Tampere University was about to confer Ethiopia’s controversial prime minister an honorary doctorate by the university in May. The press release on the appointment has been removed from the network, and the president of the university says there will be no appointment – as the prime minister cannot come.
YLE News was contacted by an Ethiopian journalist in exile in Finland was very upset at Tampere University of Technology decided to give the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn an honorary. Desalegn are former students of the University, and an honorary doctorate is the highest recognition a university can give to a person.
Ethiopia declared a state of emergency in October last year after several months of anti-government protests. The two largest ethnic groups in the country, Oromo and Amhara, feel they are oppressed by the regime, which mainly belong to minority ethnic Tigre.
Prime Minister Desalegn’s governing coalition EPRDF has 500 of Parliament’s 547 seats, the rest is held by his allies.
Hundreds were killed and tens of thousands were imprisoned during the protests, according to several human rights organizations.
“An insult to all Africans”
Muluken Tesfaw fled to Finland from Ethiopia in May last year. He ran an opposition newspaper in the capital Addis Ababa and was afraid for his life in what Ethiopia has been under Prime Minister Desalegn.
“As Ethiopians who actively follow the events in Ethiopia, it feels like an insult that they plan to honor the leader of a brutal undemocratic regime. Not just an insult against me, but against all Africans, and especially all Ethiopians, “writes journalist Muluken Tesfaw.
“To honor the Ethiopian Prime Minister means supporting the killing of more than a thousand Ethiopians in the regions of Amhara and Oromia by the regime’s security forces brutality. It means that you accept the imprisonment and torturing of more than 30 000 Amharas and Oromos. It means that you support the state’s control by the military during the state of emergency it declared. That you do not care about the millions of Ethiopians leave the country for fear of torture and imprisonment, “he continues.
Also including Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam from California State University have expressed their dismay over the plans to honor Desalegn with an honorary doctorate.
The university cannot honor Prime Minister Desalegn.
The only press release about the appointment on the university’s site dated September 20, 2016, but had been removed.
Translated by: Google