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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Human Rights Watch: Letter to Ethiopian Ministers on Human Rights Violations Against Students

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news: [EZ: Ambassador Yamamoto genuinely interested in finding a solution to Ethiopia’s political crises]

[100,000 LETTERS IN TEN DAYS campaign gaining momentum] - [ION: More Ethiopian diplomats defect] - [Somalia's hopes for peace fade] - [680 dead in Ethiopia in suspected cholera outbreak]

International: [Gambian President Says Green Paste, A Bitter Drink, And Banana Can Cure AIDS] - [Protest ban in Zimbabwe capital] - [Obama, '08 candidates head to California] - [Britain, Denmark announce withdrawal of its troops from Iraq] and more of today's top stories!



Feb. 19 (Last Monday) was Martyrs' Day in Ethiopia. After the attempt on the life of Italian Viceroy Rodolfo Graziani (19 February 1937), there followed the Addis Ababa massacre in which thousands were killed. The massacre motivated many to join the resistance movement. How did it start? The story of Abraha Deboch, Moges Asgedom and Simeon Adefres.(More...)

100,000 LETTERS IN TEN DAYS Campaign Gaining Momentum

In a press release to major Ethiopian news media groups, Kinijit International has officially endorsed the 100,000 LETTERS campaign.

KIL stated this effort should remain non-partisan and promised the participation of Kinijit support groups all around the world in making the campaign a success. KIL has provided different sample letters Ethiopians can employ in this endeavor.

Yesterday Prof. Alemayehu G. Mariam in association with the coalition for HR5680 called on Ethiopian Americans and Ethiopians throughout the world to begin a campaign to deliver 100,000 letters in the next 10 days to the White House.

The campaign aims to promote human rights in Ethiopia. Those who would like to participate can send their own letters, sample letter from Kinijit’s website or endorse Prof. Alemayehu’s letter with their signature and send. Visit: 100,000 LETTERS IN TEN DAYS Campaign site

Human Rights Watch: Letter to Ethiopian Ministers on Human Rights Violations Against Students

Human Rights Watch wishes to draw your attention to several incidents of human rights violations allegedly committed by federal police officers against students in the towns of Dembi Dollo and Ghimbi in western Oromiya State in the past weeks.

In sum, we have learned that one student, and perhaps two, died as a direct result of police beatings and that other students were severely injured and hospitalized in Dembi Dollo. Between 30 and 50 have been detained and remain detained without charge in the central Dembi Dollo jail and in two district police stations. In Ghimbi, local police and militia members deputized by local officials are reported to have shot and killed two high school students—cousins—in January.

We urge you to investigate these incidents promptly and to prosecute police officers and others responsible for these serious crimes. At the same time, we strongly urge you immediately to release students detained without charge in Dembi Dollo. If there is substantial evidence that any student has committed a serious crime, they should be promptly charged, brought to court, and released pending trial.(More...)

EZ: Ambassador Yamamoto genuinely interested in finding a solution to Ethiopia’s political crises

On the topic of the current meeting between CUD family members and Ambassador Yamamoto, Ethio-Zagol writes

“...According to the sources, neither Ambassador Yamomoto nor the two Ethiopian mediators acted on bad-faith. "There was an urge and want to help. Yamomoto did not comment a lot. He listened. Haile and ambassador Bekele also talked about saving the country and reconciliation," one source said.

Ambassador Yamomoto has thrown himself on solving the current political crisis right from the first date of his arrival. American embassy staff said his attitude and approach has been quite contrasting with the former charge d'affaires, Vicki Huddelstone who was acting as Meles's messenger”
{read EZ’s report}

ION: More Ethiopian diplomats defect
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1208 17/02/2007

More Ethiopian diplomats have defected, bringing the total that has decided to leave the diplomatic service to seventy three.

The latest to ditch the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and ask for political asylum in the United States is Ambassador Tayework Tilahun, who was his country’s consular attaché in Kuwait.

Recently a staff member of the Ethiopian embassy in Ottawa (Canada), Dereje Ejigu, decided to do likewise. Several employees of embassies in London, Geneva, Stockholm and Paris, have defected the last few years.

Somalia's hopes for peace fade

Mogadishu - Clutching a handful of possessions, Yonis Nor fled the Somali capital with his eight children and hundreds of other families, seeking safety from the daily onslaught of mortar and rocket attacks that have left dozens dead.

Somali government forces and Ethiopian troops exchanged heavy fire overnight with insurgents, leaving 15 dead and another 45 injured in the heaviest fighting so far this year in Mogadishu.

Among those killed in the clashes on Tuesday were a four-year-old boy and a pregnant woman. A 12-year-old girl lost both her legs in a blast, doctors said. (More...)

680 dead in Ethiopia in suspected cholera outbreak, say aid groups

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) - More than 680 people in Ethiopia have died in a suspected cholera outbreak that has also affected neighbouring countries, officials said Wednesday.

Some 60,000 people have been infected, but the country's Health Ministry is resisting pressure to declare an emergency despite a UN warning that the disease is an epidemic.

"The fact that it is spreading to new areas in the country is cause for serious concern," said Paul Hebert, head of the UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ethiopia. "The full extent of this needs to be addressed."

The UN has not officially declared the outbreak, which began nearly a year ago, to be cholera. But UN officials speaking privately because of the sensitivity of the issue are saying it is cholera, something local officials continue to deny. (More...)

Somali insurgents warn against peacekeeping deployment
Associated Press

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somali insurgents warned Wednesday against the impending deployment of African peacekeepers in the war-ravaged country, as families began burying their dead after some of the heaviest violence to hit the capital city.

Just hours after the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to authorize an African Union force to help stabilize Somalia, one insurgent leader said they will fight any foreign troops who are sent into the country.

”The U.N. should keep its hand off our country because the Islamic forces are ready to fight any foreign troops whether they are blue helmet or black helmet,” said one insurgent leader identified only as Osman.(More...)

Gambia's AIDS 'Cure' Claim Causes Alarm
Gambian President Says Green Paste, A Bitter Drink, And Banana Can Cure AIDS

From the pockets of his billowing white robe, Gambia's president pulls out a plastic container, closes his eyes in prayer and rubs a green herbal paste onto the ribcage of the patient — a concoction he claims is a cure for AIDS.

He then orders the thin man to swallow a bitter yellow drink, followed by two bananas.

"Whatever you do, there are bound to be skeptics, but I can tell you my method is foolproof," President Yahya Jammeh told an Associated Press reporter, surrounded by bodyguards in his presidential compound. "Mine is not an argument, mine is a proof. It's a declaration. I can cure AIDS and I will." (More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Protest ban in Zimbabwe capital
-Obama, '08 candidates head to California
-Britain announces withdrawal of its troops from Iraq
-Denmark to withdraw from Iraq
-Italian Patients Given Organs With HIV
-Fighting surgeons leave patient in the lurch