Open Letter to: His Excellency Haile Maryam Desalegn

Aug 6, 2012 (Agaw Kemant)

August 5, 2012

His Excellency Haile Maryam Desalegn

Deputy Prime Minister & Foreign Minister, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Reference: Kind Request Detention and Harassment on the Agaw People to End

The constitution of Ethiopia guaranties equal rights to all Ethiopian nations and nationalities, as indicated in Article-25. The constitution also recognizes a multi-party political process in Article-38 (2). A detailed legal framework for political party formation is laid down in Revised Party Registration law, Proclamation NO. 573/2008.

There are around 62-registered political parties in the country currently. Of course, some of them are ethnic based regional parties and others are multi-ethnic parties. Lately, the Agaw people are presumably in move to undertake political party formation, like other Ethiopian nations and nationalities. Unfortunately, their attempt to exercise the rights guaranteed in the constitution is exposing them to detention and harassment. The oppression is not new for the Agaw people in Ethiopia, but in recent months the situation has gone bad to worse. In June, nine farmers were detained for three weeks allegedly planning to stage demonstration at the town of Tikle Digay, Lay Armachiho. Since Aug. 3, 2012, Mr. Melese Desta has been in detention in Metema, North Gondar. To the best of my knowledge, he has been accused of in attempt to organize the party, called Agaw Democratic Party. In addition to detention, the police confiscated the literature he had at the time of arrest. It was a copy of the Ethiopian National Election Board form used for signature collection. The police and ruling regional party, ANDM, working hand in hand declared the document illegal. Moreover, they order any documents related to the party formation to be submitted to the police, and harassed and threatened those people believed took part in the process. Surprisingly, there was unconfirmed report a party official for saying, “if you want to organize the party, you have to move to Tigray or Oromia Region.”

Let me kindly ask a simple question, if the Agaws organize themselves in a political party, like other Ethiopian nations and nationalities, what makes it illegal? Are not Agaws the Ethiopian citizens? To make it clear, what is happening in North Gondar, Metema and the other areas is blunt violation of the Agaw people’s rights laid down in the country’s constitution, Article-10 (2). I’m not politician; I’m an ordinary citizen whom felt disappointment in the actions stated above. I kindly, appeal to Your Excellency to take urgent measures for release of the detainee and for respect of the Agaw people’s constitutional rights. I look forward to seeing your prompt intervention.

With Regards

Adigiu W. Tika

CC : To

The House Speaker, House of Representatives

The House Speaker, Federation Council

S.P. This letter is transition from Amharic

Agaw Kemant