Your Excellency Gedu Andargachew
Head of Amhara Regional State
From Kemant People,
Subject: Appeal to stop the HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION AND INJUSTICE AGAINST KEMANT PEOPLE
We are writing this letter to Your Excellency’s attention for immediate intervention to stop the continuous human rights violation and injustice against Keemant people in woreda and zonal administrations. We believe you have every detail and up to date information what is happening to Kemant people in the past 22 years. Of course, this appeal is not a new one but the extension and relic of the past. Although Ethiopia has the federal system of government, Kemant people experienced unprecedented and abject human rights violation that ranges from totally denial of its identity to the sever political, economic, administration marginalization. What is happening contrary to expectations the Kemant people in the country where the constitution guarantees unrestricted rights to identify one’s identity in group and/or as individual, including one’s language and culture development and preservation of history.
Even under the oppressive Military Dergue and feudal regime, Kemant people were considered as distinct nationality, though the economic, social, cultural and religion marginalization were so sever and deep to the bone. Contrary to the expectations and vocalized principle of EPRDF, Kemant people has been totally erased from an Ethiopian nationality list and told it is converted to Amhara. On the other hand, it is always pronounced that objective of freedom fighters and EPRDF was to correct the past unbalance relationships amongst Ethiopian peoples and thereby build one economic society with diversity.
In spite of the fact that every nation nationality and people has absolute rights to choose its own fate up to secession, the truth on the ground goes against this principles and the very essence of the constitution. This gross violation of constitutional rights clearly manifests in Amhara Regional State against Kemant people. No matter how the Amhara Regional State in general and ANDM in particular boasts about promoting democracy and respecting people’s constitutional rights; Kemant people still remain victim of the same. Among the manifestations of the above complaints are the Kemant people are forcefully imposed to be called Amhara beyond any reasons.
Unless the regional officials close their eyes purposely, the Kemant people fulfill the constitutional rights to be considered as a distinct nation. They have their own language, culture, geographical integrity, psychological oneness. When the people exercise their rights in this regard, the government officials at various level detained them on the pretext of allegations such as extremists and blockers of development.
Your Excellency, allow us to ask a few questions, What is development after all for Kemants, where their basic rights are not respected? What benefit does it bring to the Amhara community by forcefully converting Kemant to Amhara? What type of peace can be achieved in the long run in the region by putting people together without their full consent? Don’t you think that your officials have put a time bomb that blasts in the future contest the existence of region? Does Kemant ask the region beyond what the constitution permits?
Things are changing from bad to worse from time to time, over and over. Human rights violation and other injustice to Keemant go beyond the brim. For instance, three innocent Kemants arrested yesterday by police in Chilga Woreda. The immediate pretext to put the people under arrest is as follows: Government office in Chilga woreda assigned enumerators to Chonchoq rural town to list down residents to have actual data of total population for some planning purposes. In the registration form there is an inquiry to know what nationality that particular respondent is. However, the enumerators, deliberately and without the consent of the interviewee, filled out the form under the nationality column as “Amhara” while almost 99% of the interviewees actually are Kemant people and consider themselves with no doubt as Kemenat. This unfinished Amharization process cause anger among dwellers and asked the enumerators either to quit up the data collection or put their correct identity (Kemant) in the form. The enumerators later agreed and did so. This bold action taken by the people considered by the chauvinist (timihikt) woreda officials, however, as illegal and action against development (limat adenakafi) and ordered arrest.
The following detainees are the victims of forceful and unfinished Amharization process taken even to this particular moment in the region.
1. Alemnew Alehegn
2. Adisu workae
3. Adisu Chekol.
4. And many others whose names are not revealed yet.
We, therefore, appeal to Your Excellency to take the necessary steps to stop the actions taken by the woreda and zonal officials. Look forward for tangible measures.
• Ethiopia Human Rights Commission
• Ethiopia Human Rights Council
• International Human Rights Commission