ILLEGAL DETENTION / DISAPPEARANCE IN ETHIOPIA
Amanti Abdisa Jigi
(Missing since August 20, 2000)
The Vancouver Association for the Survivors of Torture (VAST) wishes to draw attention to the forced disappearance of the Ethiopian human rights and environmental activist Amanti Abdisa Jigi. Amanti was born in 1970 in Manasibu, Wallaga, Oromia. After completing his primary and secondary education in Wallaga, he joined the University of Addis Ababa and did his undergraduate degree in Geography. He then worked for the Ethiopian government in the Ministry of Urban Planning in Addis Ababa. After leaving the bureaucratic service, he became active in the plight of his people and joined the Oromo Relief Association. While working with this NGO, Amanti was in charge of their Emergency Relief Division.
Soon after, Amanti was offered a scholarship to attend the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. After completing an MSc in Environmental Sciences he returned to Ethiopia and found himself jobless. While he had been engaged in study overseas, the ORA (Oromo Relief Association) had been banned by the Ethiopian government. Despite his disappointment, he continued his work in environmental protection as a consultant for various organizations including the Ethiopian Environmental Non-Governmental Organization (EENGO).
On the twentieth of August in the year two thousand, Amanti was scheduled to attend an environmental conference in Nairobi, Kenya.He was listed as a passenger on the Kenyan Airways manifest list, and was escorted to the airport by his friends and family. Amanti boarded the plane, only to discover it was being delayed for fifteen minutes due to what was described as “security issues”. In the presence of scores of witnesses of various nationalities, Ethiopian Airport Security removed Amanti from the plane. After a series of inquiries were initiated by both his family and friends, it was determined that Amanti had indeed been abducted by government forces. He has not been seen since.
Amanti Abdisa Jigi is Oromo, a nationality that is among perhaps the most oppressed people in the world. For years, the Ethiopian government has abused the human rights and territorial claims of the Oromo, only to jail those who dare protest these actions. Ordinarily, the reason given for these arbitrary detentions is relationship to the OLF (Oromo Liberation Front), an organization that the government considers terrorist.
According to a report from Evangelischer Pressedienst published in 1997:
The Oromo make up 45% of the Ethiopian population and were forcibly brought under the rule of the Ethiopian state only 100 years ago. Their settlements are amongst the most fertile in the country. Those who control the Oromo region can finance their rule over Ethiopia as a whole, at least for a few years.The TPLF, the undisputed dominant military force after the victory over Mengistu, would not have dreamed of handing over the Oromo region to the OLF, an organization which they had criticized since the mid-eighties as “bourgeois”, Weak and politically utterly misguided.
As an organization that regularly deals with political prisoners from many different nations, we regard Amanti’s case to be of the utmost concern.It is our firm conviction that, at current, any Oromo arrested in Ethiopia regardless of the charge is in danger of both torture and inhumane treatment. We therefore call on the international human rights community to write to the Ethiopian government or their representatives in other nations in order to demand the immediate release of Amanti Abdisa Jigi.
For more information on conditions of detention in Ethiopia please see the Amnesty International website at www.amnesty.org. For clarification of any of the above points or to aid further in Amanti’s case, please contact VAST at email@example.com
President of Ethiopia
His Excellency Girma Wolde Giorgis
P.O. Box 1031 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Phone: 2511-55-02-24 or 2511-12-24-73 Fax: 2511-55-20-41
Prime Minister of Ethiopia
His Excellency Meles Zenawi
P.O. Box 1031 Addis Ababa
Phone: 2511-55-20-44 or 2511-11-32-41
Minister of Justice of Ethiopia
Ato Herka Haroye
P.O. Box 1370 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Phone: 2511-51-73-9 Fax: 2511-51-77-75
America: Embassy of Ethiopia
His Excellency Kassahun Ayele
3506 International Dr. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Canada: Embassy of Ethiopia
His Excellency Dr. Berhanu Dibaba
Suite 210 151 Slater Street
575 Island Park Cres.
Phone: (00163) 235-6637
Fax: (00613) 235-4638
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