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Open letter to His Excellency FDRE Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu

Tigrai Online, March 13, 2018

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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

Dear Minister,

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.

Sincerely,

Tadilo Demissie, Agaw Community in Diaspora, Dallas, TX, the US

(469) 531-9388

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:

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

6

*Banchi Tamru

Aykel, Chilga

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

*Ms Banchi and her husband have been prisoned since 2016 leaving their six children without a caregiver.

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