July 23, 2014
Professor John Wallace
Azusa Pacific University
Dear Professor Wallace:
RE: Cancellation of July 31 event to honor Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
Global Alliance for the Rights of Ethiopians (GARE) wishes to thank you and your colleagues at Azusa Pacific University for the principled decision you took to cancel the event that had been scheduled for July 31 to honor the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn.
In the past few days Global Alliance for the Rights of Ethiopians wrote to your University appealing to your conscience and explaining why honoring Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn goes against everything your esteemed University stands for. We explained that Ethiopia under Mr.Hailemariam Desalegn is a country where there is no rule of law and dissent is criminalized. It is a country where egregious human rights violations occur on a daily basis. Thousands of Ethiopians are arbitrarily arrested, tortured and killed for simply being critical of the government. Journalists, bloggers, rights activists are hunted down and imprisoned. Ethiopia is a country where majority of its citizens suffer under extreme poverty, while corrupt government officials stash millions of dollars in foreign banks.
Taking all of our concerns into consideration, Azusa Pacific University, a renowned Christian University that is guided by the motto, “God First” made the correct decision to cancel the honor your University was planning to bestow on Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn and thus, has proven that APU is truly guided by its Christian values. We commend you for your courage and principled leadership.
Global Alliance for the Rights of Ethiopians, whose mission is to ensure that the rights of Ethiopians worldwide are recognized and respected, in accordance with United Nations Human Rights Laws, Agreements and Protocols is truly appreciative of your commitment to protect and respect the rights of all human beings regardless of their national origin.
We again thank you for taking a principled stand against human rights abuses. We hope that other institutions and policy makers will follow your example.
Tamagne Beyene, Chairman, Global Alliance for the Rights of Ethiopians