18, 2001; and

 

          WHEREAS the police were most at fault in using massive, excessive and violent force on April 18,

          2001, when they fatally shot at least forty-one protesters and physically injured at least five hundred

          people; and

 

          WHEREAS government forces were most at fault in indiscriminately, violently and without due

          process arresting some three thousand people and amassing them at the Sendafa detention center

          between April 18 and 26, 2001; and

 

          WHEREAS the detention without charge or trial of these thousands by the government constituted

          a violation of the writ of habeas corpus; and

 

          WHEREAS detainees were subjected to cruel and degrading treatment including near-starvation

          rations; and

 

          WHEREAS subsequent to the much-publicized release of most students on April 26, at least one

          hundred students and non-students still remain unlawfully detained; and

 

          WHEREAS the government's demand that students be required to sign letters apologizing for the

          destruction of property and the violence that occurred on April 18 preemptively and unfairly shifts

          the blame from government authorities to students; and

 

          WHEREAS the subsequent and continuing extra-judicial arrests, detentions and disappearances of

          student leaders, independent journalists and human rights activists by government authorities further

          demonstrate heavy-handed state repression of the basic and inalienable rights of self-expression; and

 

          WHEREAS by these and such repressive acts the Ethiopian government has caused the escalation

          of tensions between itself and most other universities and colleges and tens of high schools

          throughout the country, leaving students with no other recourse than to withdraw from classes; and

 

          WHEREAS the students' insistence that the release of their compatriots and the withdrawal of

          federal police from campuses constitute prerequisites to the resumption of their studies is fair and

          just;

 

          THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Ethiopian University student unions and concerned

          Ethiopians unswervingly stand by and support their Addis Ababa University siblings and will labor

          fully to provide them with moral, publicity and financial support until their just demands are met; and

 

          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the EPRDF assume direct responsibility for the violence,

          fatalities and injuries instigated and inflicted by the Federal Police on Addis Ababa University

          Students on April 11 and April 18, and for the escalation of tensions in the intervening periods and

          subsequently leading to the current stand-off; and

 

          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all students, human rights activists, journalists and others

          arbitrarily and illegally detained in connection with this stand-off be immediately released without any

          preconditions and upon their own recognizance; and

 

          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the International Committee of the Red Cross and other

          human rights advocacy groups be allowed immediate and unrestrained access to student and

          non-student detainees incarcerated in connection with this matter; and

 

          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that an independent neutral commission comprising members

          acceptable to the injured parties be appointed to conduct a fair, impartial and public investigation to

          determine responsibility for the instigation and escalation of both physical and psychological violence

          visited upon protesters, bring the perpetrators to justice, and seek appropriate remedies for the

          injured; and

 

          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the same commission conduct an investigation into the party

          or parties responsible for the destruction of public and private properties committed April 18, 2001,

          and make public its findings and recommendations; and

 

          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution and supporting documents be distributed

          widely to educational institutions, human rights groups and concerned government authorities in the

          United States and Ethiopia seeking their endorsement and/or independent follow-up action.

 

 

               Reviewed and Issued by the duly appointed representatives of the Stanford Ethiopian Students

               Union (SESU), the University of California at Berkeley Ethiopian Students, the California State

               University at San Jose Ethiopian Students Association (SJSU-ESA), the Progressive Ethiopians

               Discussion Forum of Northern California and Radio Ethiopia of San Jose this May 11, 2001.