A Call for an immediate probe into the killings of peaceful protesters in Ethiopia by United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

   August 22, 2016

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland


Dear High Commissioner:

We, members of the Ethiopian Advocacy Network (EAN), would like to commend you for calling for an immediate probe into the killings of peaceful protesters in Ethiopia.


In our letter addressed to you on June 20, 2016 we had asked for UNHRC to open an investigation into the massive human rights violations against peaceful protesters committed by the current Ethiopian regime.  Specifically, we requested for the appointment of a Special Rapporteur to investigate the ongoing egregious human rights violations in Ethiopia, similar to the inquiry conducted by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or Summary Executions in Kenya following the post-election violence in December 2007 and January 2008.

Unfortunately, we have neither received a reply nor even an acknowledgement of our letter. However, we would like to assure you that we strongly support your call.   We understand, but not surprised, that the Ethiopian regime has promptly turned down the request. This is not the first time and will not be the last time that the regime steadfastly refuses to grant permission to impartial international agencies to look into its egregious human rights abuses.

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The Special Rapporteur on The Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Maina Kiai has sent request letters to Ethiopia in 2011 and 2013.

As a newly elected member of the UN Security Council, long time member of the Human Rights Council and a founding member of the United Nations, Ethiopia cannot be allowed to remain hostile to any and all legitimate probes into its abysmal human rights record and continue to flaunt internationally recognized rights.

We urge the UN and all international governments allied to the regime to aggressively press Ethiopia to allow international observers to investigate the killings. Ethiopia

While the abuses and flagrant human rights violations committed by the Ethiopian government have been well documented by independent, established, and respected human rights organizations, there has been no action to hold the perpetrators accountable.  Shockingly, the perpetrators of these acts—some of which are tantamount to crimes against humanity and genocide—remain unpunished.

The criminals continue to act with impunity. It is our opinion that the intervention of a highly regarded and influential office such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is critical towards ensuring that justice and respect for international human rights law prevails in Ethiopia.

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The pattern of serious international crimes committed with total impunity cannot be rationalized as the conduct of a few undisciplined soldiers. Ethiopian security forces are routinely responsible for arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, extrajudicial executions, rape, and other serious crimes. The volatile political atmosphere in Ethiopia threatens the peace of this increasingly small world we live in, violating international laws, fundamental human rights, and basic human values.

The Ethiopian government must not be allowed to continue to commit such dire crimes

and to skirt accountability for committing atrocities against the population.  The people of Ethiopia have suffered enough. It is absolutely imperative for the global community to respond with a formal investigation similar to the Commission of Inquiry for Eritrea (COIE) on behalf of these victims and their families.

We express our solidarity with the people of Ethiopia, and express our deep commitment to the struggle for freedom and justice in Ethiopia. We appreciate your attention to our request and look forward to hearing from you very soon.

We thank you for your immediate attention to this urgent matter.

Cc: Members of the Human Rights Committee:

Mr. Yadh BEN ACHOUR  Tunisia

Read Aloud:   ESAT Radio January 31, 2014

Mr. Lazhari BOUZID  Algeria

Ms. Sarah CLEVELAND  United States

Mr. Olivier de FROUVILLE France

Mr. Ahmad Amin FATHALLA Egypt

Mr. Yuji IWASAWA (Vice-Chairperson) Japan

Ms. Ivana JELIC  Montenegro

Mr. Duncan Laki MUHUMUZA Uganda

Ms Photini PAZARTZIS  Greece

Mr. Mauro POLIT  Italy

Sir Nigel RODLEY  United Kingdom

Mr. Victor Manuel RODRÍGUEZ RESCIA  Costa Rica

Mr. Fabián Omar SALVIOLI  (Chairperson) Argentina

Mr. Dheerujlall .B. SEETULSINGH  (Vice Chairperson) Mauritius

Ms. Anja SEIBERT-FOHR (Vice-Chairperson) Germany

Mr. Yuval SHANY Israel

Mr. Konstantine VARDZELASHVILI (Rapporteur) Georgia

Ms. Margo WATERVAL Suriname

Mr. Tom Malinowski Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Amnesty International

Article 19

Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE)

Civil Rights Defenders

Defend Defenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Right Defenders Project)

Ethiopia Human Rights Project (EHRP)

Front Line Defenders

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

Ethiopian Advocacy Network is a grassroots organization that was formed in January 2015 by Ethiopian-Americans, Ethiopian activists and community organizers to promote democracy, human rights, and justice in Ethiopia through advocacy, civic education and grass roots mobilization. EAN has a global presence with members in the USA, Africa, Canada and Europe.

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