March 11, 2018
Your Excellency FDRE Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
C/O His Excellency Kassa Tekleberhan
Special Envoy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of FDRE to the US
Subject: Seeking Release of the Agaw-Kemant Prisoners of Ethiopia
The enclosed 1-page document is a list of prisoners of the Agaw-Kemants in North Gondar, Ethiopia. They have been in a detention since 2015 because of their demand for self-rule inline with the Ethiopian Constitution, Article 39, Subarticle-3. It can be recalled that the government forces conducted an excessive military operation in the Kemant area in late 2015, which caused destruction on human life and property. The operation was intended to force the Agaw-Kemants to drop their constitutional demand or to annex lowland Kemant areas, Metema and Quara.
The impact of the military campaign was investigated by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and reported to the Ethiopian Parliament in June 2016. The parliament passed a resolution by authorizing appropriate compensation for the Kemant victims and due justice on the perpetrators. Unfortunately, the Ethiopian Government declined to implement the parliament’s resolution, neither the victims received the compensation nor the offenders brought to justice. Above all, the cause of destruction, demand for self-rule has not yet guaranteed. The Kemant people have insisted on their constitutional rights regardless of hardship they have been experiencing. The region is currently under tension, imminent for further destructive conflict.
The Ethiopian Government released thousands of political prisoners in February 2018. However, the release did not include the Agaw prisoners, except three military personnel from Lasta, we believe that they have been deprived the opportunity because of their Agaw ethnic identity.
We are kindly seeking equal justice, including the immediate release of the Agaw-Kemant prisoners listed in the attached document, like other Ethiopians at least under the current amnesty. We are also keen to have a strong partnership with every nation, a nationality of Ethiopia and the international community at large. Please, find the enclosed document.
Of course, we would like to express our thanks in advance to Your Excellency for taking your precious time to look into the case for fair justice. It is truly an honor to present for Your Excellency’s attention to this appeal on behalf of 10-million Agaw people.
If you have any questions, comments or further details on the issue, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.
Agaw Community in Diaspora
Notice: the sender’s name and address has been removed from the original letter for privacy.
CC: To Relevant Humanitarian Organizations and Diplomatic Communities
The identities of some Agaw-Kemant political prisoners currently under detention at Gondar City and Aykel, Chilga Prisons:
|No||Name||Address of Prison|
|1||Setegn Alemu||Gondar City|
|2||Bayuh Meles||Gondar City|
|3||Dessie Bihonegni||Gondar City|
|4||Kefale Sisay||Gondar City|
|5||Birili Bicha||Aykel, Chilga|
|Ms Banchi and her husband have been prisoned since 2016 leaving their six children without a caregiver.|
|7||Dinku Zegeye||Aykel, Chilga|
|8||Asmaraw Ayelgni||Gondar City|
|9||Mihiretie Bazezew||Gondar City|
|10||Melkamu Getahun||Aykel, Chilga|
|11||Amdework Addisu||Aykel, Chilga|
|12||Asmaraw Mesno||Aykel, Chilga|
|13||Enyew Goshu||Aykel, Chilga|
|14||Muluken Tesema||Aykel, Chilga|
|15||Chalachew Alemu||Aykel, Chilga|
|16||Misganaw Eyeyu||Gondar City|
|17||Asrie Meles||Gondar City|
|18||Samuel Gashaw||Gondar City|